I had been emailed a few days prior to our arrival by a vacation coordinator. He works with Gold and Platinum members. I had a name. I emailed him.
Thank you for writing back to me.
I can honestly say that I have never been as disappointed in a hotel as I was with your property on Saturday the 31st. I’m upset to make such a strong statement, but I can’t come up with a less dramatic statement.
We arrived at the hotel from St John and changed to use the pools. A short time later, I got 2 calls; our rooms were ready. My only room-related request was that our 2 rooms be close to each other. I had confirmed this over the phone in advance of the trip and expected that it would be met.
We were given rooms on 2 different floors. When I mentioned my request I was told “They’re only one floor apart”. I stood firm and asked that the rooms be changed. Sometime later, we were given 2 rooms on the 6th floor; 1651 for my family and 1645 for our friends.
Attached are pictures I took of the rooms. The condition of the shower stall in our room (1651) was, in a word, appalling. If I hadn’t had such a hard time getting rooms to my request, I would have gone straight to the desk to change. However, I made the decision to stay; it seemed like it would have been harder to move the rooms.
At dinner time, I took some photos to the front desk and spoke to the manager on duty. I believe his name was Hector. He apologized for the condition of the room and offered to move us. I declined and told him how very disappointed we were. I also pointed out that the rest of the room was very dirty. Our feet turned black as soon as we walked on the floors. Additionally, room 1645 had no bath mat, wash cloths or hand towels.
As we spent the afternoon at the pool and walked the grounds, we noticed that the hotel seemed to be in shabby condition. There was visible dirt and disrepair by the pools, the pools were dirty, the walls had peeling paint, etc. I know that you can see any of these issues by walking the property; I need not bring them all to your attention.
I’ve stayed in a lot of Marriott hotels and what I love about them is their consistency. When I did a lot of travel for work, I knew that as long as I stayed at a Marriott property, I could expect a clean hotel, clean room and no surprises. Had I been spending my own money and not using points for this stay, I would have been appalled. As a group, we looked at the hotel guests who had spent a good deal of money to travel to St Thomas and stay at the Frenchman’s Reef and felt bad for them. The condition of the hotel did not seem to warrant spending a few hundred dollars per night.
The following morning, at check out, I went back to the desk to speak to the Day Manager. I spoke to a young woman at the reception desk. When shown the pictures, she recoiled in horror. She asked me if we had been offered compensation for our stay. We had not been offered anything the night before. This woman was nice enough to wipe our room charges; a small bar tab and a breakfast tab. I appreciated that she did that.
With that, my confidence in the Marriott Brand has been diminished. My wife and I have discussed using some more points to celebrate her upcoming 40th birthday in Aruba. I can honestly say that I don’t know if I can trust a Marriott Resort property. We were not happy with the overall appearance of the Frenchman’s Reef.
I would like your assurance that Room 1651 will not be used until it has been repaired and cleaned. It is not fit to be used by any guest.
I would also like to know if the hotel has any response to my comments. I have been a loyal Marriott customer since I started traveling for business 5 years ago. I’d like to remain so, but now have doubts.
Thank you for taking time to listen to me and to hopefully look into the issues I have raised.
Not bad, eh?
4 days later, I got this:
Dear Mr. NoGoodDaddy,
First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback.
I am sorry we did not respond to your concerns before today.
After reading your letter and viewing the photos that you attached it is very clear to me why we did not create the resort experience that you had anticipated for your vacation. I wish to apologize to you and your family for the inconveniences you experienced. Marriott has very high standards for cleanliness, service and facilities and we, as a Marriott resort, are expected to deliver accordingly.
I understand that waiting for your room was frustrating and I am very sorry that you were not warmly welcomed and offered options to start enjoying your vacation. I am truly concerned about the seemingly arduous task to get you 2 rooms that were close together. I want to apologize for this confusion and reassure you that this is not our standard. We truly value our guests’ experiences and make the best effort to accommodate any request within reason.
I regret that you observed that the maintenance and upkeep of our hotel and your room were not up to par. Our property is indeed an older resort building, and I truly regret that you were disappointed on the accommodations offered to you. However, since October 2005 we have been working on an update of public areas and the majority of our guest rooms, changing the rooms’ furniture and refreshing the appearance of our bathrooms. This renovation process has almost been completed in Frenchman’s Reef and our plan is to continue it in our rooms at Morning Star and finish it by the end of this year. We are very excited that our whole resort will have a renewed appearance.
I was also alarmed to learn that during your visit you perceived a lack of cleanliness in both pool areas. As a Marriott property, we have very high standards for cleanliness and the lack of it in any areas is not acceptable.
Rest assured that I will relay the issues of maintenance and cleanliness with the Management team and actions will be taken to avoid similar situations from occurring. We are focused on improving on a daily basis and we will consider your suggestions and recommendations.
Mr. Stanley, I know I cannot change what happened during your stay but I do wish to somehow make up for what did not go well. I am not sure if you are planning another visit to St. Thomas in the near future, but I would appreciate the opportunity to welcome you back to our property. I would like to extend to you an invitation to spend 2 nights at our resort with our compliments. Rest assured that if you decide to visit us again, we will follow up to provide you with a wonderful stay.
If coming to St. Thomas is not on your plans Mr. Stanley, I want you to know that you are a very important customer to us and we would like you to continue choosing Marriott when traveling. I truly regret that you were displeased with your resort experience. As a good will gesture, I will reinstate to your Marriott Rewards account 35,000 points. I will await your confirmation on what would be the best option.
Again, I apologize for the inconveniences and I hope that in the future we will be able to serve you again and leave a different impression on you. Should you ever visit St. Thomas again, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Today (August 9) I got email from someone else at the hotel offering me 50,000 points. Since I’m not a total asshole, I wrote back to them both, stating that it was unnecessary to give me 85,000 points. But, if they wanted, I’d happily take them all.
The bottom line: the hotel disappointed. In the end, Marriott stepped up big time and made right by me. When I left the hotel, I wanted my points back. The fact that I got the tab wiped too was a bonus. Some well-worded emails got me what I wanted all along.