Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Service gone to pot?
I am tired of hotels promising to go the extra mile only to have them refuse to go round the corner!

Hilton Hotels is the latest to fall foul of the “We will do anything for you” and then simply don't bother.

At 5.40 a.m I checked out of the Hilton Florence Metropole this morning. I was told there was no coffee available. But a quick walk to the breakfast room showed a continental breakfast was being served to airline staff who were crewing early departures. So I nipped in and got a cup of coffee.

“Oh you discovered the coffee," the night porter smugly commented. As if I had been Harry Potter delving into the Department of Mysteries.

I inquired why he could not have either pointed me in the direction or asked the concierge to get me a cup? A shrug of the shoulder and a “not allowed” followed.

So let’s boil this down to basics:

Firstly, Hilton, once coffee is made in the hotel, why don’t you provide some in the lobby for early departing guests?

Secondly, why don’t you tell your staff to use their initiative? There wasn’t a tour group of 100 checking out, only me!

This all comes down to common sense. Here we have an employee who is authorized to remove 360 Euros from my credit card but not authorized to get me a cup of coffee?

Remember Hilton, I have Marriott, Intercontinental, Hyatt and Wyndham cards in my wallet...

I am not angry. I am just disappointed that, once again, a hotel has tried to convince me it will move heaven and earth to ensure I am comfortable when, in reality, it won’t even pass me the coffee pot!

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A response from Hilton:

Having now spoken to the hotel, as promised an explanation regarding your experience at the Hilton Florence Metropole.

Breakfast at this hotel is served between 7 a.m and 10 a.m (11 a.m weekends); however should guests require an earlier breakfast, then we would normally request notice the evening before to allow us to prepare something for them.

Whilst we do provide an early breakfast service to airline crew, this is done through a special arrangement in which we provide a continental style breakfast for an agreed number of people. On that basis it is difficult to accommodate further ad hoc requests at that time in the morning as we simply haven't catered for additional people prior to the guest breakfast service commencing at 7 a.m.

Staff on duty were correct in saying that the normal breakfast service was not available (preparations for normal breakfast were just beginning), but it is clear that they could have and should have been more flexible by offering to organize refreshments and pastries for you. We will be briefing staff to be more flexible in their approach to ensure that ad hoc requests such as yours will be accommodated going forward.

Trust this helps clarify things.

Nicola McShane, Hilton Hotel
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