Why I Like Four Seasons and Shy Away From Marriott

Marriott’s a big name, a brand many people are comfortable with. I am not. Here’s why: Their employees are not empowered to use common sense when to do so trumps rules and regulations. For example, during a recent stay over New Year’s eve in Ft. Lauderdale, I was about to turn in early when the sound of city-wide fireworks caught my attention. As the light show erupted, I stood on my 12-story balcony to watch when…… poof,….

my $800 glasses fell, dropping to a second story  garden rooftop that also covered the arrival area.  Conference rooms and suites also bank up to that second-story area so that had I  stayed in one of those garden rooms, I could have walked out into that garden and picked up my glasses without even calling the front desk. But it was  dark and late, and New Year’s Eve. I agreed when a hotel representative suggested it would be better to continue the search in the morning.The next morning after calling them and waiting a long time, the front desk team said security couldn’t find the glasses. I asked to personally join the search myself; since only I knew what I was looking for. Busy with the New Year’s Day crowd, probably understaffed, they refused to allow me admittance to look myself. For four hours, I pleaded with them. I asked to see the on-duty manager. They refused, and they refused again. Finally, having run out of time, I had to continue my trip without the expensive glasses. Their excuse? The garden was off-limits to guests-even though gardeners were constantly walking there and stepping stones abounded. It didn’t make sense.

It was not Marriott’s fault that my glasses fell. It was an accident. Accidents happen in hotels. Customers have problems. … There is no excuse for not allowing a manager to speak with me-not over the course of an entire morning. There also is no excuse for not allowing me to look for my property for myself.  I would have happily walked under their trees with any foot soldier they wanted to send and sign any waivers for stepping onto their grass, dirt, or stepping stones-all of which hardly looked less meanacing than the beach outside or their pool area. Perhaps, I would not have found them. Then again, maybe I would. I’ll never know.

On the other hand, my experiences at Four Seasons have been completely different. In my next blog post, I’ll give you a good example of a difficult experience and how well it was handled.

Meanwhile, shame on Marriott!