First impressions are so important for a hotel guest's stay. Ironically when one thing goes wrong early on inevitably a guest's stay jsut tends to go from bad to worse. Just about every hotelier will tell you this, its almost a feat of nature. My stay at the Wyndham on Miami Beach started out on the wrong foot, and it was always going to be interesting to see whether 'nature' was going to take its course.
Driving up to the hotel and stopping at the entrance I was approached by an attendant who informed me all parking in the hotel was valet parking, and he would have to take the car. This is not unusual along the Miami Beach strip as much of the hotels' parking is off-site. After unloading the luggage myself (there was no alternative offered) I then received a ticket and pointed in the direction of the registration desk in the lobby. The ticket for the car advised that $18 a day would be added to the bill for parking. The lobby was large and spacious and busy with furnishings and people. There were two reception clerks and only one person being attended to, however it was a few minutes before the second clerk finished what he was doing and asked if he could help. Check-in was fine and I received the keys to Room 415. The hotel had four lifts which seemed adequate for the size of the hotel although they were all constantly in use, and often there was a wait to get an available one. On entering 415 there was a hallway down past the bathroom to an open and spacious room with views out over the roof of levels of the hotel below. In the distance there were also glimpses of the ocean. I had work to do so set about setting up a place for my computer on the work desk provided and noticed it was not clean. There was some rather sticky debris in various places. I then looked on to the floor and it had not been vacumed properly, there was debris in quite a number of places. I then noticed some wine bottle wrappings around the base of the mini-bar provided, and there was a cigarette (unused) on top of the TV and drawers cabinet. I was disappointed but the extent of the problem was not sufficient to warrant a request for another room. At the work desk I noticed there was the Wayport fast-speed Internet access available, typical of Wyndham hotels, however I couldn't find the port. I looked around and glanced over the single armchair provided and noticed more debris on it. I then went to the bedside table where I located the Wayport port. As I needed to compile the review for the hotel I needed a place to work, and I didn't like the idea of working on top of a bed. At that point I decided to request a room which had Internet access available at a desk. I rang the front desk and explained I needed a room with a desk that had Internet access. This was not going to be a problem however it would take about 45 minutes. I indicated I would go and have lunch and check back in about an hour. In passing I decided to comment on the cleanliness of the room, mainly as a courtesy to the hotel with a suggestion they have the housekeeper take a look at it.
I went to lunch at the Hibiscus Court on the lower level. There are two restaurants, I was advised, this and the Seabreeze restaurant which is more a cafe located adjacent to the poolisde bar. I ordered a burger and a lemonade. I was promptly served with the lemonade and a glass of iced water. As if on cue, and in accordance with the laws of 'nature' I looked down and noticed some of the cutlery wasn't clean. The burger took about 20 minutes and was fine. Other guests started to arrive and seemed to have been kept waiting quite some time before being served. The attention was not that enthusiastic. I had noticed on the menu that a gratuity of 20% would be added to the cost of the meal as a convenience to guests. This is not altogether unusual however for hotels it is somewhat unique, although I was later to find it was also the practise at the Fontainbleau Hilton in Miami Beach, although the amount was 15%.. It may also explain the indifference to guests that was evident in this outlet. Midway through the burger an invoice satchell was placed on my table with a comment that there was no need to rush. When I opened the satchell there was no pen, just a bill. The note about the gratuity was reproduced in red print and directly underneath was a slace for 'Additional Gratuity'.
I left the restaurant and toured the hotel. The pool is very large but I couldn't help notice that the facilities and furnishings were somewhat tired. The hotel had appeared to be new although I was starting to get the impression it in fact was an old building that had been modernised. Everything was art decor which is the theme for the hotels everywhere here, and not just hotels. If you like pink, grey and white you'll find it all over Miami Beach. Even the people sunning themselves often turn to pink.
