Spicie Travel Tips: Hotel Brand vs Hotel Amenities

Spicie Travel Tips: Hotel Brand vs Hotel Amenities

By Heather Jabusch


Road Trip! Off to Dallas, TX with my co-workers to a regional meeting for our hotel brand. We arrive at a Full-Service Luxury Brand (upper scale) property around 9pm, check into our rooms and run down to order dinner from the bar before they close at 10pm. We had been on the road for 6 hours and the last thing we wanted to do was try to find a restaurant in this unfamiliar city. Most dishes were from $15-$20, so we decided for convenience we would just eat at the bar. After dinner, I continue to scan the amenities, and am shocked when I find out breakfast is not complimentary; and, in fact, is $20/person (buffet style). So, I am thinking to myself, good thing I brought poptarts and snacks because meals at this price will add up fast. A luxury brand in the hotel industry and I couldn’t believe how little we got for our money. The rooms were small; there was no mini fridge, no microwave, and no safe for valuables! Not to mention, when the air cut on it sounded like a plane taking off in our room. We were blown away.

Are you getting your money's worth?

Are you getting your money’s worth?

Our property, along with many other mid to upper scale properties (limited service), offer a hot breakfast buffet included in the room rate. We also include a mini-fridge, microwave, and a safe in each room for you to keep your drinks cool, food warm, and valuables safe. So right off the bat, I was feeling confused and disappointed. I had a roommate, whom is diabetic and had to take insulin shots (which has to be kept cool). We had to continuously refill her ice chest each day to keep her medicine cool. The ice bucket was so tiny; I could only put one soda/bottle of water in it at a time to keep it cool. They had a little store in the hotel lobby, but a bottle of cold water was $3.75 plus tax. Really? To me this is nickel and diming guests.

The next morning we were getting ready and I see this tan square looking item in between my bed and the night stand. As I am trying to remember when I opened my poptarts to have dropped one down there, I flipped it over to discover it was a slice of pizza from a prior guest. We are shocked!!! This was a well known brand name hotel. So my roommate opens the door, as housekeeping is right outside our door, and lets her know what we found in our room. Her reply was “Do you want me to come get it right now?” Immediately, I am thinking this would never stand in our hotel. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee at our property and anything left from a prior guest is unacceptable. After an hour or so, the housekeeper had still not come into our room to pick up the food that was not ours. We had to leave for the meeting, so, I picked up the pizza slice with a napkin and threw it away myself as to not attract critters to our room.

Not all hotels are created equally

Not all hotels are created equally

At check out, when we told the front desk attendant, she simply giggled and did not sound surprised at all. Nor did she offer any type of compensation for the poor service we received. On the ride home, I kept trying to understand why anyone would pay more for a name brand, if they do not actually get more amenities or at least, better service. So know what type of hotel you need, and then you can narrow your search from full service to limited service, to better accommodate your travel expectations. Limited service hotels have enhanced their complimentary amenities (like a hot breakfast or managers receptions) to compete not only with other hotels of their caliber, but also with the full service properties. Also, always read the reviews! They will alert you of any issues that you might be able to avoid prior to booking your hotel and arrival. Brands try to maintain consistency, but it is not always guaranteed with just a name.

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  1. Helen says:

    I always do a mix of reading reviews and visiting different sites before deciding where to go. Great post.

    • Heather Jabusch says:

      Those are great ways to judge a hotel Helen. Thanks so much for your comments. Another thing to pay attention to is when the hotel was built or last renovated as most pictures are professionally done and edited. You will not seen the current wear and tear on the property.

  2. Barbara says:

    Argh – this is gross, Heather, did you check the shower curtain? Before going to Dallas I will ask you for the name of this hotel to avoid similar experiences or maybe they will have read your post and had a change of heart in the meantime.

    I prefer smaller hotels as I like the personal touch and I make sure to read several reviews before booking.

    • Heather Jabusch says:

      I can tell you travel often by your comment to check the shower curtain. This is another great tip, as they will start to smell of urine when not cleaned. I will be happy to inform you of the hotel, as I did post a review on TripAdviser. Sad to say, when the general manager called and found out I worked at a hotel, he was more concerned with convincing me that I should not have posted my review than rectifying the problem. Poor customer service all round!

  3. Joe Chengery says:

    Hello Heather,

    I wholeheartedly agree with Melissa – if you mention blog and tell them you will spread the word about the poor service you received, I’m willing to bet they would have taken your complaint much more seriously (certainly didn’t sound like they were concerned) and would have given you “luxury class” service as they should have.

    How appalling – that hotel chain (or at least that location) should not even be in business. The lack of amenities and very inflated prices were bad enough, but to have a rotten slice of pizza from a previous guest by your bed really took the (bad) cake! I certainly would spread the word about which hotel this was to your friends and colleagues (at least) and let them know that that was how they treated you and your co-workers. Maybe if it hits the hotel on their bottom line, maybe they’ll consider actually providing quality, “luxury” service the next time as they should have for you.

    Thanks for letting us know – I hope you have better trips in the future!

    Take care,

    Joe Chengery

    • Heather Jabusch says:

      Thank you so much for your comments Joe! I will definitely try that next time. If I were not there on business, I would have just moved to another hotel. Between the word of mouth, this blog, and my trip advisor comment, I am sure their bottom line will feel the pain soon. Also, I just went to see what kind of reviews they have been getting lately and it looks as though others are getting the same treatment that I received…poor service, clogged tubs, pricey food, and outdated rooms. I highly recommend reading at least 10 reviews and anything you see duplicated is a good indication to what you will receive during your stay.

      Wishing you all the best and take care,

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