Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saturday Continued or Vendor Review: Our Hotel

Warning: This is an angsty post in which I use a LOT of captial letters.  It is mostly about how poorly the Hyatt Place Owings Mills treated us and our wedding.  From everybody I've talked to, the nearby Hilton Garden Inn was much better.  
We went back to the hotel.  Fun tip:
Make sure your name is on the hotel room you will be staying in the night before your wedding.

We get to the hotel.  I'm holding my wedding dress and EVERYONE is sitting in the lobby of the hotel.  I'm stressed beyond belief, and they won't let me into my Sister-in-Law's room.  Because I might be trying to sabotage/rob/murder my sister-in-law.  REALLY?  REALLY????  (Yes, legally, I understand this as a general policy.  But I do think an exception should be made for the bride in the wedding party.  This is pretty much the only thing I felt entitled to as a bride - entitled to access to the hotel room where I planned to sleep.)

The main reason this was a problem was: my SIL was already at the bar, and also, the hotel had let me into the room earlier in the day just by looking at my driver's license, so I assumed that they would do it again.  But not only would they not let me in, the manager was a HUGE A**HOLE about it, and made me stand there, holding my wedding dress, while I had a total meltdown in front of ALL OF MY IN-LAWS.

Our photographer showed up, who was staying with my SIL, complaining that her keycard wasn't working.  The manager wouldn't even reset her keycard.  If we had known earlier in the day that this was a problem, I would have had L. add me to the room so that I could access it.  Finally, I desperately asked the manager if he could call my SIL and ask her to give us permission to go into the room.  "Of course," he said, like he couldn't believe we hadn't asked.  I could NOT believe he had not suggested that when I said, "isn't there ANYTHING you can do?"

So we got into the room, dropped off our stuff, and went to the bar.  We got lost on the way, but when I got there, barely recovered from my meltdown, my husband had a margarita and a pad of paper waiting for me, saying, "tell me everything I need to do tomorrow to make sure this happens right."  I looked at him with relief and started to blurt out everything that had to happen.  I don't know what all of it was, but it was things like "burlap on benches" "make reserved signs" "get table runners from your mom".  So I relaxed and hung out with my high school buds who had made the trip for the weekend from NY and Massachusetts and I didn't get to spend any time with on the wedding day.  Everything was going great until my sister got a call from my parents saying that something had gone wrong with their hotel reservation and they were changing to the Hilton Garden Inn.

We got back to the hotel and had to, again, deal with the night manager.  I'm still not entirely sure what happened with my parents reservations, but I do not believe that the hotel actually lost them.  What I absolutely know to be true is that after a long go-round, the hotel let my parents cancel one of their two rooms, and my sister and I opted to take the other room (it was around 1am at this time).  When we got into the room, the room smelled funny and the carpet was damp.  Literally soaking through my socks damp - clearly the carpet had been steam cleaned that day, and not able to dry.  It was definitely NOT how I wanted to spend my last night as a single woman.  My sister went back to the desk to ask the manager about switching to a room with a not-damp carpet, but the hotel was fully booked.  (Where the second room that my parents had went, I don't know, but I do know that there is no way the hotel should have assigned us to a room with a damp carpet.)  The man told us that we could cancel that room, and go back up to my SIL's room where we had originally planned to spend the night, but we were afraid they were all asleep/settled by then and we'd had enough crazyness for one night, so we kept the wet room.  I complained to the hotel after the fact and they offered to upgrade me for free the next time I stay at a Hyatt Place.  I can assure you that I never intend to stay at a Hyatt Place again.

The other thing that happened, around the same time as the meltdown with my parent's room, was actually much more offensive to me.  The hotel had offered to schedule shuttles to Irvine for us, and this was the main reason we went with the hotel.  They told me over the phone that they usually schedule two, but could do more if we needed.  Mark set up the times and the hotel had sign-up sheets when people came in.  The shuttles filled up pretty early, because it turned out we had a lot of guests trying to take them.  The night manager, rather than scheduling a third shuttle, told our guests that we had only contracted for two shuttle runs.  Our contract said absolutely nothing about the shuttles, and all guests who stay at the hotel are entitled to use the shuttle (I will agree that scheduling the shuttles was a courtesy), and the manager should have said that, rather than telling them that we only contract for two runs.  This had a lot of people blaming us for not setting up more shuttle runs, when really it was hotel policy and not our decision at all.  I dislike being blamed for things I didn't do, and I even more dislike it when people say things that would lead our guests to believe that I had not put their comfort and safety at the top of my priority list.

I get that the hotel was overextended and we got married on one of the most popular days of the year.  I would cut them some slack if they had been at all polite to me, but the night manager in particular was rude, ungracious, and on some kind of crazy power trip.  He treated me like he already had decided I was a bridezilla, and therefore I was the crazy one and he didn't need to be nice.  He was even worse to my poor sister, who moved heaven and Earth to try to keep me happy.  Everyone else I dealt with, during the day, was generally pleasant and respectful.  I probably would have let this go if the hotel had responded to the email I sent them the day after we got back from our honeymoon with anything more than a generic, "we're sorry. Stay with us again and we'll try to be nicer to you."


  1. That does sound like terrible customer service. I especially hate it when vendors mark you as a bridezilla before they've actually taken the time to get to know you. Just because you've dealt with a few difficult brides before does not give you the right to make sweeping generalizations about all of us. Grrrrrrr.

  2. Don't worry I stole 6 spoons and never gave them back :-) Also a lot of yogurts and banana's that we didn't eat, which while wasteful at least costs them money :-P

  3. After our wedding I plan on trashing our hotel in a blog post too. They have been nothing but a pain in the ass and have treated me like crap. We ended up booking over 100 room nights with them over 4 days so you would think they would be nicer to us. Nope--total jackasses. At one point, I had to get my event planner BFF to contact them because they refused to respond to any of my emails.

    Sorry you had so many problems---that stress was something you didn't need during your wedding weekend.

  4. Yikes! My hotel was super amazing and helpful... we ended up with 2 free nights because of all the craziness that occurred.
    Initially we were to have a suite for 1 night free - that suite got lost in the suffle, so they upgraded us to the Prime Minister's suite for 1 night for free... At the last minute that room needed renovations, so we were downgraded to a normal suite, but got it for 2 nights free. I felt like our hotel was super helpful all the way through - accomadated lots of early check-ins too.
    Sorry to hear that you had such crummy service - I'm very surprised that the Hyatt wouldn't have given you the wet carpet room for free. Very odd!!