Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

London Kensington Forum - Bad, bad service

London Kensington Forum - Bad, bad service

Old Jun 2nd, 2003, 02:56 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 396
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
London Kensington Forum - Bad, bad service

Thought I would share the complaint letter I just sent to Holiday Inn after staying at their London Kensington Forum hotel.

It was so disappointing because it's a wonderful, modern hotel with good prices but lousy service.

____________________________


How disappointed I was with my stay at the London Kensington Forum. Sadly, all of the disappointments were service related.

I had reserved a twin non-smoking room for a female colleague and myself. Upon check-in, we were told that we had been upgraded. How splendid. Up to the 27th floor we went - pleasantly surprised by the size of the room. But we then realized the room only contained one double bed.

We called downstairs and were told we'd have to return to the lobby to put things straight. (Mind you, only one elevator seemed to be in service as the others were undergoing renovations).

At the reception desk we were told that there were NO twin-bedded non-smoking rooms left. We asked if we could confirm a non-smoking twin for the following two nights and were told we'd have to check back in the morning. Begrudgingly, we opened the door to our new room (smaller than the previous one). After trying to air things out, I resolved to ring the maid for some air freshener. Unfortunately no one answered the phone. After several minutes of waiting and multiple calls, I gave up on the maid and contacted the concierge who was able to take care of the matter. In the end, the air freshener did little to help.

After literally choking on smoke stench all night on the 10th floor I went down early in the morning to inquire about changing rooms. I was told that a new room would be available (on the 14th floor). We were told to pack up and leave our bags for the porter. After returning from a day out, I was given a new door key. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the new room (the smallest room yet) to discover someone else?s luggage had been moved there.

I immediately dialed down to the porter who said he?d be right up to fix the situation. While waiting, I decided to turn on the television (in our first room the remote control held dead batteries). I couldn?t believe my bad luck as the TV remote in the new room also held dead batteries. The porter arrived and straightened out the luggage problem. I informed him about the battery problem and he said he?d send someone up with new batteries. Tick-tock, tick-tock. I waited for a knock at the door ? when what I really wanted was a fresh shower and the time to change into theatre-going clothes. My colleague returned to the room and waited while I was finally able to get ready. No knock ever came.

Settled in our room (finally, the non-smoking twin we?d reserved) with the correct luggage; I was willing to cut the hotel some slack about the battery matter. However, the next morning before heading out I removed the back from the remote to expose the batteries and placed it on a piece of paper on the bed that read, ?Fresh batteries please?. Surely the maid would take care of things.

Sadly, the maid replaced the cover over the dead batteries and simply set the remote on the TV. In the end I ran out to a drug store to purchase the batteries myself.

All in all the London Kensington Forum was quite a letdown from a service perspective. While the décor and location of the hotel were exactly what I was seeking, the service my colleague and I received was abysmal. I question whether I will ever give the Holiday Inn chain another chance.

Please pass this information along to the London Kensington Forum manager so he will know that his staff is undertrained.
SFImporter is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2003, 04:28 AM
  #2  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,680
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi SF,

Sounds like someone owes you an apology and a free night
ira is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2003, 04:54 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,738
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
How annoying! To have so much of your time wasted too. I really hope they do something worthwhile for you!
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2003, 08:55 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 139
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'll be interested to hear if you hear anything back. I think most travelers are willing to give a hotel another chance if they handle the complaint well. Please post back with the results, if any!
Erin is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 06:29 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 396
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Got a reply back from InterContinental/Holiday Inn. Here's their apology:

Thank you for contacting Guest Relations regarding your experience with the
Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum, United Kingdom. We greatly appreciate
you taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and apologize for
any inconvenience it may have caused in your stay with us.

It is InterContinental Hotels Group's goal to consistently provide superior
service and accommodations and your comments are very important to us. The
feedback we receive from our valued guests, like you, enables us to target
problem areas, and take the necessary actions to ensure similar situations
can be avoided in the future. We appreciate the candid feedback we receive
and welcome any opportunity to improve.

I have forwarded your comments to the General Manager and ownership of this
hotel. I know they share our vision of providing the best guest experience
possible, and am confident they will take the necessary steps to continue to
improve their services.

