Last week (March 5) I had booked a park view room at Le Meridien NYC. On my way to the hotel that morning, I checked Marriott.com and the Bonvoy app and saw that the penthouse was available for all four nights of my stay, at a rate of $1299. Upon my arrival, I inquired how much it would cost to upgrade to the penthouse suite. I was celebrating my 50th birthday with my best friend, I thought it would be nice to do something really special.
The desk agent checked first with a manager then with the revenue director and quoted a price of $1299/night, the same price I had already seen. Given that the hotel was pretty quiet, and obviously the penthouse was available, I said I couldn't justify the expense at that price. The desk agent said he would see if the revenue director could do any better, then left a voicemail on my cell phone (as I had requested) with a price of $699/night for the penthouse. I confirmed that price with another desk agent before I accepted the upgrade and the new keys.
When I checked out, I only glanced quickly at the bill to confirm the $699 price. I was in the middle of several work responsibilities and I did not review the bill closely until I was home. I was surprised to discover an "upgrade fee" of $2796 plus taxes for the room. That fee was never disclosed or discussed, by either desk agent nor did anyone else from the property mention it to me. I have emailed the desk agent, the GM, and Marriott customer service to request a refund of that upgrade fee and associated taxes. I have not heard from anyone.
This pricing approach seems to be a sneaky business practice, especially since I accepted the quoted $699 nightly rate in good faith.
The hotel staff were lovely and the room was amazing, but once I added the upgrade fee to the nightly rate, the rate actually ended up being $1398, more than the regular price of the room. Unfortunately, the devious approach to pricing left me regretting that I stayed there. Be warned.
p.s. For those who follow status, I am Titanium Elite.