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I spent Christmas week in Denver with my family. We stayed at the beautiful Marriott Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Autograph Collection, right in the heart of downtown (if you want to learn how to earn Marriott points for free nights check out this post). I really wanted to experience Christmas there as they really do it up for the holiday, with decorations, music, Santa, etc. Plus, Denver is a direct flight from my hometown of Missoula, Montana.
We landed in Denver just before 5:00 pm, and after collecting our luggage and the other accouterments one needs when traveling with a toddler (oh my!), we headed to the hotel. We got there just after 6:00 pm and I hopped out of the car to check-in. There was a long line at the desk, and once I approached they let me know that they didn’t have any rooms available for check-in. Huh?!
Now, I could have totally lost my cool at this point. Flying is always fairly exhausting, no matter how short the trip, and sometimes you just want to plop down in a comfy hotel room. Instead, I decided to employ the “kill ’em with kindness” technique. It WAS Christmas, after all. 😉
Here’s how I handled it.
I asked the gentleman at the desk why there weren’t any rooms available and he explained that they’d had a huge debutante party there the night before. Because of a bunch of late checkouts, it was taking housekeeping longer than usual to turn over the rooms.
I kindly let him know that this was quite an inconvenience for us and reminded him that it was, in fact, already pretty late in the evening. Being asked to wait until 4:00 pm to check-in is one thing, but having to wait until nearly 8:00 pm is pretty ridiculous. He said he understood and apologized, but didn’t offer any solution to our problem or compensation for the inconvenience.
So, I simply asked!
I politely said, “I know it was busy last night and understand why things are behind, but can you offer us any sort of compensation for the hassle?” He looked at me with a little hesitation so I said, “It would be fun to get a drink in the lobby or have breakfast tomorrow morning in the hotel’s restaurant with Santa!” Again, I said all of this very lightheartedly, but persuasively, too.
He excused himself and came back ~30 seconds later to offer me $75 in credits towards our stay ($25 per person). He assured me it would come right off the bill upon check-out. And that was that! I was thankful I didn’t have to push too hard, like by having to ask for a manager. And I was impressed with the hotel’s quick action and generous offer! We ended up using that particular credit towards our Christmas brunch bill a couple of days later.
In addition to our issues at check-in, our room wasn’t cleaned 3 out of the 6 nights we were there. Things like this usually don’t bother me too much, but when you’re staying in a room for an extended period of time things can get…funky. And I do expect this kind of service when staying at a higher-end hotel like The Brown Palace.
So again, I just asked what they could do for me!
I called the front desk to let them know the issues we’d had with getting our room cleaned. We were gone nearly all day, every day, from the room, so timing shouldn’t have been an issue. Without hesitation, the front desk associate offered another $75 off of our bill, and I gladly accepted.
By simply asking I saved $150 off of our total bill. It’s not enough for a ticket to Tahiti, but it’s better than nothing! So, moral of the story is to always ask. The worst that can happen is getting a “no.” And on the flip side, you might just end up with free money.
Have you ever had issues at a hotel and been offered compensation in some way? Share your story in the comments below!
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