My husband and I were part of a large group of individuals who traveled from out-of-state to attend a wedding in St. Louis. The bridal party had reserved a block of rooms for attendees, and many of us upgraded to stay on the Club Floor. The exterior of the building is lovely, but I was surprised and a little disappointed by the tired and outdated decor. The bones of the building are great - large rooms, large bathrooms, nice TV's, but everything else is from the 90's. Sheraton should make an investment in bringing that space up-to-date. Our initial impressions of staff (front desk, Club Lounge, lobby bar, housekeeping, valet) were all positive, very helpful and friendly. My husband and I arrived on Friday afternoon and decided to have dinner at a nearby restaurant that evening. We had the valet park our car, and the front desk suggested we take the HOTEL SHUTTLE to the restaurant. We gladly accepted, and a gentleman drove us a few blocks to the restaurant. After dinner we found a taxi stand close by for our return trip. The wedding was on Saturday afternoon, in a church on the outskirts of the Soulard. As it was Mardi Gras and some streets in the adjoining neighborhood would be closed for a parade, the front desk suggested that we take taxis to the church, versus driving. Sounded like a good idea, especially since none of us had been to St. Louis before, and didn't know our way around. We climbed into taxis and found that the driver didn't know his way around very well either, even though street barriers were being removed. It seemed as if drivers from outside the area were working that weekend, due to the influx of Mardi Gras attendees. We asked the driver how we could get back to the Sheraton after the service and he told us that there would be taxis waiting outside the church. We also had a business card for a taxi service, so thought we were covered. As we left the church, there were no taxis outside. There were 10 of us that weighed our options; one person called a taxi company and was told that because of Mardi Gras they would not come to the church, and said we should walk closer to the Soulard to find taxis waiting for fares. ?!?! Well, 10 of us walked at least a mile, in wedding attire, in the brisk wind and 45* temps, across a freeway overpass, calling taxi companies and the Sheraton along the way. We finally stopped at a Shell Station to take shelter and figure out what to do. One of the men in our group had called the Sheraton to ask if they could send the hotel shuttle to pick us up and was told "WE DON'T HAVE A HOTEL SHUTTLE". ?!?! There was no interest or attempt on the part of the Sheraton "Guest Services" operator (Dorothy) to help him. I called the hotel again from the Shell station and entered into a lengthy conversation with Dorothy, explaining our predicament and asking for assistance. I was also told that there was no hotel shuttle. I asked her "So what did my husband and I ride in to dinner last night, an imaginary shuttle?". Dorothy responded "I wasn't working last night." What a helpful reply! As I pressed Dorothy for assistance, I got no where. I and 2 previous callers from our group all asked if she would go out to the taxi stand and tell them that we would pay round-trip fare if they would come and get us. She told me "Oh no ma'am, they are all too busy today. It will take you 2 hours to get a taxi". Again - a really helpful reply, and NO suggestion for an alternate plan either! I was not giving up, even though I could tell that Dorothy just wanted me to go away (some impression the other callers had too), so she agreed to try and call a taxi company for me. Dorothy expected me to hang up, but I insisted that she put me on hold while she called. After some time on hold, she told me that all the taxi lines were busy and wanted to give me some phone numbers so I could call on my own. Again - the helpful response, accompanied by a brush off. At this point I asked for her name; she responded and added "I'm trying as hard as I can". Uhm... no. I am confidant that I know the difference between someone who is genuinely trying to help me, and someone who is blowing me off. How the 10 people in our group got back to the Sheraton was a scene straight out of the movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", and we arrived cold, windblown, and very unhappy! I cannot believe the absolute lack of concern on the part of the "Guest Services" operator about 10 guests STRANDED AND DESPERATE, about 4 miles from the hotel. Everyone who called the Sheraton for support received polite, scripted and totally noncommital comments that conveyed a "not my problem" attitude. Later, as we were leaving the Sheraton hotel for the offsite wedding reception (in our own cars, needless to say) I
shared our story with an off-duty police officer in the lobby. He said that the hotel does have a shuttle, but they charter it out, which is why it was available to take my husband and I to dinner on Friday evening, but not available (or not in existence, according to Dorothy) on Saturday afternoon. Wow - and thanks a lot, Sheraton, you could at least be honest. 14 of us met for breakfast on Sunday morning, as we prepared to leave. While we enjoyed the wedding, and some aspects of our stay at the Sheraton, we agreed that we will never forget the fiasco and feeling of abandonment we experienced when seeking help from the Sheraton. We are all seasoned travelers with means, so we weren't looking for a freebie, we were willing to pay double - or whatever it would have taken - to get a ride back to the hotel. So, our trip was marred by this very unfortunate incident. Would we stay at the Sheraton again? Well, maybe under certain circumstances, but only with the understanding that we could not depend on them to take care of us. Would we book a block of rooms for wedding guests? Absolutely not. As we checked out, my husband brought up our unhappiness to desk staff, and they comped us the cost of valet parking our car for two days - $46. This was one of those situations that should never have happened, that affected a large group of people, who will share this story with friends and strangers..like a big boulder thrown into a little pond - the ripples go on and on.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- St. Louis City Center Hotel is a beautifully appointed hotel in the heart of downtown. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sheraton City Center St. Louis Hotel Saint Louis
- Sheraton Hotel Saint Louis
- Sheraton Saint Louis
- Saint Louis Sheraton