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Dear Austin Residence Inn,

March 11, 2008

Hi, it’s Ellen.  Remember me?  I just finished a stay with you.  For the most part, I tend towards Starwood properties because I have their Amex, but you were very close to the convention center, so I thought you would be a good choice. Except, you weren’t.

I wanted to write this while I was currently a guest, but your Internet wasn’t working.  ALL WEEKEND.  DURING SXSW.  Seriously, an interactive conference comes to town and you don’t have your ducks all in a row?

Anyhow, while I enjoyed your comfy bedding and thought your breakfasts and fitness center rocked, there are other problems with your hotel that need to be addressed.  Namely SECURITY.

First, my room key got switched with someone else’s in the fitness center.  When I went downstairs to see if I could get my key remade, the person at the desk said, “This isn’t for room 123 it’s for 321.”  So, she effectively told me that I had a key to someone else’s room.  Great.  Maybe she has better snacks in her fridge.  So I took the key back to the fitness center and straightened out the mess.  Of course, then my key didn’t work, so I went back down to the front desk to have it remade.  I told the woman I had no ID, but would be happy to have someone from security or the front desk follow me to my room to check my ID.  She waved that off, saying it wasn’t necessary.  I figured I didn’t want to be any later for breakfast than I already was, so I moved on. 

Truthfully, stuff like that happens to me all the time.  I get really paranoid about that, as I usually travel alone.  But oh, it gets better. 

My dad came from Houston to visit me on Saturday.  I gave him my room number and the name the room was under (sometimes I travel under aliases – Ellen Ramone for instance <g>) so he could valet the car.  Around noon, I hadn’t heard from him so I sent him a text asking where he was.  He said he was in my room.  Yep, IN MY ROOM.  The person at the front desk gave him a key to my room.  Now, I certainly didn’t ask my dad to do that, and didn’t give him permission to do that, and I didn’t get mad at him for doing that, but that isn’t the point.  You should not give keys to people who are not registered to the room!  Period.  End of sentence.  Yes, he was my dad, but how did you know that?  He could have faked the email from me.  I found the manager over at the adjoining Courtyard and requested that he change my room to allow only me, and me with ID to get keys.  He agreed that what happened should never have. 

I certainly have other complaints:

  • No one reset the time on the automated wake up calls, so the call came 1 hour late. 
  • Breakfast got taken away at random times (9:37) so you never knew if you were going to miss it
  • There was no microwave popcorn in the room.  A Res Inn trademark.  And the front desk had none.

All in all, I can forgive most things, but a security glitch is unforgivable.  I’m not happy, and suggest that anyone staying here, or frankly in any hotel, take steps to assure that the front desk staff doesn’t allow people to socially engineer their way into your room.

I’m leaving Austin today, and I just couldn’t be happier.  I certainly won’t find myself at your hotel again if I can help it. 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2008 1:34 pm

    Ew, sounds like a really bad experience. As a woman who sometimes travels alone, that’s a very scary thing to think about.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. And doh! about me getting your role wrong. That’s what I get for trying to be all spontaneous and write my posts quickly.

    Lori

  2. March 16, 2008 9:45 am

    Considering all that you had to blog about – IT sounds all so painful to re-live it. I loathe hotels that lack service and smarts.
    Ouch that hurt.

Trackbacks

  1. Customer service done RIGHT « ConfessionsOfAnITGirl.com
  2. SXSW Redux « ConfessionsOfAnITGirl.com

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