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Hotel Review - Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites - Not A Magical Place
So the family decided it was time for a nice little vacation. Why not take the kids to Disneyland? We go to Disneyland almost every year and have our plan in place. We do not stay at any of the Disneyland resort hotels because they are way too expensive. We always stay at one of the hotels across the street from the main gate. They are much cheaper and up until this year always done the job. Generally, the rooms are clean, the staff is friendly and a good time is had by all. Many times we have stayed at the Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites. It is right across the street from Disneyland's main gate, has an indoor pool and generally runs around $100 a night for a pretty nice room. Generally, this place is fine. That is generally, and not this year.
Their Solution: Double Park
We have stayed at the Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites a number of times and understand that parking is always a concern with this hotel. They only allow one car per "room" even if the room is a two room suite. Despite this, having a place to park is generally not a problem.
Upon our check in at six o’clock there were no parking spaces available. We were told by the hotel staff at the front desk that some of the people who had checked out that day had left for Disneyland without removing their cars and there was nothing they could do about it. (Never mind the signs saying that cars parked that are not staying at the hotel will be towed)We were directed by the staff to double park our car until spots opened up. This is their solution, double park.
The "Friendly" Staff
Later that evening, we went shopping and returned around nine o’clock. By this time there were at least seven cars double parked along the front covered parking row and several cars parked in the fire lane in front of the front lobby. A security guard pointed out a spot located along the ramp to the lower garage but after trying to park my car in the open space he and I came to the realization that it was not feasible to park there. The ramp was very narrow and my car kept brushing up against the concrete wall on the side every time I tried to get into the spot.
I again was directed to double park my car. The security guard stated that he would contact us when a spot opened up and I told him that he could not call too late as my kids were going to bed soon. Despite my request, the front desk called our room right before midnight telling me I had to move my car. The phone was very loud and woke up my children. When I came downstairs, I was told to move my car, not to parking spot, but to a space in the fire lane right next to the sidewalk. Because it was late, I did not protest and moved my car accordingly.
The next morning at 745 my family and I were on the way to the Disneyland. As we walked through the parking lot we looked to see if any spots were available. All spots were still full. When we reached the sidewalk I noticed a piece of paper taped to my driver’s side window. The letter asked that we move our car before we head out for the day. My wife decided that she would tell the front desk that this was impossible since there were no spots available. She went into the lobby where “Sean” was at the front desk. She asked him where were we supposed to move our car since there were no spots. Sean responded that he had seen three cars pull out of the parking lot and so a spot should be open. His demeanor was rude and condescending. My wife said that we just walked through the parking lot and there were no spots available. Sean responded “well, if you get a ticket it will be your responsibility.” He was very rude and someone yelling this at my wife. At this point I stepped in as my wife in no way deserves to be treated this way.
I immediately said to Sean that if we get a ticket it will be your responsibility and your hotel should have enough spots for parking. Sean then yelled “I will go find a spot, come with me.” Sean then wandered into the lower garage where he sarcastically pointed out the spot along the ramp (he mockingly showed surprise at the open space). I informed him that I had tried to park in that space the night before but because of the angle with the wall it was not possible. Sean dismissed this stating that he “could park his truck there” with no problem. Again, he was rude and condescending. I told him to park his truck there but my car does not fit in the space. He said employees were not allowed to park at the hotel because there were only 120 spots for 146 rooms. He then continued yelling at us about how the car will fit. My wife, who was very upset at this point, pointed out that the security guard watched us try to park there the night before. Sean said something to the effect that nobody there would say that and that we were lying. At this point I told Sean that he was rude and knew nothing about customer service.
While all of this was going on people were walking by and a group of girls had begun packing a jeep with beach towels. Sean then went up to the upper parking level right after the girls left with the Jeep and told me “see, I told you there was a spot.” I told him that it opened up while he was yelling at me in the garage and he said “whatever” and walked away.
