VIP no more, I headed back home outraged

I have designated Friday the day where the angry, perhaps whiny professor, gets to rant and rave much like Peter Griffin about anything that’s on my mind. Consider yourself warned.

Today’s topic: hotel customer service in the United States.

A friend of mine is in town this weekend for the usual partying in Scottsdale so naturally being a great friend, I volunteered to get him a room at the W Scottsdale, a Starwood hotel. Obviously, I had my own selfish motive- points.

Last year, I stayed at Starwood properties 25 times in order to qualify for platinum status. This provides 4PM checkouts, room upgrades, and, most critically, bonus points for free stays. Staying at hotels throughout the world, I quickly learned that status counts more than the size of your wallet. Upon hitting the coveted ‘platinum’ status I was invited into a world of pampering that I did not deserve. Everywhere I went it was “Mr. Bachuwa, is everything up to your standards?” “Mr. Bachuwa, we have taken the liberty of upgrading your room.” I was given a sneak peak of how the rich lived everyday and grew anxious at the prospect of being demoted down to lowly ‘gold’.

The difference in service are not to be scoffed at. Let me provide some examples:

St. Regis Mauritius

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1 bedroom ocean villa versus standard room overlooking the pool.

IMGA0201

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Hilton Doha

W Doha

Which brings me back to the W Scottsdale. I went to check-in, excited that I would, once again, be given the “Mr. Bachuwa” respect that should be reserved for my father, not a character like myself. Instead, the front desk didn’t even thank me for my loyalty failing to utter the sweet words, “We recognize your platinum status.” Worse, she told me I was in a standard room on the third floor. Entitled, I had to ask, “Aren’t there any suites available.” A quick “no” followed by the cold exchange of room keys and I was on my way.

VIP no more, I headed back home outraged that I was appropriately treated just like any other guest.

And it’s much bigger issues in the world, I know, but first I had to take care of the world I know. –  Jay Z

Jay Z notwithstanding, it is remarkable how hotels overseas seem to take care of their guests with a different level of service and it’s not because of your status, your wallet, or your name. It’s just something that seems to come naturally. They want you to feel comfortable and will go out of their way to make you feel at home.

The same is true regarding domestic airlines versus international. Guess which one happened on a Delta flight and which one on Cathay Pacific?

“More f@!king peanuts,” as my knee is hit by the cart.

“Mr. Bachuwa, let me bring you some ice cream before we land. What flavor would you like?”

Now where’s that damn Starwood customer service number . . .

 

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