Although this is a lengthy review, it would be wise to read it fully and carefully. I have delayed writing this hoping that the Clarion personnel would meet the following statements:
“Commitment to Your Satisfaction: If you’re not satisfied with our accommodations or service, please let the front desk know without delay so we can make it right. SATISFACTION COULDN’T BE SIMPLER AT CLARION HOTELS.” - A Clarion statement found in our hotel room.
From the Clarion of Gatlinburg’s website: “Service is our number one priority, you will find we are well equipped and eager to please when handling your precious time away from home.” (http://clariongatlinburg.info/index.html)
When my wife and I vacation, the room is important to us. We both keep busy schedules and vacation is our time to rest, relax, and unwind. Therefore the room is not just a place to sleep during the night, but a place to enjoy when rest is desired. Upon checking into the Clarion Inn and Suites of Gatlinburg, we found the room to be nice; a little worn from time, but well suited to our purposes.
The day after checking in we left the hotel at 8:30 a.m. and returned at 1:45 p.m. with the intent of reading and knapping. However, our room had not been made. Understanding that it was still early afternoon, I called the front desk to see if housekeeping had missed us and when we could expect to have our room cleaned. The front desk attendant said that they would notify housekeeping. An hour later, we had heard nothing, so we left asking the front desk to see that our room was made when we returned in an hour. Upon our return, the room had been made, but very poorly. The bed looked as though someone had laid on it after making it, the ironing board was still up, and the folded towels were lying on the sink instead of hanging.
The next day, we left the hotel at 8:00 a.m. and returned at 3:00 p.m. with the intent of resting before dinner. The room was unmade. I notified the front desk and was told that they were short staffed (“you will find us well equipped…”). The room was not made until sometime after 5:00 p.m.
When we checked out the next day, I asked to be reimbursed one night’s lodging ($130.00) for our inability to use the room for the intended purposes thus having two days of our vacation interrupted. The management would only refund $29.30. I found this to be insulting. Our “precious time away from home” is only worth $29.30! (Reread the commitment to satisfaction statements again)
(I contacted my credit card company and asked to dispute $130.00 of the $465.84 bill. In the final analysis the credit card company, to my disappointment, interpreted this situation as a customer service issue and paid the full bill.)
After returning home I discussed the matter via phone with the reservations manager who stated, “Our incoming guest receive first priority” (i.e. non registered guests take precedence over registered guests), and “we cannot guarantee when a room will be cleaned). However in a follow-up letter the reservations manager stated, “If you had requested your room to be serviced at a specific time daily then it would have been our pleasure to do so.” These are contradictory statements: the first statement says "cannot" while the second statement says "can". As for the second day, you would think that a hotel with the professionalism of a Clarion would have acted proactively by taking a cue from the previous day and cleaned the room earlier.
In the follow-up letter, the reservations manager also stated “If you were unhappy with our hotel procedures then you could have checked out any day by 2:00 p.m. with no penalty; however, you chose to stay with the hotel for 3 nights.” Notice the inconsistency? The grievances committed by the hotel took place after the so called 2:00 p.m. deadline on both days. I say “so called” because when I made the reservation some 3 weeks prior to our stay, I was told that the hotel required a 48 hour cancellation notice: another contradiction. Additionally, if we could have checked out, the front desk did not share this information with us at the time.
In the reservations manager’s response to the credit card company during the $130.00 dispute she stated that such disputes were becoming all too easy for the card holder. This seems to imply that the manager is questioning my motive. Not only is this insulting, but borderline slanderous as well.
It should also be noted that while this hotel is not a member of the Knoxville Bureau of Better Business, however the BBB does rate this hotel a “D” (“F” of course is failing.
The Clarion Inn and Suites of Gatlinburg is independently owned, but is also affiliated with Choice Hotels. Contacting the Choice Hotels complaint department is useless. On the initial contact they are very sympathetic to the complaint. After a complaint is made they then contact the hotel. The hotel only has to say that the situation is resolved and that’s it. There is no further recourse.
If you are looking for a hotel that is sensitive to the needs of the guests: THINK TWICE about this hotel. If you are looking for a room to enjoy, not just a place to sleep, THINK TWICE about this hotel. If you are looking for a hotel that will live up to its word, THINK TWICE about this hotel. Should the hotel decide to do the honorable thing and act with integrity by refunding the $130.00, I will be sure to let everyone know.
My wife and I travel considerably and we will never stay at another Clarion anywhere.
“SATISFACTION COULDN’T BE SIMPLER AT CLARION HOTELS.” Really?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Black Bear Inn & Suites Gatlinburg has a sleek, stylized look! From the lobby to rooftop Penthouse Suites and every room in between. Start your morning off right with a delicious full, hot complimentary breakfast including omelets cooked to order and Belgium waffles. The Black Bear Inn & Suites's location is ideal for everyone! Interested in a scenic drive or hike? The hotel is located only 100 yards from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited park in the Nation! Want to walk or take a Trolley around downtown Gatlinburg and experience the town's many popular attractions and wide array of restaurants? Not a problem! Black Bear Inn & Suites is located right on the Parkway! Thinking about driving to Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood, Dolly's Splash Country, Titanic Museum Attraction, shopping at Tanger Outlets or seeing Pigeon Forge's many theaters and dinner shows? Black Bear Inn & Suites is only a short drive away from Pigeon Forge. Black Bear Inn & Suites Gatlinburg is "Definitely a Cut Above!". We hope to see you in the Smoky Mountains soon! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Clarion Inn And Suites
- Clarion Gatlinburg
- Gatlinburg Clarion