Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hilton Suites … Not what it once was …

As I age, I must admit that my tolerance of mediocrity gets lower each year. The Hilton Suites at Winnipeg Airport has always been my preferred choice when I visit family in my home town, largely as a result of excellent location near both the Assiniboine Park and my parents’ home. But perhaps this is the last year for the suites …

When the boys were younger, I got the suite so they could sleep while I went to the English Gardens or the zoo (or both) without disturbing them. They like to sleep late and this afforded me the perfect opportunity to do some photography. The first few times we stayed here I was very happy with every aspect of the room. A door between the rooms, a central bathroom with lockable access from both sides. What was not to like?

Fast forward to my trip last October. The room configuration was different and sucked … a huge glass mirror covered a hole between the rooms that let every sound pass between. WTF? I don’t need a California kitchen between the rooms. The toilet seat would not stay up … the bathroom door lock was broken … there was never any diet pepsi in the machine on any of the floors … very unimpressive …

This trip, I got a decent deal on Expedia for a much longer trip, although they charged my credit card for the whole room amount well before I left for Winnipeg. When I got here the first night at 1am, there was one spot left in the parking lot and it was in back. I could not access the hotel from the rear door because I did not yet have a room key, so I trudged around to the front. About 1/3 of the way there, I was told that the ballroom entrance was open in the back. Sheesh … trudge trudge trudge …

I had stopped in the morning to reserve a room, complaining to the front desk person about my room from last year and saying that I did not want a room with the hole between the rooms. When I picked up my key, I repeated how much I disliked my previous room. And when I arrived in my room, I found … you guessed it … a mirror on the wall. I was in the same kind of room.

Since I was alone for the first week, this was not all that annoying, so I let it lie – even though the toilet seat would not stay up … sheesh. Then the boys arrived, and we immediately noted that the bathroom door lock was still broken. We had reported that to staff several times during our October stay last year and here we are in August and it is still broken …

Have you figured out the big play yet?

They gave me the *same f’ing room* … the boys confirmed it, although I had suspected by now. The trip down the hall seemed very familiar. So after complaining to everyone how much I hated that room configuration, they gave me the same room. No maintenance has been performed on this room in almost a year.

As for service … well, I / we did not receive a fresh bar of soap until I explicitly called and asked for one on the 10th day … that’s right, no new soap for 10 days. The maid had one day left her cleaning rag hanging on the bathroom door knob. I left it alone and it disappeared the next day. The room was generally clean, but the mirror was left open one day … they are little things, but the effect is one of inconsistency, which really spells mediocrity.

What really tore me a new one was arriving at the hotel on the last night, very late (2am) and finding that our keys had both died. So we trudged around to the front … *in the rain* … and I went to the front desk just steaming. I open with something along the lines of “how is it that both my keys are dead at this time of night?” The guy does not even stand up, just smiles and asks where I kept them? I respond with incredulity and he adds, again without standing up or touching his computer screen in any way, was it in your wallet?

Now I am livid … I bark “I don’t need this bullshit, I need working keys!”

Now he jumps up and finally looks me up at his terminal, apologizing that he was just asking questions. Think about the implications though … it is 2am and pouring rain … the lot is always full in front so I have clearly walked from the back of the hotel and am wet. I am angry that two keys have died at the same moment. And he presumes that I am an idiot and demagnetized both keys – all before he bothers to stand up and check to see of the computer did it …

Oh yeah … and there is still no diet pepsi in the damned machines :-)

The Hilton empire seems to have slipping standards these days …

6 comments:

billx08 said...

Part 2 :

