Leo’s travel journal

Leo’s travel journal and other juicy bits…

Posts Tagged ‘Sheraton

And so begins, the journey…

with 4 comments

So begins the year with a mind-blowing 19-day European winter escapade; an epic journey of 26,968km with the following routing:

KUL-BKK: Thai Airways (B777-200)
BKK-CPH: Thai Airways (B747-400)
CPH-TXL: Scandinavian Airlines (B737-800)
TXL-FRA: Lufthansa (A321)
FRA-RIX: Lufthansa (B737-300)
RIX-CPH: AirBaltic (B737-300)
CPH-ARN: Scandinavian Airlines (B737-800)
ARN-HEL: Blue1 (Avro RJ85 Jumbolino 😀 – YAY!)
HEL-LHR: Blue1 (B717 – 1st time)
LHR-BKK: Thai Airways (B747-400)
BKK-KUL: Thai Airways (A330-300)

Hotels:
TXL: 3-room apartment at Brandenburg Gate
RIX: Monika Centrum (on the super cheap €58 a night)
CPH: Hotel Guldsmelden
ARN: The all time favourite Sheraton
HEL: Hotel Kamp
LHR: Undecided still… Knightsbridge, Bayswater or Sloane Square?

Cost of flights and accommodation – circa €3,500

Let’s see how this pans out.

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A letter…

with 2 comments

A little letter to the hotel that warranted a call from the Assistant General Manager this afternoon… 🙂

Dear Ms. X,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me with regards to my recent stay with your hotel last month.

Whilst there was nothing wrong with the physical condition of the hotel and my stay in general, it is my opinion that the hotel management ought to look into the attitude of your staff members, in particular your front desk and concierge team.

The insolence of your staff members coupled with the stand-off’ish attitudes that I have encountered is certainly unbecoming of any reputable hotel, let alone a Starwood and least expected in an international city like Brussels.

Is it possible that your concierge asked me to locate your bellman in the other end of the lobby in order to claim my luggage when he is at the counter doing nothing and the luggage storage is just behind him?

Is it possible that your front desk personnel allow guests to cut the queue at the reception counter and when asked, offered no explanation or apologies but reply with an indignant “I have better things to do than to explain myself to you” face?

Is it possible at 0800hrs on a weekday, your hotel – one of the leading business hotels in the centre of the European government and in the middle of down-town Brussels do not even have a copy of English newspapers for guests / SPG Platinum members / club room residents? A curt “No” to my request was the answer.

Is it possible that your housekeeping staff members do not reply a simple “bonjour/bonsoir” when greeted along the corridors?

These are just a few examples of attitude issues that I can think of at the moment. Coming “home” to a hotel with no friendliness and all that attitude certainly makes me think twice about staying at your hotel, let alone recommend it to my colleagues and friends.

I may understand that the lack of warmth may be a cultural issue and that I may have been “spoilt” by the excellent services accorded in the course of my stays with the various St. Regis, Westin and Sheratons. But if you have an opportunity to look at my stay patterns, I stay mainly in Starwood hotels in Europe and have not, at any point face service levels lacking basic manners like these.

I am not here to preach on what I, as a guest expect – expectations are highly subjective. All I am trying to put through is that we are, at the end of the day guests – not fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters or other family members to share your staff members’ troubles and/or show attitude to. Your staff members are there for only one reason – to do their jobs with reasonable manners and decency; that’s the bottom line.

I understand that at the end of the day like other businesses, profitability is what matters for the hotel. Perhaps the hotel is doing so well so as to neglect the fundamentals of service.

As such, I will vote with my wallet and have advised my company’s travel coordinator to avoid the your hotel for all future company travels.

Additionally, I will not accept your free “goodwill” Starpoints as a matter of principle.

Personally, I am clear on which hotel I will NOT stay at on my next trip to Brussels – and possibly my change of loyalty programme come 2010 to some other reputable chain of hotels.

Regards.

And the initial email that brought it on…

Dear Mr. Lee,

Thank you very much for staying with us last month.

We have received your completed electronic questionnaire with some additional feed back about your stay in the Sheraton Brussels Hotel.

From your earlier feed back we realize that you have experienced some poor service performances with some member of our staff at the front desk. We are very sensible about the disappointing you have expressed about the staff attitude. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Your comments have been brought to the attention of those concerned.

