I have stayed at this hotel a number of times over the past six months, and was always pleased with it, considering it excellent value for the money, and one of the best deals in Ermita for budget hotels. The rooms are clean and the staff are pleasant and do their best, though they have been working under difficult circumstances recently owing to the policies of the new management, which insists that guests not check in before 2:00 PM in the afteroon.
This policy is what the title of this review is referencing. On my latest visit, I flew in from Bangkok, arriving at 7 AM in the morning. I was at the hotel by 8 AM, my prebooked room was empty, and waiting for its weary and exhausted traveller (little sleep on the flight), but due to "policy," despite my repeated entreaties, I was not permitted to occupy my room, even though it was empty and ready for its next guest. As a result, I had to kill time in shabby Ermita until 2:00 PM, even though I was dog-tired at the time.
This is an insane policy. Next door at the CityState, I have arrived at all hours of the day, including the early morning, and if the room is available, I am able to occupy it. Not so at the Gran Prix. Worse, at 2:00 PM, the lobby was filled with travellers like myself who had been turned away until 2:00 PM. They were forced to wait, sitting on their luggage, while the slow and tedious check-in process was underway. Talk about frustration and inconvenience - all because of "policy." The managment is tone-deaf on this issue, and needs to take a course in customer relations. But this is the Philippines, remember, whose national travel slogan is (or should be) "It's more FRUSTRATING in the Philippines." And it surely is at the Gran Prix.
Whether or not you can put up with the other frustrations that you may well encounter staying in the Grand Prix (or booking a room online) will depend somewhat on your temperament as a traveller. The front desk attempted to charge me 500 pesos for an extra room key, which was required to access a bathroom across the hallway from my room; without it, the occupant would be required to use the restroom in the dark, if you can imagine that. Again, this was "policy," and totally idiotic and stupid. In addition, once I gained access to the bathroom, the toilet didn't work and maintenance had to be summoned to fix it.
In my previous stays at the Grand Prix, I would have praised this hotel, but looking at the many negative reviews of the hotel, I can see that my latest experience is not unique. To those considering this hotel, I would say that it is still a good choice, but time your arrival for later in the afternoon if you can, and be prepared to deal with any issues that crop up with bemused detachment. If you can do so, you will probably have a good experience in the hotel. It is definitely good value for one's money, so one can't go wrong in that regard. You may be a lucky one, and have a good experience in the Grand Prix, though you may also be an unlucky one, and have a stay that is bedevilled by frustration and inconvenience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Treat yourself to ultra-cozy, affordable accommodations in a convenient location that’s accessible to many tourist attractions and major transport systems. With valuable facilities and personalized service, Gran Prix Hotel and Suites in Manila is the perfect place to stay when in the bustling metropolis. ... more less
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