Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's Not the Phoenician...any more

The Phoenician in Scottsdale ( ) used to be my gold standard for hotels. Back in the late 80's and early/mid 90's, it was arguably the best hotel I ever stayed it. The facilities were over the top (as only a savings & loan cheat like Keating could do) and the service surpassed the facilities. It was so fabulous that it became a running joke in my family. Whenever we went somewhere and that hotel lacked some facility or some service attitude, my standard answer was "well, this isn't the Phoenician." "It's not the Phoenician" became the standard by which we measured service effectiveness.

Of course then came the S&L crisis and the hotel ended up in the hands of Starwood, as part of its Luxury Connection. I actually haven't been back there since then but I'll be flying out to Phoenix on Tuesday and already I've got serious concerns.

I sent an email last night to the Phoenician, asking for information and an addition to my reservation record. With the old Phoenician, I would have gotten a reply within 15 minutes and the response would have no doubt exceeded my expectations in terms of customer service. Now...well, it's about 24 hours later and I've heard not a word from the hotel. If you're going to list your email address on the home page of your Internet site and if you're going to promote yourself as "the luxury collection," you'd think maybe they'd take the time to monitor their inbox. I can't imagine the volumes are that high, especially in this straddle season. To me, it says they're not paying attention to the little things any more. Now maybe they're going to surprise me. Maybe it's going to be world class. Maybe there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for why I haven't heard back from them.

All I know, though, is that I'm going there thinking "it's not the Phoenician...any more."

UPDATE: I heard from them Monday afternoon. Not exactly timely response. And of course, the reply was "you'll have to talk to this other person." So I sent the other person an immediate email. Keep in mind that I'm on a plane Tuesday morning at 9:45. Of course, I get that person's OOF message, saying they won't be in until Tuesday. Of course no one's monitoring this inbox for time-sensitive matters even while this was the one given to me. So I finally heard from this person Tuesday morning...after I was already in the air. I got the message when I landed in Phoenix. That's real useful. NOT.

UPDATE 2: Last chance to redeem themselves. I arrive at check-in. No acknowledgement of Starwood status. No upgrade. "Ordinary" room. Yes, the rooms here are nice but nothing. Oh, by the way, here's what says about room upgrades:

"Enhanced Rooms. Rather than redeeming Starpoints for a better room, you’re entitled to an automatic room upgrade at check-in when one is available. An enhanced room includes rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms, or rooms with preferred views."

I guess it wasn't available. No, it's most definitely not the Phoenician I remember. My last hopes, dashed.

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