Anyway back to the registration desk to the original attendant that checked me in. He checked on the computer to see what arrangement had been made. He acknowledged a change was ordered, however he said he would not have a room until after 4pm and to check back then. It was then about 2pm. I went back to the room to find it exactly as it was when I left it. I then rang the Guest Services desk and fortunately came in contact with the person who had arranged to make the change in the first place. She said she would advise housekeeping to advise her when the room was available and to wait in the room until then. It was then about 5 past 2. Just after 4pm with no word from Guest Services I decided to complete a review of Room 415. The room was very spacious, a king size bed, two bedside tables with lamps. Only one phone on one of the bedisde tables. No additional phone on the work desk. The minibar was stocked with drinks, including liquor also confctionary and snacks. A separate key to the bar was supplied at check-in. Interestingly there was a cigarette burn about 4 inches long on the top of the mini-bar. Interesting as this was a non-smoking room. With the cigarette above on top of the TV cabinet it was obvious the room had been let to smokers in the past. The bedding was elaborate. The wardrobes were expansive with super large doors and huge gold embossed door knobs. There was also a large set of draws in one of the three compartments, and a mirror. There was also an iron. In the hallway, where there is no light at all, there was a linen cabinet just past the bathroom which houses extra blankets, pillows and an ironing board. The bathroom, painted totally in pink with white ceiling, was adequate in size, had adequate bench space but barely so and had a three-quarter size bath which also served as a shower. There was a telephone and an adequate supply of towels (two), bath mats (2) and flannels (2). There was also a coffee pack (just one) and some sugars and cremes, however no coffee maker or jug in which to heat water.
With no word from Guest Services I decided to contact them again just after 4pm. I was advised to go to the Registration Desk. There was no offer to send someone up with new keys or to assist with luggage. At the registration desk I was asked to wait while they established whether the room was ready. After talking to housekeeping they confirmed the room was available. I asked the attendant to confirm this was a room with a desk that had high-speed Internet desk. I was advised that Guest Services had already taken care of that and they had allotted the room.
I then went up to level 6 to Room 627. I was hopeful of a fresh start and was encouraged by the super-clean hallway carpet, in contrast to that of the 4th level which I noticed on the way out of Room 415. On entry to the room there was a hallway light which was also a plus compared to the previous room. The second light switch along didn't work. The room was very spacious and two walls were frames of windows so there were excellent views of the intra-coastal waterway at the rear. The offset was the noise from the traffic below as the windows were all single-glazed. There were two double beds, and you wouldn't believe it, there was no desk. There was a dining table in the corner of the room and that was it. I then looked for the Wayport connection and........there wasn't any. No Wayport access at all in the room? This couldn't be right. I again went to telephone Guest Services. The phone was dead, it was a 'hands free'. I tried to get it to work but to no avail. I then went to the bathroom phone and spoke to GS. They advised they would send somebody up to assist. It was then 4.30pm.
Just after 6pm Guest Services phoned to see if the matter had been attended to. It hadn't. They apologised for the inconvenience (for the first time) and arranged to send somebody from the bell desk up immediately. This happened. The first thing confirmed was that the Wayport net is not found near desks or tables. It is usually on one of the bedside tables. Here there were two beds but just one table (unlike the previous room where there was one bed and two sidetables). After much searching it appeared there was no port in the room at all. In the end the table came out and after much searching again the port was located under the table. It was retrieved and brought back to the top of the table, where housekeeping should have ensured it was in the first place, and a lot of time and inconvenience would have been avoided. I explained to the bell attendant the idea was to use a computer from a desk (or even a table as was now the case). He said an extension cable would be required from Concierge and I should telephone and order one and he would collect it. I pointed out I couldn't use the phone as it was 'hands free'. He then showed me a switch which made it operative. There were no instructions by the phone. I telephoned concierge and received a recorded message to say Concierge hours were between 8.30am and 8.30pm and it was unattended and I could leave a message. I did this.
Eventually at 6.25pm an extension cord was delivered by the same attendant but it was too short. It was the only cord available and I would now have to wait until tomorrow when the Business Center was open, as it was now closed.
