I am writing this not only because my wife and I feel really humiliated and I must say outraged, but also trying to prevent this situation to another patron at the Fairmont Hotel in Edmonton.
This Email might be a little long but I beg you to cope with me and read it, I also inform that by the time you are reading this, a copy is already posted at TripAdvisor and was also sent to all the contacts we have at the city Media, as we feel really unheard and without support about what will be explained in this letter.
As you can see at the top, my wife and I reserved a room for the long weekend at the Fairmont Macdonald, my wife spent the whole year of 2012 very sick, had gallbladder surgery, it went wrong and she almost died because of blood poisoning after surgery last May.
It took her almost a year to feel strong enough to finally leave the house and try to spend a weekend away, even if we live in the city, but this recovery is all about small steps. All the family was supportive that it would be good for her to finally have a change of scenery and with that in mind, last Christmas they offered her a gift certificate for this hotel, trying that she would consider coming.
My wife's only wish was to be able to go to a place that would allow her to bring our little dog , as she didn't feel comfortable for the time being leaving the dog at a day care.
We checked the hotel's pet policy and the fee was acceptable and we thought there would be no problems, as a few years ago she also took the little guy to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and she had no problems whatsoever.
Because of my wife's illness we didn't had the chance of having a honeymoon as well, so we took this opportunity to plan it, it would be a celebration of our wedding, Valentine's Day and the family day weekend, sounded like a perfect idea and to be honest we both spent the last month counting the days for this event.
But... well let's say our joy last until 10 minutes after entering your hotel.
As I am taking care of the check in with the front desk clerk, my wife is walking around with the dog at the lobby, at a certain point she walks by me and tells me she needs to take him out as she thinks he is in need of doing something, she took the dog outside and a couple of minutes later came back and told me that it was false alarm. As I am finishing the check in, I hear a voice on my back addressing my wife and saying that " Madam, I am the Director of Operations and I must inform you that I will have to charge you about this", my wife responded asking if the dog had done anything, he responded yes and she apologized telling him that she really didn't noticed it and tried to remove the dog as soon as possible and after all it was too late, this gentleman (Afif Salibi is his name, or at least someone impersonating him, as I find it hard to believe this person could make to Director of Operations at such hotel) kept on his loud voice, in front of at least other 15 guests that meanwhile gathered there waiting for their turn to check in, saying that he would charge us a fee and it would appear on our room folio, my wife said that she understood, apologized for the inconvenience again, and before walking away he tells her that it would be $250 for the cleaning of the dog's "accident". We looked at each other in disbelief as he vanishes through a staff door and immediately my wife asked the gentleman handling our check in if this was some kind of joke, he answered that he couldn't do anything as that was the Operations Director and he is the one in charge.
By this time my wife is on the verge of tears, I am about to explode and we are really embarrassed in front of all these people, looking at us as if we were criminals or something similar. Trying to prevent further humiliation I took the room keys and went to the room with my wife and the dog, once there and after our luggage arrived, I took my time to calm her down and went downstairs to talk with Mister Salibi again, as I asked for him and a gentleman is telling me that I can only talk to him if I have an appointment (sic), I explain the situation and he finally agrees to go and tell him I am waiting, I take the time to inspect the "site of the crime" and there are no marks there, or the carpet is even washed, and yes in case you're wondering I touched the floor with my hands and tried to understand how a 14 pound Puganeese could have made a $250 mess, but even if that point is kind of useless for this, I did it.
Mr. Salibi arrived shortly after, I approached him and asked why was he charging us $250 for an accident with my dog, if he really thought that was appropriate, he kept on the same arrogant tone he used with my wife before, and told me he was charging us that much because his staff shouldn't be subjected to that kind of situation.
I told him that we were already paying $25 a day to cover the pet incidentals as stated at the hotel's pet policy so where was he coming with that amount from, was he thinking he had to change the whole carpet or something along those lines.
On his once again very arrogant way, not only the tone but the poise as well, he kept on insisting with me that he was the Director of Operations and he had the power to charge that and he wouldn't change is mind. I told him that I had my wife crying in the room and our weekend was ruined already, being that probably we would check out immediately if he wouldn't reconsider, he told me I was free to do as I please (sic) but if I decided to stay him and his staff would do their best to give us the best stay possible. I am about to lose my mind and do something bad, but keeping my composure I still tell him one more time that a few years ago at the Fairmont Lake Louise, a couple friend of ours had a similar accident with their dog and they were charged $50 which was reasonable even if it doesn't make sense as we're already paying the pet fee. Once again he tells me this is his hotel and these are his rules and each Fairmont as a different pet policy (which I know it's true, but what varies is the daily fee not this abomination he decided to pull out.) and he decided we would charge us $250 and case closed. I asked him again if being the director of operations, didn't he had the power not to forgive the fee (money was never the issue here, only the principle and the arrogance, I need to state that, and you'll understand further ahead) but at least be more reasonable about this matter, he concurred that he had in fact that power but his decision was final and he wouldn't be either lowering it or waiving it.
In a final appeal I informed him that my wife is not only a President's Club member, but also a Famous Agent and she works as a Western Canadian consultant for an American Travel agency and she was a travel agent before that for a Canadian agency called TPI and we lost the count of all the business she brought to the Fairmont group not only in Canada but all over the world in these last few years. Again, on the top of his arrogance he told me he was very pleased with that but his decision was made, he also told me (on what I consider a mockery) that he expected we would keep on sending clients.
By this time I am already thinking this is useless and I just told him that we were leaving but I would be writing a letter to superior management about this, once again and in the top of his arrogance, Mr. Salibi told me that in fact he thought I should do that and offered me his card so I could know who he was and how my letter would be ignored (sic). I told him that I knew exactly who he was and also his name, in one last provocation after I turn my back on him he still tells me that he hopes we have a delightful stay at the hotel, almost losing it I turn around and ask him what's the part of "already ruined" he can't understand, he went his way, I went back to the room, called the reception and informed I was leaving, so I did, went back down with my wife and my dog, used my gift certificate to pay for the $250, told the gentleman at the front desk to divide the remaining as a tip for the reception staff if he could and just got our car and we drove back home.
The fact here is simple, I went to the websites of all the Fairmonts I could find, and none of them mentions that in case the pet has an "accident" in any hotel area, there is a penalty that can reach $250. All of them inform of their pet fee, that I understand is in some hotels $50 and in others $25 and is charged exactly because of this type of situation. If this policy of the $250 exists, you had the OBLIGATION of putting it in a legible place, or at least inform the client to try and put a diaper on the pet (or something similar) to prevent this kind of situation.
In our days, not only in our life, but also in our work, specially when dealing with the public, we have to remember that each person is a universe, you don't know where this person is coming from, you don't know how your actions toward them will affect their lives. In my case I will now have to start again all the process of convincing my wife to leave the house and take a little break, something that took me and the family almost 6 months to do and Mr. Afif Salibi destroyed in less than 20 minutes... Absolutely uncalled for, we are not only disappointed, but also feel humiliated and diminished.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.