During October 7-10, 2011, we stayed at The Grand Hotel. In the past, we always booked an efficiency (Room Type “E” – pool view). However, due to the very old and hard mattresses in the efficiencies, trying to sleep on these beds is very uncomfortable and causes back pain. Sometimes I bring a foam pad, but that doesn't put a dent in the hardness of these mattresses.
In the 20 years we've booked The Grand Hotel for our Cape May, NJ, visits, I don't think the mattresses in the efficiencies have ever been replaced. These mattresses are like sleeping on a slab of metal. You’d do better by sleeping on the floor. The Grand Hotel also runs the risk of bed bugs and dust mites with these old mattresses. It is beyond me why the hotel management has not replaced these unbearable mattresses. The reason we stay at The Grand is that it’s the only hotel in Cape May South with an indoor pool and Jacuzzi.
Due to the old and uncomfortable mattresses in the efficiencies, we booked our October stay in the Room Type “G” Suite, on the fourth floor in the main part of the hotel. The Grand Hotel website boasts new Serta mattresses and Tempur-pedic sofa beds in these suites. (By the way, the Serta mattresses were hard and lumpy). I had concerns about noise and loud music from the DJ at Hemmingway’s Lounge and also functions in the Ballrooms such as wedding receptions. The Front Desk Clerk assured me that we would not hear any noise or music in the Room Type “G” Suite. I unfortunately made the big mistake of believing the Desk Clerk.
Friday night during our stay we were subjected to loud music coming the Ballroom and could not sleep until the event was over. Sunday night was the kicker. We first heard what sounded like a herd of elephants running in the Ballroom directly above us on the fifth floor. The noise was beyond belief. Then, the music from the wedding reception directly above us began. The loud music and especially the bass reverberated off the walls and ceiling of our suite. Sleep was not an option. Instead, I ended up with a migraine headache.
We felt violated and helpless. I called the Front Desk and told the Clerk (Jill) we had been assured that we would not hear any loud music in "Room G" Suite when booking our room. There was nothing the Desk Clerk could do except to tell me when the wedding reception would be over and that she would leave a note for the Front Desk Manager “Debbie” who would arrive for work at 7:00am the next morning (Monday, our check-out day).
Rather than be subjected to the torment of the loud music on both Friday and Sunday nights, we would have just gone out for a while. Problem is, both afternoons we got the last parking space available at The Grand. If we had gone out to escape the music, we would have had to park at the meters on the street (if any were available), which for us was not an option for us. So, instead we were basically at the mercy of the hotel and held captive by the noise and loud music of the Ballroom functions.
When we checked into our suite Friday afternoon we found that the TV was not working. We had brought a portable DVD player and some DVD's and were looking forward to relaxing, watching some TV and movies. I called the Front Desk and was told the maintenance man would be up to our room “shortly.” I waited ½-hour and called the Front Desk again and was told the same thing. Well over 2 hours later, still no maintenance man or TV. I again called and voiced my dissatisfaction that we were getting bad information from the Front Desk so far as the when the maintenance man would arrive. Nearly 3 hours after my first call to the Front Desk, low and behold the maintenance man arrived.
Saturday night at 11:00pm, a group of children were playing on the third floor outdoor patio where weddings take place. One of the children figured out how to open the gate and access the area where the air conditioner units are located on the extended third floor roof just off guest balconies. So, we then had to listen to children playing and screaming at the top of their lungs after 11:00pm. I was not only distressed by the noise level of these children, but concerned about the lack of security at the hotel allowing this behavior so late at night disturbing hotel guests.
In addition I was also concerned about the safety of the children playing. The third floor extended roof area with the industrial-size air conditioning units is a very unsafe place for children to play. In the dark, they could easily trip on an air conditioning hose, wires or even the satellite dish and become injured. The children could also have busted their heads on the sharp edges of these air conditioning units. I called the Front Desk and advised the Clerk of the children playing.
Another problem with the Room “G" Suite was a "buzzing" noise coming from the WWII Lookout Tower in which The Grand Hotel was build around. This tower encompassed one-half of our living room suite. Not sure if the buzzing noise was coming from a sump pump placed inside the tower. The non-stop "buzzing" noise was nerve racking to say the least, thus affecting sleep and quality time in our suite.
There were other problems with our suite such as the comforter cover and blankets on the beds reeked from a combination of feces (parents changing baby diapers?) and cigarette smoke (burn holes visible). The pillows were stained and smelled of perspiration. There is always a moldy, musky smell in rooms at The Grand and our suite was no exception. Condensation (water puddles), mold/moss growing around the outside air conditioning units and soggy Astroturf on the extended roof just below our balcony also contributed to stench in our suite. The suite was also very dusty.
