Never Accept a Room That’s Unacceptable

I checked into Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas yesterday. Quickly up to my room and there was a strong smell of chlorine. Back down to the check-in desk.

Now, it was noon (so not yet check-in time). The hotel was full. They had no rooms to offer.

I could have waited for a room, something was going to open up and they were still cleaning rooms. That would certainly have been a reasonable solution if they didn’t have a room to give me initially. But they gave me a room, it just wasn’t one that was habitable. So I thought it was reasonable for them to find me a solution right away.

Some of the Las Vegas hotels are mega-properties, and certainly Mandalay Bay is one of them since it’s a complex that also includes the Luxor (moving there wasn’t going to be – ceteris paribus — ok) and also the Delano (formerly THEhotel) and even the Four Seasons.

The solution we found was the Delano. It’s just been re-opened, it’s part of MGM M Life so I would still get my Hyatt credit, and it’s an improvement.

I’ve rarely gotten pushback when something is genuinely wrong with a room. The constraints are what’s available, which was true even in this case but they had ‘another hotel’ to put me in.

Sometimes though you do have to ‘push’ at the check-in counter. Although not an inferior room, I have to think way back to when when I arrived at the former Westin Rio Mar at 4pm for when I had to push and get an upgrade in order to have a room.

My pre-blocked junior suite wasn’t ready. They suggested I go have a drink or a late lunch and wait. I asked whether they were buying me lunch? Or if they’d like to find me a better room that was ready? The front office manager came over, typed a bit… did not even look up at me, and put me into a giant Atlantic Suite.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Wish I’d have tried something like that during my recent stay at Fairmont Chicago.

    We used the emailed early check-in and got an email back at 11AM that our suite was ready. I had told them we’d be arriving at 4PM, so that’s good. We ended up having our flight cancelled and didn’t get there until 6PM and surprise…our room wasn’t ready! Had to sit in the lobby for about 15-20 minutes but I just didn’t have it in me to bitch to the young girl at the desk.


  2. I was overbooked on a Delta Overseas flight boston to London one summer, volunteered for a $500 travel cert and next day Business class seat. They put me up in airport Hilton. Waited in long line for key, arrived to room to open door to a very large woman standing stark naked in front of me. I backed out apologetically and went to the desk, asked for manager and explained what had just happened. I got a suite upgrade, dinner on them to add to my now-folio of vouchers.

  3. While at some Choice Hotel in Vancouver, the Wifi wasn’t working in my room. I’d walk out of the room, and voila, it would find the wifi signal. But the people at the front desk tried their darnedest to NOT help me. Took 30 minutes for them to switch my room.

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