I originally intended to stay at Holiday Inn but Equatorial came recommended by LP, so I thought I would give a try. What a mistake. My chain of misfortune with this hotel started with an email to them before the trip: before I made a reservation with Equatorial, I sent them an email, asking whether they provide any paid transfer service between the central bus station and the hotel. My first email got sucked into a black hole. Then, I went ahead and made a reservation anyway, and asked for a second time about the transfer. This time, they answered and they told me no. Fine, but it's really unusual for a 5-star hotel not to offer paid transfer.
I arrived at the hotel. The grand lobby and the smiling staff behind the counter greeted me. The room was big and comfortable, although somewhat dated in terms of its decor. I noticed a breakfast menu hung on the door handle, and it said that it had to be filled out and hung on the door handle facing the corridor if I was to order breakfast. I did just that, and after a day wandering around town, nobody came to collect that filled-in breakfast menu. I called room service and asked them if I could order over the phone. They said OK, so I just read out my choices and told them when specifically I wanted the meal delivered. The next morning, the food came late and what came was horribly wrong. I called the room service again to tell them that the food came was wrong. I was polite all along - I mean, I understand that things happen, although such mistakes aren't really what one expects from a self-proclaimed 5-star establishment - but the other end of the phone kept saying that 'oh, sir, but what YOU ordered was this, what YOU ordered was that'. Seriously? So I just suddenly had this change of mind and so called you up, made up a lie so that you would give me another set of breakfast?? In the end, the manager offered a change and the breakfast was offered to me free of charge.
Going back to the night before, the occupants of the adjacent room was playing loud music at 1 am. The adjacent room happened to be an Equator Club room, so the occupants could be some VIPs, I don't know. Anyway, it doesn't change the fact that it was 1 am and people needed to sleep. I knocked on their door, signalling to them that the volume needed to be turned down. And they did - for a while. At 3.30 am, I was woken up again by the loud music. I called front desk and asked them to do something about it. The lady on the line said to me, 'Sorry sir, that's an Equator Club room. You have to call the Club counter to handle that.' I was like, 'Fine. Can you transfer me to that counter, please?' She said, 'Oh, but they have closed already.' WHAT?! So you ain't gonna do anything about it? She said, 'Well sir, you need a special key to access that room.' Then I really lost it - it's not my problem that the room can't be accessed without a special key! I was a customer as much as those [--] playing loud music after midnight! Boy, the girl on the phone was obviously petrified after I'd shouted on the phone. The manager then took over and said that he would shut my neighbours up. So the music was gone for a while. At 6 am, they switched back to heavy metal.
I have great respect for the manager who managed the situation, but he doesn't run the whole hotel, and the quality of the staff leaves a hell lot to be desired. And I stop short giving this hotel 1 out of 5 truly because of the professionalism of the manager, the location of the hotel and the general cleanliness. Yet, seriously, if you market yourself as a 5-star hotel, remind yourself that it's not just about the building and facilities. I doubt if I will stay at another Equatorial: it has made me hot to the point of boiling.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Standing majestically in the heart of history is the Hotel Equatorial Melaka. Bringing you the allure of historical Melaka with modern day conveniences, this 5-Star 22-storey international business hotel features 496 luxuriously furnished rooms and a host of food and beverage outlets. The hotel offers a range of facilities from recreation - swimming pools, a fitness centre; to business - business centre, meeting rooms and the largest grand ballroom in the state. ... more less
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