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.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Graced with effortless beauty and sophistication, The Biltmore Hotel is a national historic landmark located in the exclusive Coral Gables area with close proximity to Miami Beach and downtown Miami. The 273-room resort resembles classic Italian, Moorish, and Spanish architectural influences spread over 150-acres of tropical landscape. A favorite of world leaders and celebrities since its opening in 1926, the hotel offers a restored Donald Ross 18-hole, 71 par championship golf course, tennis courts, the largest hotel pool on the East Coast of the United States with private cabanas, a European spa, and an award-winning fitness center. The hotel's dining destinations include the award winning Palme d'Or, recognized by Zagat as one of the best restaurants in the country; Fontana, a traditional Italian restaurant surrounding The Biltmore courtyard and fountain; the poolside Cascade and the 19th Hole Golf restaurant. The hotel also recently unveiled its culinary academy offering an array of hands-on cooking classes for adults and children. The Biltmore is one of South Florida's preferred sites for leisure and business travel, high-level corporate briefings, public policy conferences, and an extraordinary wedding destination. The Biltmore is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables
- Biltmore Coral Gables