A short time later I telephoned Guest Services just to advise of the history of this problem so that they had a record of it. Too many dissatisfied guests of hotels move on without giving hotels the opportunity of at least correcting faults and problems that occur in their system. I did get a caring response and an apology and was asked whether the hotel could do something like a breakfast. I said no, I was not looking for concessions or any relief I was only advising the hotel out of courtesy. It is our policy not to seek or accept concessions, discounts or incentives from hotels, or to even disclose that we are doing a review of a hotel, as it would compromise the review process.
A few minutes later to the hotel's credit the reception clerk that booked me in arrived at the door with a telephone Internet extension lead which he offered to at least overcome the problem of connecting to the Internet altogether. As it was now six and a half hours since I had checked in I declined the offer but was at least thankful the hotel was finally taking an interest. He then asked how long I was staying and when told two days he offered to provide complimentary breakfast for the duration of the stay. Again I declined but thanked him for making the offer. I indicated if I could just get the problem resolved I would be happy.
Within about 5 minutes the same cleark, Alex, telephoned again and said he had found a longer Wayport extension lead and would be happy to send it up. I was pleased mostly with the hotel's caring approach and although I would not make use of the cord until the next day I welcomed the offer and thanked him for sending it up. He actually brought it up himself and I was in business, albeit 6 hours after I checked in and being in my second room, now with a dining table in place of a desk. When connecting the cord I noticed behind the bed-heads an unbelievable number of cords, cables and wires all out in the open which probably should have been encased. I know a number of the rating agencies are quite strict on wiring being enclosed whereas in this room at least and probably throughout the hotel all these wires dangle from just beneath where guests place their heads to sleep. I am not suggesting there is any danger in this but it certainly does not look coche.
Back to the review, the purpose of this visit in the first place (much to the misfortunate of this particular hotel). The room in other respects, other than those covered, was fine. A very good standard, bright coloful soft furnishings and very good quality hard furniture. There were two wardrobes, one double (encased by mirrors) and a triple with very large doors and door knobs as in the previous room. An ironing board and iron were contained in one of them. The bathroom was similar to the previous one although the bath, whilst not fully sized, was bigger in more of a triangular, than the traditional, shape. A coffeemaker complimented the coffee making facilities unlike 415. Lighting was good throughout and the view terrific but for the noise of the traffic. The hotel I gathered as I went along was definately an older building that had been extensively renovated. Quite a lot of the fittings, walls windows were old however they were not out of place in what is essentially a 1920s/1930s art deco building which sets the scene for Miami Beach architecture in general.
For a meal that evening I ventured downstairs to one of the two lounge bars. The Lobby Lounge was quite extensive with a white grand piano in place, although not in use. There were only two people in the bar but seconds later another two or three arrived. There was no barman however he arrived just as I was leaving some minutes later. I went down to the Seabreeze Restaurant which was poolside however this was closed, as was the adjoining 'lounge'. I went back to the Hibiscus Court Cafe where I had lunched, however it was practically deserted and looked quite uninviting. I then went down to Concierge to get a map of the surrounding area and information on local restaurants. However Concierge, whose hours are 8.30am to 8.30pm had closed. I then went walking heading north looking for restaurants but after a mile or so gave up and turned and headed south. I eventually came upon the Fontainbleu Hilton just a few hundred meters from the hotel. The Fontainbleu has an excellent array of restaurants, bars and nightspots so I spent the night there.
Later back at the hotel I retired to one of the two double beds. It was small but adequate. The top sheet I found had two holes in it, one I could place my foot through it. Otherwise the bed was more than comfortable.
The next morning I rang Concierge to order my car. There was no telephone connection to the Bell Desk. There was no answer. This was at 9.15am. About 15 minutes later I tried again but no answer. I then went downstairs and came across the Bell Desk. I asked for my car to be brought up. They said I had to go outside and talk to the valet parking attendants. I did this and within a few minutes my car was available. When I returned it some hours later it was promptly dealt with and I was once more insitu at the Wyndham. The room had been cleaned and was spotless. Not much more I can say.
Get a daily dose of Albuquerque Express news through our daily email, its complimentary and keeps you fully up to date with world and business news as well.