We appreciate how upsetting this situation must have been for you and as a gesture of goodwill; we will credit your SPG account with 3000 extra free points.

Dear Mr. Lee, you are a very important client to us and we highly appreciate your business; once again, thank you very much for having shared your comments with us. We will do our outmost to give you a personalized overall experience and we really sincerely hope to welcome you back to the Sheraton Brussels Hotel.

Very kind regards,

Ms. X

Written by Leo

22 October 2009 at 16:22

what this year has brought…

with 7 comments

Okay so here’s a recap of this year’s travels so far. I’ve done a total of 55 flights, and a little over 95 nights in hotel rooms, wasted almost 2 weeks of my year on board aircraft’s developing DVT (deep vein thrombosis – economy class syndrome hehe); and a little over 5 days in airports transiting. Travelled across 3 continents and a thousand time zones, stretched my mental sanity and physical fitness to the limit with the legendary whole month of March spent in frigid wintery Europe. The passport is now left with a few pages – which is due for renewal only in 2010.

Also flew Scandinavian Airlines (SK) for the first time. I think that the aircraft livery of SK is quintessentially Scandinavian – minimalist clean lines, almost Ikea but I like the simplicity. But the interior leaves much to be desired. Furthermore, if you’re flying intra Europe in economy (which I always do), you have to buy your snacks and drinks (big BOO BOO compared to LOT Polish or Lufthansa).

The boarding passes

The boarding passes

On the good side, I’m a little over 1k miles shy of re-qualifying for the Krisflyer Elite Gold frequent flyer (lounge access, priority check-in, priority tags on baggage and that most important extra 20kg baggage allowance – that should be taken care off with my Bali trip), and about 7 stays shy of the SPG Platinum (which enables club floor access and automatic suite upgrades in Starwood hotels).

SPG Gold

SPG Gold

I think that this year would be the last year that I travel to Ukraine (since I stopped going to Moscow and middle east last year). Next year will see me travelling to new destinations – Turkey, Italy, and possibly more to Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Netherlands.

How did I achieve all this? Try a year on year increase of sales about US$ 350,000 🙂

My favourites remain as follows.

Airlines:
1. Singapore Airlines
2. Lufthansa
3. LOT Polish Air

Aircraft:
1. LOT Embraer E170
2. Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER
3. Lufthansa Airbus A300-600

Hotels:
1. Le Meridien – Budapest, Hungary
2. The Ritz Carlton – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3. Hotel Monika Centrum – Riga, Latvia

Airports:
1. Kuala Lumpur International (YES! believe it!)
2. Singapore Changi International
3. Riga International

Restaurants:
1. Li Yen – The Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur
2. KaDeWe Champagne, Oyster and Caviar Bar – Berlin

Europe for a month.. (updated)

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Here’s the final plan…

3 March 2008
Singapore Airlines SQ119 Kuala Lumpur-Singapore (184 miles)
Singapore Airlines SQ026 Singapore-Frankfurt (7984 miles)

4 March 2008
Lufthansa LH176 Frankfurt-Berlin (338 miles)
Apartments am Brandenburger Tor

8 March 2008
Lufthansa LH221 Berlin-Munich (386 miles)
Sheraton Munich Arabellapark Hotel

12 March 2008
Lufthansa LH977 Munich-Frankfurt (194 miles)
GHOTEL hotel & living Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen

15 March 2008
Lufthansa LH3446 Frankfurt-Budapest (648 miles)
Le Méridien Budapest

19 March 2008
LOT Polish Airlines LO534 Budapest-Warsaw (420 miles)
The Westin Warsaw

25 March 2008
LOT Polish Airlines LO751 Warsaw-Kiev (560 miles)
President Hotel Kiev

28 March 2008
Lufthansa LH3237 Kiev-Frankfurt
Singapore Airlines SQ325 Frankfurt-Singapore (7984 miles)

29 March 2008
Singapore Airlines SQ118 Singapore-Kuala Lumpur (184 miles)

Anyone flying the same flight / staying at the same places as I am in these periods? Let me know!

38 hours of flying, 18,882 miles on 11 flights in 27 days across 6 cities… *makes mental note to stock up on Valium*

Written by Leo

5 February 2008 at 21:06