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Friday, March 31, 2006

Hotel Review – Marriott New York Financial Center

This is a review of the Marriott New York Financial Center, where we are staying during our family vacation.  Review starts after the jump.

The hotel is located on West Street, near the Financial District and Battery Park.  West Street is a divided highway and the hotel is on the northbound side of the street, so unless you’ve just emerged from the New York Harbor you’re going to have to turn around to get to it.  There are places to do that.

Check in is was very pleasant and the staff were really courteous.  We requested a crib and a high floor, and got both – the crib was waiting in our room when we arrived.  Waiting in the crib was a nice gift bag with some rubber duckies, body wash, and lotion for our young child.  Nice touch.

After resting up on Friday afternoon, we went walking around the hotel area to check out restaurants.  We were gone about an hour, and when we returned there was an ice bucket full of pints of milk and three packages of cookies waiting on our desk.  Milk and cookies before bed after a day spellunking around.  Very nice touch.

The beds are about the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in.  I’m usually not partial to feather beds, but these are absolutely fabulous.  Marriott has some sort of advertising promotion for their new beds, I forget the tagline, but whatever it is it lives up to it. 

The only bummer was the hotel’s internet access.  After signing up for the "full stay $12.95 per day" package that inclues high speed internet, and unlimited local and long distance calling (which I really did not need) I played around on what amounted to a 128K line for a couple of hours before the whole thing went down.  I sniffed around, the DHCP server was up and assigning addresses but their router or gateway was down (not responding to pings).  I had to go, I was there to go tour New York with my family, not help their tech support resolve their problems.  I really didn’t need it anyway.  So the next day, i tried it again and it still didn’t work.  Same problem.  So I figure, they aren’t monitoring their gateway, otherwise any bonehead sysadmin would have caught it.  So I call the front desk and explain that their internet access is down, and I want to remove the $12.95 per day charge.  They tell me that unless I notify the front desk, the internet access doesn’t work.  OK, so fine, I notify them, they say they turn it on for me.  Still no access after a half hour.  So I call back, say "this time really, I want the charge removed" and they tell me that they see that I used the Internet access (this was the couple hours on day 1, I assume).  I explain that the $12.95 charge was not for a couple hours but for 24, and it went down, and I have no intention of using it again.  They promise to reverse the charge.  

On check-out day, I check the T.V. Guest Folio and see that the first day’s charges were removed, but the second and third day’s charges were still there.  So I call agian, and get the same lame excuse … "We show that you used the service for a while…" I explain again, "A While" != 24 hours, it went down, I’m not satisfied with their service and now not satisfied with their response, remove all charges immediately.  After some hemming and hawing, they agree.  

Fast forward an hour later, now I’m about to go downstairs and check out, and I check the TV Folio again.  Now they’ve removed the first and second day charges, and left on the charge for the third day.  I call again, and they are back to the same tired excuse… "Well you used the internet service for a while on day one so we left one charge on the bill" First, they promised to remove all charges.  Second, I only used the service a while on day one and just trying to get a connection (unsuccessfully) day two, and day three I didn’t even take my laptop out of my bag.  So now I’m at call #3 to the Front Desk, still not satisfied, and they are still arguing with me about 2-3 hours of service I used day one that was low-speed at best.  Finally, I say, give me a manager.  The front desk clerk puts me on hold for a few minutes, comes back and cheerfully announces that all charges will (finally) be removed.  This time it actually happened.

What angers me is that an otherwise FLAWLESS hotel stay was marred because some twit front desk clerk was trying to make the hotel less than fifty bucks, after I racked up $1000 in charges in three days.   I’m an Elite status Marriott frequent guest and this was simply unacceptable on the Front Desk clerk’s part.  

But I would stay again, based solely on the service of the rest of the staff, especially housekeeping, they earned every tip I left them. 

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 5:56 pm  

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