Sub-par service from the Marriott

By | July 23, 2006

I recently stayed at the Marriott hotel in downtown Durham, North Carolina while traveling on business.  There were signs plastered all over the hotel about the hotel’s “Whatever It Takes”  initiative for making their guests comfortable.  Shortly after my arrival, I went down to the front desk to ask if they had any Advil or such, since I had a bad headache.

The answer I was hoping for was, “Certainly, sir, here you go.”

The answer which would have shown they were serious about “Whatever It Takes” would have been, “I’m afraid we’re all out right now, but if you can wait a little while, I’ll send someone out to get some for you and send it up to your room.”

Unfortunately, the answer I actually got was, “I’m afraid we’re all out right now.  If you’d like, you can wait until our shuttle gets back, and then the shuttle driver can take you over to a gas station where you can buy some.”

Why couldn’t the hotel handle the simple task of keeping in stock the sundries they keep on hand to satisfy common guest requests?

Barring that, why couldn’t they send the shuttle driver out to get the Advil for me, rather than making me waste my time going with him when what I really wanted to do was lie down because of my headache?

I’ve sent a complaint about this to Marriott corporate through their Web site, but I don’t honestly expect any sort of meaningful answer from them about it.

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One thought on “Sub-par service from the Marriott

  1. jik Post author

    A day or two ago, I got this letter from the Durham Marriott:

    August 2, 2006

    Dear Mr. Kamens

    I have reviewed your recent email to Marriott Guest Relations regarding your stay here in the Raleigh-Durham Area. I am sorry for your bad experience. You are correct when you say that you were given the wrong answer. We should have sent someone out for you. Again I am sorry that this happened. And know that we are on top of this. It will not happen again. I would like to offer you free breakfast if you are ever in the area again, please contact me.

    Mr. Kamens, we at the Durham Marriott at the Civic Center appreciate your feedback very much. We strive to offer the best service and product possible. We thank you for your patronage and hope that you will keep us in mind the next time you travel to the Durham area.

    It’s nice that they responded and acknowledged that they screwed up. I could get alll snarky and pick apart all the punctuation and grammar errors in the letter, as well as pointing out how silly it seems to offer someone a “free breakfast” as if that’s such a grand prize, but it’s pretty late at night and I’ve much to do, so I’ll try to resist.
    Nope, I can’t completely resist.  There’s one comment I want to make.  When my family visited Israel recently, we stayed for a couple of nights in Tel Aviv at the Dan Panorama, a much nicer hotel than the Durham Marriott, located right on the beach. Included in our room rate weas an astoundingly varied, all-you-can-eat breakfast. The room rate was lower than the rate I paid at the Durham Marriott, which did not include breakfast.

    There was a time when even the best hotels in Israel simply couldn’t compare to a run-of-the-mill business hotel in the United States. The Israelis simply hadn’t figured out how to do the whole decent-customer-service thing. It would appear that that time is soundly over.


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