Is this really an example of the staff “dedicated to providing excellent customer service in a friendly and inviting atmosphere” that this place boasts on its website? From the get go, Sean was nothing but rude and condescending. Not only did he delay our day by a half an hour, but upset my wife and kids by berating us in the parking lot. Is customer service these days really people screaming at you because you had the audicity to ask a question or raise an issue?
Granted, this problem could have been avoided and Sean’s attitude could have been unleashed on another guest if the hotel actually provided ample parking for its guests or at least have a plan in place when the parking lot is full. Parking in fire lanes next to the sidewalk and double parking behind other guest cars are not solutions. Further, a guest should not be trapped at the hotel for fear of losing a parking space. This is an unacceptable condition that I am quite sure violates a number of Anaheim city ordinances and California State Law.
The hotel website boasts that it provides it guests with wireless Internet access. This is a very nice accommodation that appeals to me as I need to check emails and perform other various tasks for my legal consulting business, even when I am on vacation. However, the Internet access promised was not fulfilled as the wireless network was not actually available in the room. Instead, to use the Internet, I had to sit on the stairway outside of my room. When I notified the front desk about this problem their answer was it must be something I am doing wrong because they have heard no other complaints. However, I know this is simply a lie as I talked to another guest who had his computer propped on a garbage can outside of his room. He told me the front desk told him he was the only one who had a problem. Throughout our stay, I saw people sitting in the hallways and on the stairwells trying to connect to the Internet. Its sad to see people trying to connect to the world wandering around a hotel with the computers in the air trying desperately to find a hot spot.
The next night my family used the pool. First of all, the pool and spa were very dirty as was the area around it. Second of all, my wife’s sandals were stolen. Thinking that someone accidentally took her shoes, my wife went to the front desk to ask if they had been turned in. Sean was at the front desk and mocked looking around for them and said nothing had been turned in. While we were leaving the lobby, Sean visibly rolled his eyes at my wife and made a vulgar joke at her expense.
The room we stayed in was not in very good either. The air conditioner did not work and there was never any hot water. The sink faucet had no water pressure and the refrigerator had an odd odor coming from within. We would have brought these issues up to the hotel staff, but given the way we had been treated we were afraid that we would be berated or made to feel stupid.
Is it wrong to expect a much higher level of service from hotel staff? This group of staff went out of their way to make us feel uncomfortable. And when did it become taboo to raise issues about what you are paying for? No matter where you go these days, you find bad customer service and if you actually complain about, nobody cares. I work hard for my money and would like a little service where I choose to spend it. I don't think I am asking too much.
So I am tired of it and going to tell the world (or at least the few good folks who stop by here) of my experience at this hotel and let them make their own decisions about how this place treats it guests. And as a matter of fairness, I wrote a letter with the details I provided here to the hotel to given them an opportunity to respond. Of course, my communication has been ignored.
A Small Victory: And a matter of fairness
Since posting this article I had heard no response from the hotel. That was until today. I received the following note from a "operations manager." As a matter of fairness, I will post their letter here, leaving out the name of the operations manager and yours truly.
Mr. & Mrs. ________________,
We appreciate you taking your time to address your concerns. We are committed and determined on improving our hotel and your feedback assists us in achieving that goal. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you and your family. We realize the mere apologies won’t correct our mistakes in handling your visit.
Management has investigated this complaint and has talked to Sean regarding this matter. We have taken necessary action and have documented this complaint letter to Sean’s employee file. We are in the process of making necessary changes to better serve our guests as well as re-train our employees in the areas we are lacking.
Management has decided to make an adjustment of one night room and tax off your bill. I have issued a credit to your visa credit card for the amount of $118.45. You will see this credit within the next couple of days. Once again I do apologize for the inconvenience you and your family experienced.
So a small little victory in my war against bad customer service. And perhaps, maybe, a change at this hotel that will help families have a good time on vacation. As for us, we will never stay at this hotel again and will inform anyone we know about our experience should they show an interest.
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