I’m traveling this week. Stupid abounds.
Starwood seems to be in a race to the bottom of customer service with, well, itself. The Westin Peachtree is charging for in-room internet, which is par for the course with so-called “full service” hotels (despite the fact that, in general, one’s customer service experience is far better at a business-focused hotel like a Homewood Suites). However, they’re doing it with real fuck-you aplomb here: it’s part of a $15 per day “unlimited phone and Internet” plan. The kicker? The “unlimited” phone refers only to local and toll-free calls; long-distance calls are charged at an exorbitant rate, of course, and never mind what someone might think “unlimited” means. The gotcha is only apparent if you’re cynical enough to ask (like me), or lawyerly enough to read the fine print. It’s tricks like this that make it clear what Starwood really thinks of their guests.
Starwood gets a twofer here: the Omni at CNN center is utterly devoid of service as well, but in new and interesting ways. They’re now charging $7 every 15 minutes to use their business center, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a guest or not. Once again, the biz-class chains are all over the so-called full-service joints on these points, leading me to once again declare the big lodges utter ripoffs hell-bent on nickel-and-dime policies that are completely customer hostile.
The security checkpoints in the building housing the Client this week are inconsistent with themselves. In the morning, at the front door, I was told not to worry about x-raying my wallet; after lunch, at the back door, much was made of the requirement to do exactly that. “Why?” your intrepid correspondent asked. “Well, because someone might have a razorblade or a handcuff key in there!” Fair enough. They x-rayed my wallet. They didn’t find the spare razorblade I keep in there. Nice job, guys.
WAIT THERE’S MORE: the Westin room-service menu is, by default, delivered on the TV only like some bizarre 70s-era vision of what the 21st century might be like. Ordering, however, must still be handled with the telephone. Fortunately, a print menu is available by request. I did, and I didn’t tip the bellman, and I’m not sorry, because this whole thing is just stupid.