Ritz Carlton, South Beach: An email diary of the "little things" that went wrong...

Discussion created by robertjpetersen on Feb 29, 2016
Latest reply on Mar 30, 2016 by robertjpetersen

Part review, part complaint, part travelogue, part diary.  Here’s the email communications about what went down with my 280,000 point trip for a 5 night stay (buy 4, get one free) at The Ritz Carlton, South Beach. Miami, FL 12/27/15 – 1/1/2016.  I thought anyone considering the property might benefit from our good and the bad experiences.  And by all means, let me know if you have any questions...

Monday, February 29, 2016

Good morning Mr. Petersen,

First and foremost, “Thank you” for your time and sharing your comments during our phone call. I have notified our team of the inconveniences experience so that our Ladies and Gentlemen uphold our service standards at all times. Rest assured, this was an unfortunate inconsistency and by far unacceptable at our hotel.  Moreover, we will recognize Sx Lx for her great service.

Per our conversation, I will process 15,000 points to your Marriott Account as a token of appreciation for having chosen us for your Holiday stay. These points should post in your account in 48 hours.On behalf of our Ladies and Gentlemen, I apologize for not having met your expectations. It would be a great honor to personally assist you with any future reservations at our hotel to showcase a true Ritz-Carlton experience. Please note my contact information in the event I may be of further assistance to you.

Always at your service,

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hi -

Happy New Year!  I wanted to follow up with you for some time as I've remained happy with the way you resolved our check in issue in December but overall very disappointed in our stay with you. A lot of 'little things' went wrong with the staff and their service and I can't help but wonder if I was paying cash instead of trading in Marriott points if I would have been treated better.

As you may recall, I had to call you directly for help with getting into a room when it was after 5pm and the front desk told us we would simply have to wait until "our" room was ready. We'd been there since 2 and patient even after 4 came and went.  They would not offer me an estimate as to when this would be nor would they give us an alternative room that was ready (post email addition: the front desk agent did not hesitate to tell us that we were NOT getting an upgrade). I shudder to think how long my family might have had to wait if you had not answered the phone and come to our rescue. The room you secured for us was great and we really appreciate you having chocolates sent to us later that night.  Unfortunately, that was not the end of our feeling unwelcome.

Once you left us in our room we waited 30 minutes for our luggage but it did not come.  Since we had a dinner reservation waiting we had to leave the hotel without the chance to change clothes.  When we returned around 8 I was happy to find our luggage and the chocolates in the room (again, thank you!). So while that day ended well, it seems like it all could have all been avoided if the front desk staff was customer-focused and if a 4 PM check-in meant a 4PM check-in, especially when informed we were going to be early. After all, I saw plenty of people checking in while we waited and waited. As I remarked to you at the time when I encountered a similar situation at the San Juan PR Renaissance they sent my family to the bar with a front desk business card and paid for snacks and drinks during the inconvenience.  I assume your front desk was simply going to let us sit in the lobby forever without acknowledging the inconvenience.

The next morning we decided to take advantage of the beach.  After checking us in, the attendant stopped en route to our chairs, set down our towels on the foot of a chair and left us without an explanation when he was waved over by a couple in one of the large beds.  After I picked up the towels, we moved to where there were 4 empty chairs and we started setting up ourselves.  After the attendant finished with the couple he came over to us and said "I was coming back" but he didn't complete the setup.  Nor did we get a "I'm sorry I left you without explanation" and neither he or anyone offered us menus, drinks or even checked on us the rest of the day.  I'm still wondering if I missed a social cue to tip him prior to service or if he only serviced those who pay for 'extras' instead of the rest of us.

The next day we ordered drinks and lunch at the pool and I did not receive the beer I ordered. I pointed out to the server that what he brought me was not a Blue Moon but some kind of cheap lager like Bud Light (I am a total beer snob having worked in the industry for years).  He argued that he had that poured it himself so I was wrong but he would get me another if I wanted. Since it was crowded and had taken a long time to get this drink I told him I was ok but we'd get it right on the next one.  He didn't come back for over an hour so there was no chance for that second drink.  When he did finally come back - and with the bill - he told me that he had since figured out that he served me a Red Stripe so I was right about there being a mix up. He still charged me for the Blue Moon.

