Il Diario di Tinton

{2010-01-27}   Four Star Hotel in USA

$4 water bottleI’m staying at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta, GA. Its considered a 4 star hotel. Now, they way i interpret it, is that the hotel staff would want to make the customer feel very special at these luxury hotels. That’s my interpretation. However, i feel offended, mistreated and taken advantage of when staying at a four star hotel, such as this one (most of the big chains are similar).

Let me start with some facts:

  • Cheapest room $140. Most expensive $500. We are probably spending around $200/night.
  • Internet $10 + TAX/day extra
  • Breakfast NOT included: $20 for buffet, $17 Continental
  • Locked windows
  • Courtesy water bottle in room: $4 + TAX.

As far as internet goes, the ethernet connection doesn’t work: the link keeps dropping every 5 seconds or so. Cannot even get an IP address. The wireless, from AT&T, is a terrible connection:

916 packets transmitted, 811 packets received, 11.5% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 814.508/1323.875/1735.301/122.278 ms

That’s worse than the satellite connection i have back home. I believe this would be acceptable for  free internet, however  1.3 seconds lag, for $10 a day seem pretty excessive to me.

The water bottle in the room, on the little table by the couch, is charged $4+tax. I am a little confused when i see this, because as a guest, the company is paying around $200/night, which apparently is not enough to cover $0.20 for the cost of a water bottle. To me it feels like there might have been a mistake, so i call the front desk, where they confirm these are the policies of the hotel. However, eager to establish a more human connection with her, i ask for her opinion. She keeps stating facts, however after insisting that i am really more interested in a personal opinion from her as a human being, she is kind enough to say “It does seem like a lot for a bottle of water, yes sir.”

Then, i remember how other similar hotels leave the newspaper in front of the door in morning and they charge for it. So i call the front desk again, and a man answers the phone this time: from his tone, i understand he is sorry to have to disappoint me by telling me that this hotel doesn’t bring the newspaper by the door. I am delighted to hear this and thank him.

Generally speaking, i interpret these little things as rude. As a guest, the message i get is: “You are just one of the many  who come and stay at this hotel, and we would like to get as much money as we possibly could from you.”. Whereas i always thought that in luxury hotels one would get premium service s.t. the customer would feel special. Kind of like in the James Bond movies…

Thinking about it, if i were to compare the Grand Hyatt with a $50 Motel, i cannot avoid noticing how i actually get better service at the cheaper Motel than what i get here: i get treated better, free internet, breakfast, humans at the front desk and windows which can open. Surely the beds aren’t as fluffy, and the furniture isn’t as new. However, if i’m staying in a room for a few nights, i give more importance to services than aesthetics. I do recognize the importance of aesthetics; however, it is easier for me to put up without it for a few nights, than to put up with having to pay extra for the services i enjoy using (such as breakfast, fresh air and internet).


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