To preface this review: I sent my comments to the management of the hotel and they replied with an apology and an adjustment to my bill. That was the right thing to do but it still did not compensate for a deeply disappointing 3 days in San Miguel because of the actions of the hotel.
I was in San Miguel de Allende at the Casa de Sierra Nevada from Jan. 17-20, 2013. I wanted to give you feedback on my stay there because I have some real concerns about the customer service function and how it affected my stay, which was considerable. First are the pluses:
The hotel is beautiful, my room was upgraded at the time of booking – through Luxury Link – and it was very beautiful as well.
The food in the restaurant is delicious – tasty and well-presented.
Although my free dinner was supposed to be in the dining room, it was so cold they bent the rules and let me have it in my warm room, not the very cold dining room where all the staff were wearing jackets.
Now the minuses:
1. In an email exchange before the trip I had specifically asked about signing up for the cooking classes at the hotel. Could it wait until I got there so I could plan out my days a little; I was told yes. The cooking classes had been the most anticipated activity of my trip. When I arrived at the hotel, I was told all the classes were full. The female customer services manager called around to other classes but they were full. I asked what other activities there were and she had nothing else to give me but the one-pager of suggested activities the hotel disseminated every day. I signed up for the 2-hour walking tour after having asked about a bus or van tour of the city and was told there were none. I myself found a brochure, hidden behind one of the office doors, which described a number of half-day and day tours. I brought this to the concierge's attention. We did manage to get a 5-hour private tour for Saturday, which was basically a waste of time mainly driving around to see the nicer homes, but that wasn’t the staff’s fault. What I do criticize them for is not knowing the content of the offerings of the one company they seem to deal with. Plus not knowing any other companies. Here’s a good example. I got a ride back to the Leon airport from Baijo (sp?) a company I heard about from another American not staying at the hotel. They offered all kinds of tours PLUS a ride back to the airport in a very nice van for $29. When I emailed the hotel beforehand and asked the best way to arrive at the hotel from the airport, I was given a choice of 3 ways – the cheapest, which I took, was a private driver in a beat-up car – for $122!
The night before I left I found in a brochure from the Orient-Express a write-up on San Miguel and the town’s classes in watercolors, jewelry making, Spanish classes, etc. I would have loved the class on jewelry making but the Casa de Sierra Nevada staff didn’t seem to know about it – I had asked them several times what activities there were for me to do. Another example – The Fabrica au Aurores. It was on the hotel list as a morning tour on Thursday, the day I came in. When I was discussing what I could do with the customer services manager she never mentioned one could go there any time, it was full of art galleries and a wonderful small restaurant. Somehow I later figured that out on my own and did go.
2. When I asked whether I could get a cab at the front of the hotel, the guest services person (Juan?) told me to go down the block, turn right and it would be easier to get one there, which is what I did. It was not a big deal – but I have never been in a five-star hotel where a staff member didn’t flag down a cab for a guest.
3. One morning I asked for a 7 a.m. wake-up call: it came at 7:15.
4. The morning of the 20th fireworks went off at 6 a.m. and continued intermittently. This was due to religious traditions. The staff should have warned the guests; this was quite the unwelcome surprise when on vacation.
5. In the news summary distributed at breakfast there was an ad for the hotel’s restaurant saying for the month of January a margarita would be half price and a free snack given with it. When I went to the bar, I was charged full price and there was no free snack, in fact I had ordered something small grilled, can’t remember what it was, and was charged for that as well. I was not aware of the ad until the second day. It happened again the second day even though it was brought to the waiter’s attention. He charged me half-price but no snack. My final bill was adjusted but only because I brought it to their attention, not because the waiter told the front desk to adjust it.
6. And I won’t go into detail about how long it took to get settled in the room, simply to say it was a very cold and windy day and it took several calls before I got a heater for the bathroom, dinner never worked out – because I was so cold they put me into a private dining room with the table still set for 8 (and to be kept that way) and instead of a heater heating up the room, there was an air conditioning unit! If they had tested it beforehand and thought to heat the room a few minutes before I got there, they would have known.
In summary, in my opinion, the Casa de Sierra Madre has a very inexperienced, seemingly untrained staff. They do not confirm so one must always confirm with them, which makes you feel like a nag. I did not interact with one staff member who had any initiative. They’re all pleasant, with the right personality, but with very few skills. They know what they know and certainly are not problem solvers.
While I liked the ambiance, food and looks of the hotel I’m afraid what I’ve described above really did affect my stay there. I have dealt with many concierges and have never met any that did not have knowledge, professionalism, as immediate follow-up as possible, etc. I thought through the pleasant email exchanges I had with the staff before my trip I would be in good hands when I got there but the opposite was true.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
February 6, 2013
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you for taking the time to share your comments regarding your recent stay at Casa de Sierra Nevada. Your feedback is very important to us and allows us to take immediate action in correcting any area of opportunity that we may have. We sincerely regret that you felt disappointed with your stay.
Casa de Sierra Nevada as part of Orient-Express works hard everyday to provide the best service and product quality to ensure every client leaves happy, we are always constant in the refinement of our product. The result of this effort is reflected on the numerous good comments posted in this site. There are always areas to improve, and thanks to your valuable feedback we are able to identify those areas in which we need to focus on.
We would like to have the opportunity of erasing this negative experience and look forward to welcoming you back to Casa de Sierra Nevada at a future date. Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any further comment.
Casa de Sierra Nevada Team.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.