Lastly, on the day before leaving I asked the front desk if we could stay in our room until noon.  I was told yes, but we then received a note under our door in the morning stating checkout was 11.  Also in the note was our bill, including incorrect charges from the first day of our stay (how could we incur charges if we weren't allowed to check in?).  I went to the front desk who resolved both of these and arranged for a bellman at noon.  I'm sure I don't need to tell you that at 12:30 no one had yet showed up at our door and we took our own luggage downstairs.

On the plus side, the valet was always prompt in getting our car and housekeeping did an excellent job dealing with 4 people, even if sometimes they were a bit late (one day they didn't get to us until after 4).

Maybe it's a training issue or maybe you were understaffed for the season.  Or maybe it's just a lot of coincidences.  I know these things aren't life and death, but I work hard and am away from my family a lot which is how I maintain Marriott platinum status and I do expect a certain level of ease and hospitality when travelling for leisure.  It seemed like every day at the RC something "little" went wrong and I came away vowing to never again stay at one of the properties.  Whether it be San Juan's Renaissance, Key West's Marriott or at Cancun's JW all of those Marriott properties left me feeling that my points were well spent, my family was taken care of and my loyalty was appreciated. 

With you guys I felt second class from the start.  Your efforts made a difference...unfortunately, no one else we encountered seemed to care. Thanks for letting me rant about this - I'd appreciate knowing what happened from your point of view.  Thanks.



Date: Saturday, December 26, 2015, 5:50 PM

Dear Mr. Petersen,

Thank you so much for your response and for informing us the details about your arrival on Sunday. We very much look forward to welcoming you and your family to The Ritz-Carlton South Beach! May I please have your kids’ names to add to your reservation?

I have noted and communicated your early arrival time around 1:00 PM with our Front Desk Team, as well as your request for an upgraded quiet room on high floor. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee your room will be available until our check-in time of 4pm but of course in the case that the room is not ready at your arrival we can absolutely store your luggage, and give you a call as soon as the room is ready, so that you and your family may explore South Beach or our Hotel facilities more comfortably. I have also placed you on our upgrade priority list should one be available. Please note the upgrade is not a guarantee but I will try my absolute best to accommodate this request for you.

Mr. Petersen, please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you and your family to make your stay with us great experience, and I look forward to your arrival tomorrow!

Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 9:12 AM

Hi -

Thank you for your note. We look forward to seeing you soon. Wanted to mention that we're 2 adults + 2 kids (ages 8 and 6) and not a group of 4 adults. We've chosen Miami for the sun and beach - not to party on NYE.

My kids are well traveled, having spent the past two New Years in Cancun and San Juan and we're excited to add another warm weather destination to our memories.

If there's any way you can help us with having a 'quiet' room on a high floor, away from the elevators, etc. it would be greatly appreciated. As much as we hope to experience all that Miami and The R-C have to offer, bedtimes still sort of apply.

I do expect we will arrive before 4 - most likely around 1pm - but we're happy to leave our car and bags with you and explore the area on foot while we wait to check in. I hope that is ok. 

Thanks again. See you Sunday,


On Dec 22, 2015, at 7:19 PM,

Dear Mr. Petersen,
It is a pleasure to welcome you to The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.  Thank you for choosing our hotel for your upcoming stay. In anticipation of your arrival, I would like to offer my assistance with preparing every detail of your accommodation. From coordinating your arrival time and dining reservations needs to scheduling spa appointments, recreation or transportation needs, I am here to ensure all arrangements are addressed with the utmost detail.

The details I have for your reservation are as follows:

Arrival Date:
Departure Date:
Kindly let us know if you anticipate to arrive before standard check-in time of 4pm

Kindly address any of your requests to my email at , and I will attend to all details.

We look forward to hosting you during your time in South Beach.

Warm Regards,


Message was edited by: robertjpetersen: I added a post email message about not getting an upgrade and added some tags