Once again, we appreciate your taking the time to share your comments with
us. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope your
future travel plans will continue to include InterContinental Hotels Group
properties.
SFImporter is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 07:09 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,738
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well, I hope those necessary steps will be to give you free lodging somewhere!
Personally, I would write back and say that an apology just doesn't make you feel much better. I did that after complaining to Continental Air about something and we ended up getting free passes to the Presidents Club whenever we fly this year. Not so much, but at least they did more than a form letter.
Good luck~
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 08:02 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,631
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd respond back to the form letter sender, thanking them for the reply, expressing that it is a completely inadequate, generic, response in your opinion, and that you are sharing your feelings on this matter on travel message boards dealing with London hotels.

In my opinion, this generic reply, which addresses none of your very specific criticisms, makes the original
mistakes even worse. They made a series of mistakes, and now don't really apologize or try to make good.
elaine is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 08:58 AM
  #8  
Bootman4U
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
If you had a guaranteed non-smoking room at your time of arival you should have summoned the General Manager then and there and forced them to provide you with THEIR guaranteed space..either in their establishment or in a hotel of equal value=rating...this is standard hotel practice but they won't tell you about it unless you force the issue. Otherwise, what is the point of the guarantee? I just hope you aren't fighting this for months but you may be.
ALWAYS ALWAYS get service organizations to give you compensation in some form or another acceptable to you on the spot when you can.
 
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 09:10 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,962
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I don't think much of their form letter, either, as that's all it is. It reads like something they send to anyone who writes with something that gets put into the complaint file, I guess.

I had something similar happen with the Days Inn chain in a US hotel. I hardly ever complain about anything because it's too much trouble, but this time I did because they had those cards asking for your opinion, etc. I complained about similar service problems -- loud groups in the halls uncontrolled (school groups), so-called "free" coffee in the lobby unavailable 3/4 days, broken toilet, maid stole my toothpaste, etc. They did the same thing -- just sent a form letter saying gee, sorry you had a bad time, please stay at our place again. No offer of a discount coupon, free night, or anything. Now why would I ever stay there again? So, I never have, there or any Days Inn.

I think you did get bad service, and they should have had the room you reserved, but I'm not sure if I'd want to spend my time pursuing it given it was mainly one night, but if you do want to stay in a HI again in London, maybe ask for something more.
Christina is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 09:29 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 162
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Being one that is unafraid to express my opinion when a situation is bad (and conversely to offer my praise when a situation is good), I have become quite good a writing complaint letters that get results.

First, I liked the tenure of your letter to Holiday Inn. The letter was professionally done and illustrated nicely the specific issues you had with hotel and the staff.

However, you failed to state what you expected in return for the countless inconveniences you faced during your stay. This is the single most important piece of information left out of complaint letters. Why write a letter for the sake of complaining? Might as well get something for your trouble, and in this case, you definitely had enough trouble to justify either a reimbursement or a comp stay in the future.

As a suggestion, I would have added something to this effect at the end of your letter:

"Unfortunately, this now changes my impression of what was previously was a quality hotel establishment and will definitely color my views when I consider my future lodging options. Overall, the stay at the London Kensington Forum hotel was unacceptable and was handled in an extremely unprofessional manner. Therefore, I am demanding the cost of my hotel stay be refunded to me due to the unsatisfactory experience and the lack of promised services rendered.

Thank you for your attention, I look forward to your prompt response."

You would be surprised how often this results in action being taken to remedy the otherwise bad situation.

Sorry you had such a bad experience, hopefully Holiday Inn will right their obvious wrong.

travelbear is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 09:45 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,404
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I believe no hotel will 100% guarantee a non-smoking room,unless the entire places is non-smoking (they are few and far between). This happened to us at a hotel at LAX when we were returning from Hawaii and needed to spend one night. We had a reservation for a non-smoking room. There were none available when we arrived (10:30 pm). They tried to put us in a smoking room - one sniff and I knew we were not going to stay there. We went back to the lobby where I asked to see the night mgr. I told him he needed to find us a hotel with a non-smoking room and find it fast. He did .. it was only a Travelodge a few blocks away, but the room was clean and did not reek, and for one night it was OK. Incidentally, I asked the mgr how he expected us to get over there and he called the shuttle driver in and asked him to drive us over. The hotel was the Hacienda Hotel at LAX (a rather large airport hotel). I also wrote a letter to the Manager when we got home and received a letter offering us 1 free nights stay whenever we passed through LAX again.

