Home Travel She Gave A Luxury Hotel A Bad Review; Was It Justified?

She Gave A Luxury Hotel A Bad Review; Was It Justified?

by SharonKurheg

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of Reddit’s community called “AITA.” The initials represent the term, “Am I The A-Hole.” The community is defined as, “A catharsis for the frustrated moral philosopher in all of us, and a place to finally find out if you were wrong in an argument that’s been bothering you. Tell us about any non-violent conflict you have experienced; give us both sides of the story, and find out if you’re right, or you’re the a-hole.” It’s kind of like a “jury of your peers” sort of thing.

We’ve mentioned other situations from AITA in the past:

This entry was actually posted about 2 years ago, and the original poster said the event happened about 4 years before that. But it’s just as relevant today as it was then:

AITA for leaving a bad review for a luxury hotel that didn’t offer to fetch something for me??

This happened about 4 years ago. I was there in my capacity as a mystery shopper: think of me like an undercover hotel critic that produces an internal review for the hotel owners: I wasn’t leaving a nasty yelp review.

I was reviewing an upscale “boutique” hotel in the Hamptons, where the rooms were costing me $500 a night (not that I was paying out of pocket, but that shows you the clientele whose mindset I was trying to put myself into). The hotel was in a converted summer camp with bungalows and a “rustic” theme. One thing that was advertised on their website was that every room came with a grill for barbecuing. So when I came to check in, I brought some meat with me to BBQ since I hadn’t done so in a while.

To my surprise, while the grills were advertised online, there was no charcoal or fuel. When I went to the front desk to ask for some, the woman running the front desk seemed surprised, and then recommended me a store nearby where I could buy some. I mentioned that it was a long walk away, and she offered to let me rent a bike free of charge to go there.

I’ve reviewed plenty of luxury hotels in this job, and for $500 a night I would expect them to stock charcoal so I could grill if it’s advertised on the website. And if they didn’t, they should have sent someone to a store or supplier to go get me some, without my asking. I did notice that there only seemed to be one bellman or porter for the entire hotel, and very little staff overall. To be clear: I am perfectly capable of riding a bike to the store and buying charcoal, but while I was mildly miffed that it wasn’t available or provided to me for free (or as part of a resort fee) I would imagine the target clientele might be more pissed.

In my internal review, I was asked if the staff fulfilled my needs and I said no. I later polled a few other people in my industry, and people seemed split down the middle about whether it was reasonable to expect charcoal be provided, that if it wasn’t provided someone should’ve gone to the store for me, and if whether or not suggesting a store and offering a bicycle for me to buy my own charcoal “fulfilled my needs.”

I argued that if I were paying Ritz prices in the Hamptons I should’ve been given free charcoal or, at the very least, offered something like a free meal in the hotel restaurant because I couldn’t cook my own food.

So, was the poster an a-hole?

All told it was nearly unanimously determined that the person was NTA (“Not The A-hole”). You can read all the replies here (heads up that a few have adult language in them).

There were a few points that were repeated in the comments:

  • If a luxury hotel is advertising an amenity, it should be fully functional on its own, or at the very least charcoal should have been available on site (either as an extra charge or for free). Some favorite comments along those lines:
    — At 500 bucks a night I damn sure better not have to run to the store for fuel for the in room grill.
    — I will say as a member of the target customer demographic and someone who has averaged 100 nights a year in a hotel for a decade, I wouldn’t expect charcoal. If I have to bring the meat and presumably other ingredients I’d consider charcoal one of them. However I would expect the front desk to have small bags of charcoal and lighter fluid in a kit I could buy for double retail. It might just be conditioning but the most expensive the hotel I go to the more I expect to be nickled and dimed. Especially with the word “rustic” and “Hamptons”.
    — It’s like rooms with coffee makers, they supply not only the coffee but cups, filters, sugars, cream. Because nobody brings those things with them. And if you want more coffee than what they leave you, they have some for sale in the gift shop.
    — How are you supposed to carry a bag of charcoal back on a bike?
  • They should have mentioned online that charcoal and fuel would need to be supplied if you wanted to use the grill. An asterisk next to “grill” with an addendum at the bottom would have sufficed.
  • Her job sounds like a lot of fun and how does one become a mystery shopper for hotels? 😉

Our take on it

Joe stayed at many campgrounds when he was a kid, so I’m sure he had more experience with on-site BBQ grills than I have. I’ve only seen them at Disney (Fort Wilderness Campground and the Treehouses), their and other timeshares, and occasionally at some extended stay places. Nothing else was ever included; it was just the grills. But I’m pretty sure you could buy supplies for them at whatever store was at the hotel or timeshare.

What have your experiences been?

Feature Photo: Piqsels

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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