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All People > brightlybob > BrightlyBob's Blab > 2017 > July

Chinese hotels have a reputation of coming through on service and elite upgrades so I thought I'd share with all of you my most recent fabulous experience during my stay in Xi'an - home of the Terracotta warriors.


We arrived in Xi'an at 9am on an overnight Sleeper train from Shanghai and after a days touring with a guide visiting the Big Goose Pagoda, the Bell & Drum tower, the Walls and Muslim Street arrived at 4pm to check-in to our hotel.


*WOW* - What an experience! Upon arriving a bellboy collected my luggage from my guides car and asked my name. I replied and he immediately asked me to be seated in reception whilst he called the Exec lounge manager who arrived quickly, thanked me for my loyalty and asked me to accompany him to the Exec lounge where he would personally complete my checkin. We then all accompanied the manager to the lounge where we were offered welcome drinks while I went through the process at the exec lounge desk. After a few mins with my passports and visas I was then advised I could join my family and the hostess would take care of the remaining formalities. 10 minutes later the hostess approached me and advised that our rooms were ready, a double-double as reserved for the two teenagers and our room had been upgraded to a suite, on the exec floor! Of course when we walked into our rooms we found our luggage there waiting for us! SMOOOOTH....


Now, suite upgrades are rare enough but exec floor suite upgrades - never, not ever, never ever, never, never have I received an exec-floor-suite-upgrade in 10 years and over 500 real butt-in-bed nights as a Marriott Platinum, and latterly Platinum Premier.


And then there was the evening lounge, top-shelf liquor and lots of different hot options meant you could eat a full evening meal there AND choose between a Western or Chinese menu. Although the alcohol hours were officially short -  6pm-8pm only - in practice I was there at 5:30pm before dinner and was offered a beer, and returned after dinner at somewhat past 8pm and was able to have a couple more. The Exec lounge Breakfast was amongst the widest I have seen in any exec lounge worldwide and the alternative in-restaurant breakfast was absolutely the best breakfast selection I have ever seen anywhere in the world.


So, smooth-as-silk no-wait exec lounge checkin, upgrade both rooms to exec lounge level AND our room to a full suite on the lounge level, top alcohol and food offerings and the best hotel buffet breakfast ever seen makes me sooo glad I'm a Marriott Platinum Premier ---------- that got comped Hilton Diamond - Yes folks, all this top-treatment, best ever experience occurred at the Xi'an Hilton. It had to be a Hilton as Marriott has no central properties in Xi'an. Its only my second Hilton stay this millennium!


As part of this trip I've also stayed at the Marriott Shanghai City Centre, where I received a concierge level "upgrade" to a standard room 4 floors below the lounge and the Beijing Renaissance Wangfujing where I received no upgrade whatsoever. Both required lengthy checkin procedures and waits (ironically the Ren Beijing stuffed a slip in my roomcard advising all club level guests could checkin in the lounge - only given after I'd gone through the whole lengthy checkin process in reception!). Both lounges are good, as are the alternative full breakfast options, but really, no patch, absolutely no patch, on the incredible Hilton Xi'an...


I think it might be time to rethink my opinions on Hilton!

You know how it goes in the beginning it's all rosy, everything's good, but over the years you feel taken for granted, that your partner just doesn't care for you. Overlooked and ignored you wake up one morning and wonder - really, why am I taking this? Is this all I'm worth?


Well on Monday morning I awoke in my small corner room 2505 at the London Renaissance Heathrow Hotel with a magnificent view of a poured concrete wall just inches from my window while the family next door argued as I could plainly hear through the connecting door, thinking, is this really the best room they could find for a regular Plat premier guest? Thus I began questioning our entire relationship - and decided that it was time to part with the London Heathrow Renaissance. It's been good at times - well the lounge has, but there has to be more to a relationship than great free beer. There's lots of other hotels around who have got to treat regular customers better than this.


As a regular LHR Renaissance Hotel guest I receive:


(a) lengthy checkin queue and an elite queue line that is ritually ignored and utterly pointless

(b) no suite upgrades at checkin, never, not ever. I mean never! Promises of "next time" never kept

(c) repeated "missing stays" - forgetting to post at least 10% of my stays

(d) repeated point-shorting - at least half of my stays that aren't actually missing are significantly point-shorted

(e) "forgotten" Plat bonus points.

(f) charges for car parking but forgets to give the card needed for the reader necessitating further queueing

(g) forgets to post incidental card details given leading to payment refusal at restaurant/bar and further queueing


My last stay 1st-3rd July experienced a, b, f and g and so my first step, once home and acting upon my resolution, I consulted the Marriott Plat line where I spent half an hour on the phone Monday afternoon with them correcting my last 3 LHR Ren stays of woeful underpayment, one missing stay, one significant point-shorting and one "forgotten" Plat bonus points. Yes, that is my last 3 stays at the Heathrow Renaissance! And I've been accepting this as normal for years! The place uses every opportunity to "accidentally" underpay points. Now I await my points posting for my stay ending that fateful dawn of realisation Monday morning and I'll bet you a buck to buttons there'll be at least one of c, d, or e!


I am sorry London Heathrow Renaissance, but this type of crappy consistency isn't a good thing, its time to try another LHR hotel. SPG have a couple of options, and I think there's a Crowne Plaza and at least 2 Hiltons. With my regular stay record I should be able to find another fish in the LHR sea that will provide me with good consistency instead of your take-me-for-granted type.


A few years ago if you'd have asked me what I would most want with me on a desert Island I would have replied, without hesitation, a lifetime supply of beer (and the means to keep it cool). Now, after some thought, I'd reply a lifetimes supply of tea (and the means to brew it).


The free beer was good, but there's more to a relationship than free beer - Yes, LHR Renaissance, I've outgrown you!