On another occasion we did not receive the room type we booked at the Sheraton in Puerto Vallarta, Mex. (they claimed to have no non-smoking available at check in, which was 2 p.m.). They finally "found one" after I overheard another person checking in, requesting and receiving a non-smoking room). Our desk clerk had quite an attitude (unusual, we had stayed there before and never had any trouble). I wrote a letter to the Mgr of the Sheraton in PV and got a lovely apology for the manner in which the clerk had treated us and the offer of 3 nights FREE stay (which we took them up on later that year).

When you complain about something, hotel for instance, always indicate what you did like about the place and any good employees you encountered before you go into the "unfortunate cicrumstances".
Lori is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 10:50 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,631
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Lori
I respectfully disagree. I agree with the suggestion to add at the end of one's letter of complaint what my expectation of reimbursement or recompense might be. That gives them somthing to work with, if they are interested. But I disagree that I also have to take the time to praise the hotel staff or some aspect of the hotel.
I believe in stating my complaints concisely, reasonably and clearly , but it's not my job to make THEM feel better. They're supposed to be assuaging my feelings, not I theirs, imo.
elaine is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 11:11 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,404
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well, Elaine, I guess I respectfully disagree with you I guess all people approach things differently. Even when things have been the pits I've tried to find something pleasant to say before I whack them with my complaint .. in the long run it's paid off too, not only with the hotel in Puerto Vallarta & LAX but on a few other occasions over the years too. We got 2 free nights at a Sheraton in Hawaii way back in the '80's. Front desk ervice was really horrible at the hotel. Again, I pointed out in a letter that for such a lovely hotel, and one we had stayed in before, I was truly saddened by the lack of courtesy shown by some of their staff. In that case it was front desk personnel that were rude while the maids were delightful (so I mentioned them by name and said how pleased I was with their service and how I wished the desk measured up).

I also got us a free garage door opener one time simply writing to Genie and telling them that they make a wonderful product, however the one we had was not so wonderful. After 4 repairs by a local authorized Genie agent it still did not work properly and could they find a way to solve this once and for all. They did - they contacted another local Genie agent, had him come out and install a complete new unit and then they refunded our money for the original one!! That was suburb customer service. (not travel related really, unless you count taking the car out of the garage to go to the airport

Lori is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 11:57 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,738
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts

I don't use the "passive /aggressive" approach , if you are writing to complain, then make it short and sweet and to the point.
No need to stroke them, that was their job and they didn't do it right.
So this letter is fine, tells them politely what you expected and what they did not deliver.
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2003, 12:16 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have to agree with the majority that the response of the Holiday Inn was NOT acceptable. You should send a follow up letter stating how their reply was an insult to your letter of complaint and how they offered you absolutely no compensation for your most unfortunate experience. I like saying things like, "You have always been regarded as a high quality chain of hotels and my opinion has changed after this last stay. I do not plan to stay at another Holiday Inn unless I am sufficiently compensated. Your business relies on customer satisfaction and I am now completely NOT satisfied nor plan to ever be a customer. If this experience was NOT customary to your chain of hotels, I would appreciate a complimentary stay or reimbursement to show good faith that this is not the norm and have you prove it." In the meantime I will continue to tell fellow travelers and groups of travelers to which I am affiliated of this negative experience and keep them away from this particular hotel." Now that is just some of my yip yap, but I love to write those letters. I am always writing letters to companies to which I am not satisfied with a product and I am always getting refunds, coupons, etc. I just had to put my two cents in. I have written complaints to various hotels about one thing or another and have always been happy with the reimbursements. Good luck and don't give up! They owe you!



MyBelle is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2003, 01:40 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 396
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
*Update*

With the advice of this forum I again emailed Holiday Inn and included a link to this post.

It worked!

I just received via US postal mail a free night's stay at any of their Six Continents Hotels.

While I'm well over the bad service we received on our trip - I have to admit to feeling a bit guilty. Now that my credit card statement has arrived, I realize that I was only paying about $64/night. I had thought it was pounds which would have made the cost more around $90-100.

In any event, I'm glad they made good.
SFImporter is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
stormygirl
Europe
7
Jul 27th, 2006 09:30 AM
gregm
Europe
16
Jan 4th, 2006 05:56 AM
pongised
Europe
8
Jan 6th, 2004 08:20 AM
Lorissa
Europe
10
Apr 21st, 2003 06:34 AM
Margot
Europe
5
Jul 9th, 2002 03:17 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO