This review is a bit delayed as we stayed here back in OCT. 2008 for our wedding night, since we had our wedding just down the street at Verandas. But I wanted to write a review in case any other couples wanted to stay here for their wedding... or simply use their "free" shuttle.
I had booked our stay here almost 8 months prior to lock in a group rate with the "Group" room director at the time. During the course of discussing the details of the deal with this director, she somehow was let go, and a new person took over about 1 month prior to our stay here. Some of the details of our stay there were repeated again to this new director to make sure she understand what we wanted for our wedding night....
1) We booked this hotel in particular because we had seen a flier which was given to our wedding coordinator at Verandas about Ayres for group rates + FREE Shuttle service.
2) Be able to check in early so that we can get ready before the wedding.
3) Main wedding party's rooms were to be on the same floor. We wanted to run a tight ship.
So we get to the hotel around noon. We had toured the place before booking it (Around Feb. 2009), and knew it was a wonderful hotel to stay at. The staff at this time answered all our questions, and allowed us to see a room to make sure it was what we wanted. Even though this hotel wasn't the closest to our wedding venue, we chose it based on the charm of the hotel. So I had a contract signed, locking the rate of the rooms, the details in emails which I've been writing back and forth with the previous director of groups, and the new director, etc etc.
Fast forward to the day of the wedding... and this is where things go wrong.
1) We arrived around noon, and the front lobby staff had no clue about early check in. Our wedding party (only 4 couples) were ready to check in, but they had no clue about it, and even messed up on the check-in date. Originally we had asked for 2 night stay... the night before and the wedding day. But things came up and I had to change it to only the wedding day. On the contract which I signed, it clearly stated for 1 night only for all rooms... I made it clear to the new director about this change, but guess nothing was done. Eventually they allowed us (the wedding couple) to check in early, but the others would have to wait until later... so we went to our room and got changed. (Another couple later told me that they got a room about 15 minutes after we left upstairs)
2) This part of the review is the clincher that almost ruined the wedding day. Wedding was getting late, and guests have been partying all night. My wife and I had driven ourselves to the venue so that we could store the gifts in the car, and transport them back. I asked our coordinator to contact Ayres about the shuttle to pick up the guests... and around 10:30pm a staff of Ayres arrived and was ready to take some people back. All of a sudden the driver told the guests that they would need to pay $20 for the ride back. This message was relayed to me, and I was surprised about this. I spoke to the driver about the "FREE" shuttle arranged... and he had no clue what I was talking about. To get things moving, one of my groomsmen talked to the driver some more and it seemed things were back in order, and guests were going back to the hotel. I even confirmed to our wedding cordinator that the flier said FREE shuttle.. and he said yes, that's part of the reason they were referring people over to Ayres (which once again, was a further hotel to stay out... but if guests are drinking, and they are offering free shuttle... it makes sense right?)
My wife and I drove back to the hotel, and this is where it gets worst. Driver comes up to me in the hotel lobby and demanded that someone pays HIM the $20. His exact words were.. "Hey man, who's going to pay ME for the ride?" I asked him what did he mean, it was suppose to be a free shuttle because we had already arranged for the entire deal. A small argument ensued... this in the hotel lobby, and the other staff there just looked dumbfounded. I asked to speak to the Group rate director immediately to get this sorted, but the driver told me she was away on vacation. I asked to speak to another manager, and he said it's late, they can't get in contact with them. Ok, fine, $20... I didn't want to prolong the night, I'll deal with this later. So I gave the driver behind the counter the $20... and he puts it in his pocket as he turns away from me, as I was slowly walking away myself. I thought that's strange... a staff of a hotel, not only spoke aggressively in the hotel lobby to a guests of theirs, then takes money from the guest and puts it in his own pocket. I've never been to any hotel where the employee was allowed to do this.
We have nothing negative to say about the hotel... it's wonderful. But this driver, the group director, and the hotel lobby staff that night (not the staff from the first time we checked this place out), were absolutely incompetent. They sent us a survey 2-3 days after we returned from our honeymoon, which I filled out, and in the survey included a section to comment about the staff... it seems like a form they send out to "wedding" stays since it mentioned it on the forms. I wrote back a letter similar to this one... about how lovely their hotel was, that the staff started off great, then it got worst..etc... a hand written letter. Perhaps they would understand the severity of this if I handwrite the letter. Months go by, and it's almost 1 year now for our anniversary.... still no response. Not sure if management got our handwritten letter, or perhaps they just didn't care, but nothing after that notice
To rub salt on the wound, several of our guests told us that they drove to the hotel themselves, or had to carpool with other couples back to the hotel since the driver had asked them for a monetary fee to drive them back.
Out of all the things that could have gone wrong, this was the ONLY thing for our wedding day that has left a negative memory for us. Good job Ayres for hiring people with poor communications skills, and drivers who are shady in their actions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The charm and elegance of a European-inspired boutique hotel await you at Ayres Hotel Manhattan Beach/LAX. Whether you’re here for a short business visit or a long, relaxing retreat, you’ll find all of the luxurious guest rooms at Ayres Hotel Manhattan Beach/LAX are impeccably appointed with a full suite of complimentary amenities including our signature, triple sheeted Ayres Dream Sleeper beds, flat screen TVs, refrigerators, coffeemakers,microwaves, well lit work desks and Wifi, iHomes, microwaves, and hairdryers. Ayres Hotel Manhattan Beach welcomes travelers to all of the exciting business, recreational, and entertainment attractions Manhattan Beach, CA has to offer. Dine at the acclaimed Matisse Restaurant, located in the hotel, which offers American cuisine infused with rich European flavors while taking in the luxurious ambiance of the hotel, including an incredible split staircase. Go out and experience the beach life while riding the South Bay Bicycle Trail starting nearby at Manhattan Beach, trailing all along the coast to beach cities like Venice Beach and Santa Monica. And you'll be glad to know that Los Angeles International Airport is just a short drive away. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ayres Hotel Hawthorne Manhattan Beach