The title of this review succinctly reflects the services at this hotel. In fact don't come at all if you know whats good for you. Read on if you want to know why (its the long version).
As a member of the travel industry, I have experienced highs and lows throughout my dozen or so years in the trade; from agencies, airlines and, most certainly hotels, surprises and frustrations (when bad) go hand in hand with the astonishing and sublime (when good). For me at least it is a case of been there-done that as a vendor and as a user; until today.
The Shelborne Hotel somehow managed to conjure up the worst feelings of helplessness and utter disgust in me in a vendor (hotel) like none other until today.
Like many travelers, the front desk experience is typically the alpha and the omega of your hotel experience, whatever else happens thereafter is a pale consolation for that all important -Moment of Truth.
I arrived at 6am on this day (staying one hour more at the airport there is F&B available and people to watch, in spite if the 5am arrival into Miami from San Francisco. I fully expected the hotel to not be able to find me a room until after the usual check out times (normally 12pm).
The message from Front Desk was that my room would only be ready at 4pm. An unusually long time by any stretch of the imagination- I stoically accepted the circumstances, handed over my passport and credit card for imprinting, and then waited for breakfast to be served at the hotel at 7am.
After breakfast, I arranged for a far off shopping trip, but even after taking what I thought would be the slowest way back (by the public bus), I was still ahead of the 4pm "advertised schedule". At 2pm, I went up to a fresh team of Front Desk staff to ask if there was "any room" available for me, and once again, I was told that one would ONLY be ready at 4pm.
Once again, I went to the restaurant where I met a couple of colleagues from different regions, and we caught up over a round of drinks. Between 2.30pm and 3pm, one of the colleagues "lost" his iphone when he was in the pool side change room, (he too had not checked in). We found out later that he managed to get a room shortly after this incident. I caught up with another friend, and we approached the Front Desk at 3.30pm, and the answer was still - No.
At this point, I had given up on getting any room before 4pm; As we spoke at the closed bar, another friend came over and told us that he had "lost" his bag while getting out of the cab at the hotel. Twice unlucky for "us".
At 4pm, a few of us (numbering 4 now), went to see if our rooms were ready. All got ther rooms except me. For whatever reason, I was the last to be served), but that was okay. (The staff did not seem to know how to prioritize their guest)
They then told me that "MY" room, was still not ready, but the Front Desk called a supervisor over to assist them, (this person did not acknowledge or speak to me, nor did he explain anything to me.) I asked if my room was special, to which one of them said - it is VERY special, but did not elaborate- SACARISSIMO perhaps?
They then informed me that I had to give them my passport and credit card again, to which I firmly refused. I asked for the Manager to come and ask it from me personally, and explain why the copies from 6am were not properly kept and handed over to the next shift. No one from the Management came over to explain anything, and to my knowledge, no room was ready for me.
It was at this point that I finally raised my voice and slap the counter top with my palm twice. I firmly asked the hapless staff for an immediate solution, (note: I never once threatening anyone).
What could I do, leave???
It was at this time that I noticed noticed from the corner of my eye, that a short and dark suited individual was standing ever closer to me drawn by the commotion that I had become embroiled in. The short young man was being to get into my personal space, so I turned around to my right and asked him directly, if he was a member of the staff, and if so, to back off immediately. The man did not volunteer an answer, but one of the Front Desk staff replied that he was indeed a staff (probably Security), and asked him to give me a little space.
This man never really backed off, but in all honesty, although I did not see him as a threat, he would have been a problem for others. Why? Because he did not identify himself as a member of the hotel staff, and worse- HE HAD NO NAME BADGE OR TITLE, which would have given a genuine trouble maker (which I was not), pause for concern or thought. What is the point of security if you cannot act as a deterrent??? (note: he security staff who assisted in the matter of the "lost" phone at the pool, all had identifiable tags indicating their role in the hotel, whether they were in poolside uniform, or as the Manager was, in a suit.)
I finally received got my room key after grudgingly providing my passport and credit card over a second time, but this time my credit card was rejected- murphy's law, or from my overspending? I handed over 3 more cards, but decided that this show had gone on long enough, I handed over some cash, and it was appropriately acknowledged with a receipt.
The parting comment from Front Desk was, " I hope you have a nice stay", I was close to turning back and asking if it was a JOKE, or were they being SARCASTIC. In the end, I thought twice, because the midget in the suit may finally have the justification to attack me, I chose instead to share this experience with those of you who would be misled by air-brushed photos and a slick marketing pitch from this hotel.
Beware: 1. They don't seem to have a guideline for effective customer handling
2. You are just a number to them, there is no flexibility in their approach
3. It never even entered their head that over the next few days over 50 delegates from the travel Industry will be their guests (we are all registered under the same group)
4. NO Management support will be forthcoming, to aid their staff
5. It goes without saying from no.4, that the front line staff are empowered to do the necessary to help the client and to defuse the situation
6. Difficult to locate the right F&B staff at poolside to order drinks (she was bent over the counter talking on the phone, I actually mistook her for a guest)
Miami is a great convention and vacation city, a real melting pot with wonderful Spanish, French and even English accents everywhere (Culture, Language, Pace). You decide if this is how you want your Miami experience to be remembered.
- Also Known As:
- Shelborne South Beach Hotel
- Shelborne South Beach Hotel Miami Beach
- Shelborne Beach Hotel
- Shelborne Beach Miami
- Hotel Miami Shelbourne
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Boasting a multi million renovation to be complete at the end of 2011, the Shelborne makes a re-entry to the Miami Beach scene in a classic rebirth of perfect Art Deco style. Modern accommodations and amenities meld seamlessly with tropical retro ambiance while an amazing beachfront location calls you to relax among gentle ocean breezes. Offering an unbeatable location in the heart of the South Beach, the Shelborne is one of the largest meeting and event spaces with over 8,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor flexible space. With three amazing dining outlets on site, there is something to meet everyone's likings. Greet the day with a warm espresso at Vesper American Brasserie outdoor cafe. Lunch and Dinner served daily both in the outdoor cafe and the indoor brasserie. Lucy's Cantina Royale serving up the best in tacos and homemade guacamole with chips made daily. Bar Tanaka is the newest sushi spot to hit South Beach, located in the lobby of the Hotel. Chef Zama Tanaka brings his skills from Philadelphia to serve some of the best sushi dishes Miami has to offer.Let Shelborne play host to any milestone event. Choose from four renovated spaces to accommodate intimate occasions or lavish affairs. Our referrals for preferred event planning specialists and our own onsite catering personnel and wait staff are here to assist with any and all event needs leading up to the big day. From weddings to Bar Mitzvahs, holiday parties to work conferences, Shelborne’s goal is to provide guests with our signature brand of all-inclusive hospitality. Utilizing the top resources on Miami Beach, we’re here to cater to your special celebration. Kick back and enjoy the festivities – and leave the heavy lifting to us. Vesper is the ideal setting to host an engagement party or rehearsal dinner. With three beautiful backdrops to set the tone for your big day, state of the art AV technology, and delicious fare, Vesper American Brasserie will leave both you and your guests extremely satisfied. Lucy's Cantina Royale is the perfect back drop to walk down the aisle as the sun is setting or an oasis to host your guests at a beachfront taqueria. ... more less
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