When I started this blog, I told myself I’d keep rants to a minimum. There are so many unpleasant things in the world, and dwelling on them seemed like a waste of time especially since every minute spent getting mad at an idiot is a minute spent not playing with my daughter.
But some things must be said. And people should be warned. So (deep breath) here I go.
Astoria Plaza, what the hell?!?!
We decided to book Astoria for New Year’s Eve to get away from the smoke. It seemed like a great idea — Astoria was near the house so we could easily run back in case we forget something. The rooms were spacious and a 2 bedroom suite cost only PhP7,485 a night and came with breakfast for 4.
Before finalizing our reservation during the first week of November, I inquired with Astoria whether they would provide cribs for babies. They said yes, they have some cribs for the use of their guests and will note our request in our reservation. I also asked if they could provide a king size bed instead of 2 twin beds in the master’s bedroom. They also agreed and noted it down.
For those who are unfamiliar, Meia is currentlly 10 months old. She doesn’t co-sleep with us, hence the need for a crib. In case the crib didn’t pan out, we were also considering letting her co-sleep for that night, hence the request for a king-sized bed.
The week before New Year, I called Astoria to confirm whether or not they can provide the crib. The person I spoke with over the phone (sayang I didn’t get her name) assured me that it was “noted” in our reservation. When I asked her to check whether the cribs were still available, she said she couldn’t do that. Not to worry, she told me, they “noted” it down.
If only the bear could have slept on their notes, we wouldn’t have had any problems!
On the morning of December 31, I called Astoria again to see whether the crib was available. The person who picked up the phone told me once again that it was noted in our reservation. At this point, I replied that that answer was unacceptable – couldn’t they check with housekeeping if a crib was available? They put me on hold and after a few minutes informed me that there were no cribs for the day. Apparently their definition of some cribs is one crib and it was being used by a long staying guest. I told them that if it was a long staying guest, then they could have told me when I reserved and when I called again that week that the crib was unavailable instead of giving me the usual bullshit about noting it down.
Since Astoria was near the house, Pao and I decided to check in first with all our things, then come back home to bathe Meia (so we don’t have to bring her bath paraphernalia) and pack the playpen.
Big mistake. When we got to Astoria at around 2pm, the place was full. We waited a good 15 minutes in the hot and humid basement just to ride the elevator to the ground floor. When we got to the reception area, we saw that there was a long and winding queue to get into the elevator.
So I checked in. While waiting for my room, another lady talked to the receptionist and followed up on her room. She claimed that she had been waiting for 30 minutes already in Astoria’s cramped lobby, and she had a little boy in tow who was getting cranky. I’m not that good with ages, but I’d say the little boy was around 3-4 years old. If you’ve been to Astoria, you’d know that the lobby is very small. I think they only had 4-5 chairs there for guests who are waiting to be checked in/out. And the lobby was FULL. Another girl beside me followed up on the rooms for her relatives – she told the receptionist that she was already considering cancelling their reservation since she couldn’t make her relatives, who were already old, wait in the car for that long.
The receptionist checks us in without mentioning any of the items noted in our reservation. No mention of the crib, no mention of the king sized bed.
And yup, you guessed it. We were given twin beds instead of the king sized bed. I called the Front Desk and you know what they said? That I could easily push the twin beds together to make a king sized bed. Wonderful customer service, I tell you. So at this point, I’ve had it. I used my lawyer voice and got really mad. I told them that part of my consideration for staying at their establishment was their promise of “some” cribs and the king sized bed. I told them that they better fix things and to call me back in 10 minutes with a viable solution.
Of course 15 minutes later, they still haven’t called. I decided to call front desk (I couldn’t storm the front desk, given the long wait for the elevators). They told me that they’re sending people to fix the twin size beds – they’ll put a sheet or something like that so that Meia won’t fall in the middle when the beds are combined. And.. that they’re also sending a crib. The crib and the housekeeping staff are on their way and should be in our room anytime soon.
“Anytime soon” for the housekeeping staff came 20 minutes later. As for the crib? Well, when Paolo called to follow up more than 30 minutes later, the person he spoke to began by saying: “Eto po ang nangyari…” (This is what happened…) which is a bad sign. He got as far as the crib being delivered to the wrong room and other guests seeing it before Paolo blew his top and told them to get the crib and deliver it to our room within 20 minutes, or else.
The crib came and according to Pao (I was already home by this point, trying to figure out how to pack the playpen), it was the dirtiest and saddest playpen he’s ever seen. He took some pictures but according to him, these didn’t fully capture how awful the playpen looked:
The next morning, at breakfast, we overheard the same lady with the 3-4 year old boy, ask for a high chair. The waiter told them that they only had 1 high chair, and that it was already taken. Coming into the ballroom, I counted at least 5 children who needed high chairs.
The sad part is that when we checked in, I asked the girl at the front desk whether this was the first time they were fully booked. She said no, it’s been like this every year during the holiday season. And yet, they still haven’t fully understood that they have guests who are children and who have special needs. How difficult is it to have 5 playpens on standby? Those things don’t cost a lot. Same goes for high chairs.
Shame on you, Astoria Plaza. Shame on you.
Edit: On 17 January 2012, Arnold of Astoria Plaza gave me a call to apologize in behalf of the company. He says that they are working on making Astoria more child friendly – they have made some purchase requests for children’s beddings. While it does not erase what happened, I’m very thankful that they took my complaint seriously and that they are trying to rectify the situation. 🙂