The sparse furniture was old and rundown (except the two couches), and most lamp shades were damaged. The towels and bed linens are thin, worn and damaged. Stains were visible on the walls and with torn wallpaper. The ceiling tiles appear to have sustained water damage. The living room (built around WWII tower) was very cramped, especially the bed area. Lighting is poor throughout the suite. Hot water was a rare commodity. If you were able to get hot water while taking a shower, the water temperature would constantly turn from scalding hot to freezing cold. Your shower time doubles as a result of dodging the hot/cold water.
One more issue causing us an inconvenience is that we had planned to utilize the Jacuzzi Saturday afternoon. I have arthritis in my knees and hip and also had a knee operation earlier this year. Water therapy is recommended by my Orthopedist. We went down to the pool only to find no water in the Jacuzzi. The pool water was freezing, so I opted not to go swimming. I contacted the Front Desk and was told the Jacuzzi would be ready "after lunch." So, we waited and waited. We went back to the pool a couple hours later and still, the Jacuzzi was not ready. We waited even longer and still, no water in the Jacuzzi. We wasted half an afternoon and due to other planned activities during our trip I never had the opportunity to utilize the Jacuzzi for therapy. The Front Desk Clerk had given us bad information regarding status of the Jacuzzi repairs.
When we checked out of the hotel Monday morning, Debbie the Front Desk Manager was working. I asked her if she had received the message I left with the Front Desk Clerk (Jill) about the loud and annoying music. Debbie apparently had not read her messages. I tried to explain to Debbie that we were greatly inconvenienced by the loud music and that I had been told when booking our Suite “G” that we would not hear any noise or music from the DJ at the hotel lounge or Ballroom receptions. Debbie gave me a dirty look and tersely said, “What, did you think we would not have any wedding receptions from when you first booked this room back in January until after your [October] stay at the hotel?”
That comment by the Front Desk Manager was rude, condescending and totally unwarranted. As Front Desk Manager for The Grand Hotel, Debbie has no doubt become numb and insensitive to guest complaints. She was the only person working the Front Desk and a line of guests waiting to check-out was forming. Debbie just wanted to get me out of her hair so she asked for my phone number. One would think she would have asked one of the other Desk Clerks to work the Front Desk while she resolved my complaint, but no she just wanted to get rid of me with no resolution regarding our issues at the hotel. So, I gave her my cell phone number and checked out of the hotel. I told Debbie I expected her to keep her word about calling me later that afternoon. She then gave me her business card. Any compensation for the inconveniences we experienced should have been resolved at that time rather than later instead of my getting the “Bum’s Rush.”
When we got home, Debbie had left a voice mail on our phone and said she would contact me today (Wednesday). I won’t hold my breath that Debbie will call or compensate us in any manner for the financial loss we sustained of hotel charges for a 4-day stay in which we could not enjoy at The Grand Hotel, or derive any quality time in our room or pool facilities thus ruining our mini-vacation. My husband and I are both working professionals and our mini-vacations far and few between and are very important to us.
Either the Front Desk Clerks are ill-trained, uninformed or trained to lie to the guests. I think the latter applies given all the bogus information we received from various Front Desk Clerks before and during our October stay. It would behoove the Front Desk Manager to ensure the Desk Clerks apprise guests properly, or ask a hotel manager for the correct information to disseminate to the guests. This would be a win-win for the hotel and the guests. Apparently, the satisfaction of guests by the owners and management of The Grand Hotel is at the low end of the Totem Pole.
Over many years, we have basically enjoyed our stays at The Grand Hotel in Cape May, New Jersey. The hotel is far from perfect (that’s another story – read other Trip Advisor reviews), but it served our purposes. This is the first time in 20 years I've ever complained to the management of The Grand about our accommodations and problems associated with the hotel. You would think guest satisfaction and retention rate would be important for the bottom-line of The Grand Hotel. Instead, we are treated like chattel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Oceanfront Grand Hotel of Victorian Cape May is one of the largest Resort and Convention Centers along the Jersey Cape. The Grand Hotel can accommodate everyone, from Business Groups to Wedding Receptions and Vacationing Families to Family Reunions. The Grand Hotel of Cape May is dedicated to recreating the grandeur of a by-gone era while providing all of the modern comforts and conveniences for a most enjoyable stay. The perfect place to dance, dine, relax, swim and sun in Victorian Cape May. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Cape May
- Grand Hotel Of Cape May