On a recent trip to Chicago, I had a choice between the equally rated Hilton or Doubletree O’Hare for the same price. Keri was tagging along, so I thought I’d try something new–and at the very least it would be a blog post. Boy was I right.
I ended up choosing the Doubletree because of two interesting options I wanted to try out — eStandby Upgrades and Requests Upon Arrival.
The eStandby Upgrades are items you can request to be added to your room rate for less than the usual price. These were the options I was given:
We didn’t have a car, and there was a warning that if you were a Hilton Gold (which I am), you are eligible to automatically receive the King Corner Upgrade for free if available, so I selected the Romance Package. Hey, breakfast is tasty and I love getting room service. Doubletree offers a continental breakfast (or 1,000 points) to Hilton Gold guests, but I prefer hot breakfast and was really craving some good ole room service.
Now for the Requests Upon Arrival. With Requests Upon Arrival, you are able to select room service items you’d like pre-delivered to your room, as well as choose extra pillows, towels, etc. These are subject to availability. Since it was subject to availability, I went crazy selecting different items to give us a smorgasbord of options. I made a mental note not to eat dinner beforehand just in case ALL were available. I crossed my fingers for the chocolate cake.
It also lets you select when you expect to arrive so that the food items aren’t just sitting out. That seemed great.
And then we arrived at the hotel.
The gentleman at the front desk got us checked in and then asked whether I’d like the 1,000 Hilton points or Hot Breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Darn! I didn’t know hot breakfast would have been an option. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have sprung for the package at all. It also appears that the 1,000 Hilton points were never applied to the account, so I’m just striking out left and right here.
I told him that depends and asked whether our “Romance Package Upgrade” cleared. He looked really awkward and stared at the screen for a second. He then looked up and said, “Er, we didn’t realize you still wanted that.”
I couldn’t tell if he worded things that way because he missed that on our package notes or because he was very uncomfortable that there were two women checking into a Romance Package. Either way, it made US feel very uncomfortable and awkward.
Room Service also turned out not to be an option for the Romance Package at the hotel, so we received the hot breakfast I would have received as a Hilton Gold. Oh well, experiment fail.
The gentleman let us know that our room service items hadn’t been sent up yet, so he’d call to have them sent up immediately.
Score! I thought. At least one of these worked!
Turns out the “items” he was sending up was the bottle of Champagne that came with our Romance Package. I was already expecting that to be the cheapest stuff possible, so this isn’t a statement on that. Of course it would be! But with the hot breakfast already being an option for us and never receiving the 1,000 Bonus Points, Keri and I joked around that I paid $27 to upgrade to a bottle of Andre.
But none of the items we requested on arrival were sent up with the room service items. I shouldn’t have assumed he meant those items were coming up too. I guess I just assumed that he would have told us the items we requested were not available. Instead, we were waiting for “items” we thought contained food.
At this point, it was really late, so we ran to the hotel bar to get food. While we were waiting for our orders, we were hit on pretty mercilessly by a drunk man who would not leave us alone. He kept trying to buy us drinks and we were pretty rude in trying to tell him to go away, but we had to stand there until we got our food. He was making us feel incredibly uncomfortable and we wished the bartender had intervened a little in this.
I was tweeting throughout this and received a tweet from Doubletree at about 1:30am. Later on (and on the same day) Maria Calderon of the ORD Doubletree emailed me to address my twitter concerns. I was pleasantly surprised to see the issue she cared about the most was the drunk man at the bar. She adjusted my rate to reflect what it would have been without the romance package. HHonors followed up with me to make sure things were alright. At that point, I didn’t know the 1,000 points wouldn’t post (though I suspected it from the initial confusion).
So, I was really happy with the response. I’d probably stay in a Doubletree again. I’ll definitely stay in a Hilton property again. I don’t think I’ll ever pre-order anything ever again. The confusion involved, as well as not knowing what will be there when you get there is a bit too much for me. If I want room service, I’ll just order it when I show up. Though Doubletree should reconsider offering these until they have a system for letting people know whether or not their arrivals will arrive. Otherwise, it will just cause ill will.