Given that this hotel seems to be run as efficiently as a Soviet organization, it is amusing that it is on a street named for a Romanov.
I made a reservation on 12/6/12 in anticipation of attending a conference the weekend of 3/15/13. Deciding that attending the conference was impractical, I cancelled the reservation on 1/8/13. I recall requesting, but not receiving, an email confirmation of the cancellation.
On logging onto my computer at 6:30 a.m. EDT on 3/12/13, I found an email that was stamped 3/12/13 1:25 a.m. that was titled "We Look Forward to Your Arrival."
This email, which was sent in the middle of the night on 1/12/13, also stated that I would need to cancel by 1/11/13 if I wanted to avoid being charged for one night.
I immediately called the reservations line, which the Biltmore asserted was staffed 24/7, but no one answered. I then called the main number and Shirelle (?) told me that they send out those letters regardless of whether a reservation has been cancelled.
I also learned later that the overnight switchboard operator was the only one working reservations overnight. Apparently, they do not ever pick up calls regarding existing reservations during that period.
There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to send the letters if a reservation is cancelled; they also CLEARLY verify that the reservation is still active and that the hotel will bill for the first night DESPITE THE CANCELLATION.
The call got disconnected when I asked for the manager on duty. I finally got through to Victor, who I later learned was merely the security officer on duty and was not even a security manager.
Victor told me both that he could not access the reservations system and that no one was in the reservations office until 9:00 a.m. but that he would ensure that I was not charged for the room.
Victor also agreed to send me an email verifying our conversation. I called back on not receiving one and learned that he had left for the day.
Several subsequent efforts to reach a "real" manager failed.
It turned out that Victor's fellow security officer Albert was appointed manager of the day at 7:00 a.m. All that Albert could do was take a message for a manager who would arrive at an unspecified time and get back to me at some point.
Subsequent efforts to reach a manager failed. The front desk staff told me that the manager was not in (and did not seem to know when he was due.
I have worked, and stayed, at several comparable level hotels. (Even a Marriott handled a recent cancellation far better and got me a manager easily regarding an unrelated matter.) There is no excuse for this experience.
I hate to think about what it would have taken to get a minor matter resolved if I had stayed at the hotel.