Back in April, we went on our spring break trip to Milan & Malta.
We booked the Le Meridien St Julians using points. A room goes for a reasonable 7,000 SPG points per night and we spent 6 nights at the property. Thanks to the stay 5, pay 4 offer our stay came to a total of 35,000 SPG points!
During our trip we loved the views from our balcony and enjoyed having access to the lounge. However, the stay was not without issue.
Two glaring problems stood out to me and I let Starwood know about them. One of them could’ve easily been solved while the other was an issue for the entire property not just us.
- I asked numerous times to have the mini-fridge and snack tray emptied. Both items keep track of when things are removed electronically and I didn’t want Lucas to cause any headaches by playing with them. I asked when we arrived and called down on a couple of occasions but throughout our stay the mini-fridge and snack tray remained full. This could’ve been easily resolved but the hotel told me they would take care of it but never did.
- The hotel is currently having their elevators upgraded. Only 2/4 elevators were operating during the stay causing ridiculously long waits. On a couple of occasions we waited over 20 minutes! Talk about ridiculous. Since we were on the 11th floor and traveling with a toddler with a stroller, the stairs were not an option for us.
I sent out a tweet related to my issues to @SPG and then had a brief conversation through Twitter’s direct message.
@SPG told me that they documented my concerns with the hotel and to please allow the hotel some time to review the file and circumstances surrounding the situation before responding.
I was impressed to see an e-mail from the Le Meridien St Julians the following day. Besides the expected pleasantries I was a bit surprised by the response. I was told a little about the elevator upgrades which I already knew all about and was then told:
“I fully anticipate your negative feedback.”
What! So basically having guests wait 20 minutes for an elevator is OK…
The e-mail also said: I wish to get your valuable comments also on other aspects of our services and facilities. Your feedback would be highly appreciated so we can better our product and ensure that you will be fully satisfied with your visit next time around.
This whole e-mail left a bad impression and I had to respond. Here are some nuggets of wisdom I sent in:
I understand that the lifts are being upgraded, repaired or whatever you want to call it but this to me is not an acceptable response. “Fully anticipating negative feedback” sounds to me more like a slap in the face than an apology.
When you have guests waiting for 20 minutes for an elevator that is beyond absurd. Considering the hotel has a service elevator, that should’ve been offered at times of extremely long waits.
Four days later I received an e-mail from the hotel’s General Manager. The response was one which better understood the issues.
Here is some of what she had to say:
Being new to the hotel and experiencing myself the challenges with the elevators, I very much can relate to your observations.
She also explained some of the issues with the elevator repairs as well as apologized for our issue with of not having the mini-bar and snack tray dealt with after repeated requests.
And here was the best and most surprising part of the e-mail:
- In an effort to redeem ourselves, I have taken the liberty tor transfer 7,000 Starpoints to your Starwood Preferred Guest account.
Wow, talk about a difference in customer service. It went from anticipating our negative feedback to understanding what we had to deal with along with some valuable SPG points back into my account!
I am really impressed with how the Le Meridien St Julians (although frustrating at first) dealt with our issue and went above and beyond to make right by us.
What do you think, is 7,000 SPG points (one free night at the hotel) worth the headaches we had to deal with? Looking back on the trip, I’ll take it!