I read blogs all the time, whining about small details which mars otherwise great service, and roll my eyes. Then I became one of them...
This is only my second ever stay in a Club Carlson property, and after a status match I had received I was quite excited about the visit. It was the last possible day to post a stay for the Radisson Big Night Giveaway campaign and the rates were still really affordable.
Once I completed the purchase of $65 (base price, taxes were a little more) I was presented with an option to e-standby upgrade. This is the best little upsell tool I have ever seen. For a little bit more money (but less than it would cost to book it outright) you can pay for a standby upgrade to your room. Unlike buying that room at the higher rate, it’s not confirmed until checkin but you are only charged if you ARE able to get the room you selected, win-win for everyone involved.
Here are some details on that:
For another $13 we could upgrade to a deluxe room from the superior and it seemed like something we wanted to try out, if for no other purpose, it gave the Sherpa something to write about.
At checkin, I was told that the e-standby upgrade for my room was not available nor was the level after that one, but because I was a Club Carlson silver, they would upgrade to the yet another level, a one bedroom suite. Just to be clear, for my $78 in total we had been upgraded three levels from our original booking.
Can’t complain so far.
The receptionist checked on our room before we went up, a nice touch, and then came around the desk and escorted us up, giving us a tour of our room personally.
Here is what we saw:
But there was a problem. There was a stale smell in the room that was overpowering. The receptionist thought it might have been that someone had smoked in the room, and we speculated that maybe that was the case, but trying to compensate for it, they had done more damage than good. She was kind and even sent up a welcome gift of some fresh fruit for us to enjoy. We cleaned up, got ready to go out, my wife to a dance class and myself to a top secret meeting. I forgot something once we got down to the lobby, so I ran back up to the room and when I opened the door, the smell smacked me in the face. Then I saw this card:
And I thought about that for a minute.
It created this terrible dilemma for me. I have just been upgraded several levels to a much nicer room by an amazingly kind staff, but the stench of... warm garbage - yeah, it was kind of like warm garbage - it was just too much. It’s just one night, we aren’t otherwise picky and it seemed pretty ungrateful to complain. It would likely also result in us being downgraded to a lower room so I wavered on whether or not to say anything.
When I came out of the room I saw a hotel employee in a suit (LJ) exiting a room he had just shown to another guest. I asked him to come with me. I didn’t say much but just walked him to the door of our room and opened it. He tried to diagnose the problem, and I didn’t complain, I just asked if it would be possible to get one of the many (diffusers?) around the halls moved into our room, so it would hopefully smell as nice as the hallways.
He said he would see what he could do and I agreed to meet him when I returned from my top secret meeting. When I came back he informed me that he had “blocked” a room for me and to gather my things and call when I would like to be moved. He came up shortly there after and took me to my new suite, same floor, NO SMELL!
The rest of the stay was a great experience. There was a welcome drink (we chose two Singha beers) and took them up to our room watching TV in the living room before showering then bed. The bed was perfect, firm, but not a rock, down comforter, with excellent air conditioning - a Thailand must.
This hotel was just a couple of nicks and bruises from really vying for a top tier four star status. The issues are highly correctable, like a small amount of mold that has gathered on some of the tiles in the shower or a puncture in the leather of the couch (not pictured).
Radisson had bothered to put in some finer amenities like a rain shower head, connectivity ports all over the place, international plugs, and a really spacious layout. But there will little misses that held this hotel from being classed in the ranks of my beloved Le Meridien, which is a pity because I prefer the Radisson’s location in the heart of Sukhumvit, rather than Le Meridien on the doorstep of Patpong.
I also think that for the price of this booking ($65) you will get an amazing value if you compare your experience to that of the roadside inn you would get in the US for the same money. There were staff available day and night, many waiting around in the lobby to take care of us, and we really were treated like royalty for our very nominal mid-tier status level - overall I would recommend for 90% of my readers. In fact I would say that the service was better than that of the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin (post coming shortly) which was priced about three times as expensive. Our experience (aside from the smell hiccup) was one I would not hesitate to repeat. A special thanks goes out to TJ at the Bangkok Radisson Suites Sukhumvit who genuinely cared about the enjoyment of our stay and wanted us to be happy. Without his help, our experience and this review would have been far different.
Back to my original conundrum, is it better to complain even after the staff has gone above and beyond to make my experience better? Is it ungrateful, or is it better to give them a chance to correct the issue? Let me know in the comments.