>>> American newspaper publisher under whose ownership (from 1896) The New York Times became one of the world’s outstanding newspapers. Despising “yellow [sensational] journalism,” he emphasized comprehensive and trustworthy news gathering.
>>>
>>> Ochs, the son of Jewish immigrants, delivered newspapers while a schoolboy in Knoxville, Tennessee. He became a printer’s devil (apprentice) on the Knoxville Chronicle in 1872 and later a compositor on the Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal. In 1877 he helped to establish the Chattanooga Dispatch, and in July 1878, only 20, he borrowed $250 to buy a controlling interest in the moribund Chattanooga Times, which he developed into one of the leading newspapers in the South. He was a founder of the Southern Associated Press and was its chairman from 1891 to 1894; from 1900 until his death he was a director of the Associated Press.
>>>
>>> On August 18, 1896, Ochs acquired control of the financially faltering New York Times, again with borrowed money ($75,000). To set his paper apart from its more sensational competitors, Ochs adopted the slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print” (first used October 25, 1896) and insisted on reportage that lived up to that promise. Despite an early shortage of capital, he refused advertisements that he considered dishonest or in poor taste. In 1898, when sales were low and expenses unusually high, he probably saved The New York Times by cutting its price from three cents to one cent. He thereby attracted many readers who previously had bought the more sensational penny papers, especially the New York World and the Journal. By 1900 Ochs was able to purchase a controlling interest in The New York Times.
>>>
>>> Ochs was responsible for such innovations as a book review supplement and rotogravure printing of pictures. To make accurate source material available to the public, he began in 1913 to publish The New York Times Index, the only complete U.S. newspaper index.
>>>
>>> http://www.britannica.com/.../topic/424662/Adolph-Simon-Ochs?anchor=ref754367

billx08 said...

Part 2 : Rats, also too large. Splitting again. Hmm, DPR mangled the URL so I replaced it with the real one, that may have been the root of the problem.

>>> American newspaper publisher under whose ownership (from 1896) The New York Times became one of the world’s outstanding newspapers. Despising “yellow [sensational] journalism,” he emphasized comprehensive and trustworthy news gathering.
>>>
>>> Ochs, the son of Jewish immigrants, delivered newspapers while a schoolboy in Knoxville, Tennessee. He became a printer’s devil (apprentice) on the Knoxville Chronicle in 1872 and later a compositor on the Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal. In 1877 he helped to establish the Chattanooga Dispatch, and in July 1878, only 20, he borrowed $250 to buy a controlling interest in the moribund Chattanooga Times, which he developed into one of the leading newspapers in the South. He was a founder of the Southern Associated Press and was its chairman from 1891 to 1894; from 1900 until his death he was a director of the Associated Press.
>>>
>>> On August 18, 1896, Ochs acquired control of the financially faltering New York Times, again with borrowed money ($75,000). To set his paper apart from its more sensational competitors, Ochs adopted the slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print” (first used October 25, 1896) and insisted on reportage that lived up to that promise. Despite an early shortage of capital, he refused advertisements that he considered dishonest or in poor taste. In 1898, when sales were low and expenses unusually high, he probably saved The New York Times by cutting its price from three cents to one cent. He thereby attracted many readers who previously had bought the more sensational penny papers, especially the New York World and the Journal. By 1900 Ochs was able to purchase a controlling interest in The New York Times.
>>>
>>> Ochs was responsible for such innovations as a book review supplement and rotogravure printing of pictures. To make accurate source material available to the public, he began in 1913 to publish The New York Times Index, the only complete U.S. newspaper index.
>>>
>>> http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/424662/Adolph-Simon-Ochs?anchor=ref754367

r said...

FWIW, over at DPR, maybe you understand it, but I thought you should know.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1012&message=36205173

http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4715/letkeman.jpg

I think it's meant to be complimentary(?), but I must be missing something. Poor execution, more explanation needed? It seems like fodder whether it was intended to be or not. There is no way someone would think based on the title that the contents are what they are.

Again, fwiw, I could be way off here.

And yeah, Hilton is so fired. Sorry to hear about the nightmare. They want to cancel my rewards account because I haven't stayed with them in a year. When I explained the issue with my son hamstrings me from vacationing at Embassy Suites at Disneyland or in Monterey as I'd like, it fell on deaf ears. But they still email me...I don't get it.

Kim Letkeman said...

Quite likely in response to getting a bit stomped starting here ... http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1012&message=36112713

bluenoser said...

Sorry about the bad experience Kim but I was thoroughly entertained by the story. I'm surprised that the guy that tried to explain the "magic" of demagnetization to you at 2:00am isn't at least walking with a limp! Sounded like it could have been a scene in a movie like Fargo (well at least if you had killed the guy!).

Kim Letkeman said...

James ... I was just about ready to channel Steve Buscemi :-)

But to his credit, he saw the error of his ways instantly when my tone changed.