I arrived to this hotel on Sunday night, and checked-in around 9:30 pm. I was anxious to do a couple of hours work on my laptop, call my wife, and relax before an early court appearance nearby the next morning. When I got to my room, the door wasn't closed all of the way...I could just push it open. This wasn't any big deal, though it was the first time I've ever felt the need to "sweep" a hotel room for anyone hiding in the closet or bathroom.
All seemed well, so I dropped all of my belongings and grabbed the ice bucket and headed downstairs for ice (on level 2) and a bottle of water. I got the ice, but the vending machine was totally out of water...a mild inconvenience, but frustrating because walking around downtown Oakland late at night looking for bottled water didn't feel like a great option.
Here's where things really took a turn for the worst. Upon returning to the room, the keycard lock actually swallowed my keycard...I've used these locks a thousand-plus times and never had one do what this one did. My keycard literally disappeared into the lock mechanism, leaving just its top barely showing.
I returned to the front desk (approx. 9:45 pm), and the girl working there (who was new) had tools for removal of keycards from the locks. This would have been great, but it became apparent that she had not really been trained in how to use the tool. Instead of retrieving my card, she actually pushed the keycrd further in, so that none of the key was visible at all.
We returned to the front desk (approx. 10:15ish), and the girl offered to move me to a different room and then I could retrieve my stuff in the morning when the manager got there. I told her this was unacceptable...my laptop, phone charger, toiletries, clean clothes/suit...EVERYTHING!!...was locked in that room. She called the manager at home, and he agreed to send his son to help. She told me the son was about 30 minutes away.
At this point, my blood started to boil as it became apparent that getting my work done and relaxing was out of the question, and that I would probably have to work late...IF we ever got into the room. Getting to sleep early seemed like a disappearing notion.
I sat in the lobby until the son arrived (approx. 10:45ish). Over the course of the next hour or so, the manager's son, Zyed (I apologize if I am spelling that incorrectly), went through several diagnoses as to what was wrong. With the afore-mentioned keycard tool, he was able to instantly get the keycard out of the door. I was thrilled that the ordeal seemed close to being over.
The keycard would still not open the door, so it was decided that the lock mechanism must be missing working batteries. Zyed went down to the office to find the tool which opens the battery compartment. He couldn't find it. He tried with several screwdrivers to get it open, and went downstairs to find another tool (we're getting near 11:15 pm now).
Finally he found the correct tool and changed the batteries in the lock. Guess what? It still wouldn't open!! He went downstairs to make a new keycard to see if that would work. Nope! No luck. At his point it was decided we would have to physically pry the door open with a crowbar...which was successful after about 30 minutes.
A new front desk guy was on duty, and as he made me a new keycard for another room, he remarked that THIS WAS THE SECOND TIME THIS HAD HAPPENED!! “We need to do a better job of checking those locks, batteries, etc.”, he said.
Around 12:00 midnight I finally got settled in the new room, called my wife (in TX....where it was 2am at this point) and began the work that I should have already been able to complete. Needless to say...I did not get the sleep that I had hoped for.
The next morning, Samir, the manager, introduced himself and apologized. He was very friendly, but I was frustrated by his “these things happen” attitude. He mentioned that he, too, would have been frustrated without having his belongings. To me, this was only part of the issue. When I checked out I figured I would be offered a refund, discount, meal....you know...at least something which acknowledged what a major inconvenience this was for me and that I had not, IN FACT, received what I had paid for. After all, I was locked out of my room for OVER TWO HOURS...alternately sitting in the lobby and the hallway floor...and had to stay up until close to 2 am to get my pre-court work done.
Not even the slightest concessionary offer was made.
Samir and his son are very nice...that is not the issue. The issue is a lack of understanding about customer service. They have apparently neglected the lock situation enough that this has happened twice now, so they were apparently on notice of the problems. I couldn't understand why a new front desk girl wouldn't be trained in working with the locks, why the appropriate tools couldn't be found, etc. And the fact that this major inconvenience to me warranted nothing more than a shoulder-shrug “it happens” apology just left me with the clear impression that...despite their niceness...the family needs some work on customer service in a big way. I clearly didn't get what I paid for, and they were either unwilling or unable to try to make it right.
The bottom line is that if you are at this Oakland hotel for business purposes, you just can't be assured that something won't go wrong...and, if it does, you won't receive the type of customer service that is routine at the larger hotels. The nearby Marriott may cost twice as much, but there is a reason for that. I learned the hard way that you get what you pay for, sometimes. Thank goodness for Tripadvisor where we can let others know of the issues, and to let management know that they failed in their duty to make things right for the customer. I just can't recommend this hotel under these circumstances.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you very much for taking the time from your busy schedule to express your experience during your stay at The Clarion Hotel Downtown Oakland City Center.
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We value your comments and apologize for failing to meet your expectations.
We appreciate our guests' comments (positive and negative). That is how we would know how to improve our service.
If and when there is a problem , we do compensate our guests for their inconveince, and in this situation, we failed to do so, and for that we deeply apologize.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.