Where does this rank among the all-time worst hotel service experiences?

Edited: June 14, 2015, 2:12 PM

Imagine that you've dropped more than $2,000 a night for a hotel room... and the water doesn't work. Okay, stuff happens. But not only doesn't the water work, the staff at the hotel makes no effort to communicate with you or provide any extra accommodation for the hours while the water is out and you can't shower or wash in your room.

Remember, you're paying two grand a night!

Poly bungalows
The DVC bungalows at the Polynesian. Photo courtesy Disney

That's the situation Tom Bricker recently encountered at the new Disney Vacation Club bungalows at the Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort:

No one called or stopped by to apologize, explain the situation, or see what they could do. We joked amongst ourselves that this was because it was really ridiculous of us to expect running water in the first place, as that’s another 40 points per night.

What do you think? Where would something like this rank on your all-time list of bad guest experiences?

Replies (13)

June 15, 2015, 1:48 AM

What do I think? I think that maybe you could reach out to Disney press for a response. I think that it's hard to believe you understand the whole story when your entire article is less than 200 words. I think that it's low hanging fruit and not the best effort TPI has ever offered.

Edited: June 15, 2015, 7:50 AM

I didn't want to republish Tom's article, which includes the full story of the experience and Disney's response. So I assume that people will click the link and read it. But I thought the article worthy enough to bring to your attention.

June 15, 2015, 8:00 AM

Worst hotel service means they actually have to do more wrong things. Disney decided to not do anything to keep their complaints to a minimum.

June 15, 2015, 8:34 AM

In a nutshell, the reviewer's (which eventually admits that "I know this is an anecdote, and does not help in the context of a review because usually stories like this are a one-off") primary complaint is that Disney management were not "pro-active" that the guest had to ("gasp!") initiate communication with the resort staff to get an accommodation.

What is clear though is when the guest invested a couple of minutes to notify the hotel staff they got a response that was exceptional. Including apologies and this :

"The manager first offered to not charge them the points for the day of the inconvenience (135 points) and additionally offered extra FastPass+ for everyone in the party on the day of checkout. Per the Disney Vacation Club owner who dealt with the situation, the manager handled this incredibly well and was extremely apologetic."

And then the reviewer takes a HUGE LEAP to this conclusion: "The “solution” of the Polynesian management was simply to ignore the problem and hope no one complained."

What an amazing supposition to make about a hotel staff that when made aware of the extent of the situation extended themselves in a manner that was more than acceptable. The author offers ZERO indication from any manager or staff member indicating that they had "ignored" the problem. And his assertion is not an indictment on company or policy, but rather on front line cast members doing their jobs.

The article could have ended when he wrote "Per the Disney Vacation Club owner who dealt with the situation, the manager handled this incredibly well and was extremely apologetic" giving an attaboy to a cast member dealing with a difficult situation. But then by doing that he would not have been able to offer up the entertaining snark that is just so rare among today's bloggers.

(Snark!)

June 15, 2015, 1:57 PM

"...when made aware of the extent of the situation..."

I would call that conclusion of yours a 'huge leap' based on the available information I presented in the article. To clarify: there were no less than 10 manager-types talking with a maintenance team outside of the first bungalow the morning of the incident. Even absent that, all of the bungalows were without water for multiple hours. When 20 of a hotel's most expensive rooms have that significant of an issue, management is going to be aware of it.

You may not agree with my snarky style or even my ultimate assessment of the situation, but I think I did a fair job accurately presenting how the situation occurred, as well as what was done from a guest recovery perspective.

June 15, 2015, 2:05 PM

Also, I'd add as a general response to the title of this post that it definitely wasn't one of the worst hotel experiences ever (not even close). More than anything else, it was disappointing. I still believe in "The Disney Difference" and 99% of the Cast Members I have encountered on my visits are extraordinary, going above and beyond to make the guest experience great.

June 15, 2015, 3:06 PM

I think the Disney management should have been more proactive in their response to take care of the guests. That's what I expect out of Disney. I guess that there must have been miscommunication that day or perhaps Disney was understaffed. It does, however, seem like a situation that very rarely happens.

I don't have any truly bad hotel experiences, but given the quality of the rest of the stay, I don't think that this would be the worst hotel stay I've ever had.

June 15, 2015, 4:27 PM

David L. writes: "I guess that there must have been miscommunication that day or perhaps Disney was understaffed. It does, however, seem like a situation that very rarely happens."

I respond: Each of those explanations is worthy of consideration. And I for one appreciate your willingness to be open-minded about the reason behind the resort team's actions. Your approach seems a lot less mean-spirited than grabbing hold of a hard and fast conclusion that the "solution of the Polynesian that day was simply to ignore the problem and hope no one complained."

Edited: June 15, 2015, 4:52 PM

Mr. Bricker writes: "I still believe in "The Disney Difference" and 99% of the Cast Members I have encountered on my visits are extraordinary, going above and beyond to make the guest experience great."

I Respond: Considering the efforts of that "99%" it's surprising that you were unwilling to cut some slack for the remaining 1% (who brought a case of water, provided access to an alternate room for your party to clean-up, credited back DVC points and offered additional Fastpass+). But then again since the circumstances were so bad that it caused you to lose your temper (What was the phrase you used? Was it "the whole situation really made my blood boil"?) I suppose you had no choice but to look passed the efforts of the 99% and publicly shame the remaining cast members (1%) in a blog post that has virtually no value (quoting your words: "At the end of the day, I know this is an anecdote, and might not help in the context of a review because usually stories like this are a one-off. For every negative experience like this, there are probably countless positive ones").

Yeah, "probably."

June 15, 2015, 9:38 PM

A $2000 a night room should mean something other than a better furnished DVC suite. Grinning and bearing shouldn't be in the vocabulary. Using his words in such a manner to explain it away is not the solution to the problem. There was no service.

June 16, 2015, 2:02 AM

Anon: "A $2000 a night room should mean something other than a better furnished DVC suite."

I Respond: I concur. And when the Disney cast members were alerted to a problem (according the Mr. Bricker's article) they responded.

June 16, 2015, 11:09 AM

Frist 2K per night? Who would pay that for a rental...

Second - There is no way it was this bad and there are 2 sides to each story.

Third - Try Universal- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Fourth - We always stay at Sheraton resorts with no problems for $160 per night.

June 16, 2015, 2:04 PM

Funny I just had some bad service at the portifino. I have to do a trip report and talk about it in detail.

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