We booked this hotel for a change of pace, we normally stay at the Holiday Inn Biscayne Bay before we cruise out of Miami but looked forward to our stay at the Intercontinental. Prior to arriving I read that a guest had been charged $100 to be able to check in early and when I booked back in the Fall I was told that early check in wasn't a problem and that was important since our flight arrived at 11am. I wanted to double check so I emailed the hotel directly and my email was forwarded from Eduardo to Stephanie R and this was the response "We can put a request on your reservation for early check in without any extra fee at 12pm." Let me start by saying I completely understand that this response was not a guarantee of an early check in.
We arrived via an airport shuttle and the employees out front of the hotel were amazing, they were quick and efficient. We went to the check in desk and were told we were eligible for an upgrade to Club Level, this would be $27 and included a room on the 27th floor or higher/access to the evening cocktail hour and breakfast in the morning both held on Floor 29, it sounded great so we accepted. We were told our room wasn't "quite ready" and they provided us a card to utilize for access to the Club Level offerings, they also included a sheet detailing the places within the hotel that would offer a 15% discount for the "club level upgrade". The woman checking us in said our room would be on the 27th floor but the actual room # wasn't available yet, she asked for a cell # and said they should have something within the hour so we headed to the pool bar for lunch/drinks.
The bartenders at the pool bar were very nice and accommodating and the pizza and salad were delicious as well as the delicious Mojitos. After lunch we checked to see if we had received a call but we hadn't so we decided to have another drink. When we received our bill I asked about the 15% off that we were told about and the bartender said we needed something other than the "Club Level Key Card" they offered us at check in with the sheet telling us where the 15% was honored. After talking to another staff member the bartender kindly gave us the discount. Nearly two hours passed and we figured we would go down and check on the status of our room. We were told "sorry it still isn't ready but will probably be ready within a half hour, so we walked to the Starbucks in the lobby and had an iced coffee and hung out in the front lobby area for another hour,.
Now we were seeing plenty of people coming in with luggage and checking in and receiving room keys and heading on their way, we patiently waited for another 1/2 hour and I decided to go check once more since we were tired and really wanted to change so we could meet our family who were driving down. I waited while two couples checked in, both receiving room keys and heading on their way, one was actually given a room on the 27th floor. The person that helped me was so kind and apologetic, she tried very hard to get us a room. The person that helped me next said she didn't see anything in my reservation about the early check in and asked if I had the email, I said I didn't print it but knew it was from Stephanie, she said they had more than one Stephanie and asked if I knew her last name, I didn't but told her I could locate the email via my phone and pulled it up. Two people looked at it and acknowledged that they knew "Stephanie R", they proceeded to go out back and came out with a lady who introduced herself as the person who responded to my email inquiry, her first words were "I never said early check in was guaranteed and I certainly never promised you the 27th floor". I was taken aback because I never once said she promised me either, but to be told our room would be ready soon on three separate occasions was frustrating. I said you are correct, you didn't say the 27th floor and I never said you did, I said your staff said we would be on the 27th floor but an actual room hasn't be assigned, she didn't say she was sorry for coming at me with that accusation. I brought up the fact that now it's after 3 and you just offered a room on the 27th floor to someone who just walked in to check in. I was then told they were very sorry but so many guests had chosen late check out that day which was affecting the turnaround of the rooms, I patiently although quite frustrated at this point returned to the lobby and decided to sit there until 4pm which is their listed check in time. I went back up to the desk and was surprisingly told the room still wasn't ready, this was ridiculous you tell us we're eligible for an upgrade to Club Level, floor 27 with no specific room # 4 hours ago and for some reason we still can't get an assigned room at the listed check in time but plenty of other guests can.
At this point I was told they could offer me a room but it would not be Club Level but on the 26th floor, but conveniently that the floor that doesn't allow the access we paid $27 for. This whole thing was so frustrating, how is someone eligible for a room on a specific floor but not able to be accommodated? I have to say the two girls who helped me were great, I wish I had their names but during the trip I lost the paper I wrote them down on. The hotel was beautiful and the majority of staff we encountered were great however the process of checking in was a nightmare I would not want to experience again. I think the whole situation was poorly handled, then the last thing they said was "we're not going to charge you for the Club Level and the room we do have for you has a King sized bed and a great view of the bay, well thanks for that since it's what I reserved to begin with. As for the Club Level perk we never would have made it to the cocktail hour since we had no time to get showered and changed and the breakfast certainly wasn't worth the huge perk they made the upgrade to Club Level seem.
Next time we'll reserve the Holiday Inn where we paid less and were treated so much better.