Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Complaint: A Stay at the Crowne Plaza near Houston Reliant (Update)

Swimmign Pool photo

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to learn from Corwin constellation of notables. What an amazing experience. I hate to mention the names of these folks in this blog post, so I won't. This is a complaint about the IHG hotel, Crowne Plaza.

Crowne Plaza
Address: 8686 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77054
Phone: (713) 748-3221

The venue for the conference was the Crowne Plaza, which from the get-go had some problems. In fact, it was so bad that it reminded me of a stay at Baymont Inn in Port Arthur where we paid $60 per night. The cost of staying at Crowne Plaza was $160 for weekend and $120 for the week days. Two of us stayed at the hotel from Saturday night through Tuesday.

The pictures on the website look beautiful. They don't quite capture the interior, low-lit dark spaces and smelly, dirty, stained carpet.

So, you can see, quite a bit more money was spent but the quality of the stay was equivalent to a cheap Baymont Inn. In fact, it was WORSE. It was more like the Super 8 I stayed at where I had to chase a cockroach around my room. Let share why.

Update: Thanks to IHG Services Twitter account, IHG offer an apology for the poor service at Crowne Plaza. They sent me the following note: "Thanks for the details, Miguel. Joel here, a colleague of Rein. I read your blog and I'm very sorry that your stay was not exemplary. We want nothing but amazing experiences for our guests, but this surely wasn't the case on your stay as you had to deal with unsatisfactory service, below average rooms and disturbing noise levels from the housekeeping staff and other guests from the pool.
Our team would like to assure you that your thoughts about this matter are heard."
I'm grateful to IHG for their response. Now, they just need to tear down the Crowne Plaza. 

Complaint

Since I don't want to be unnecessarily harsh, let's stick to the facts. Here are the facts.

Check-In - Positive

On arriving on Saturday afternoon after a four hour drive, my colleague and I went into the Crowne Plaza to check in. We stood in a short line, and Angela chatted with us about our stay. She worked hard to ensure tax exempt forms were filed appropriately. We had the wrong forms, apparently, and she printed out the correct ones to ensure check-in went smoothly. She issued our hotel keys for our two rooms.

Lobby - Negative

When I arrive at a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express, I have hope of finding cold water in the lobby. Instead, there were only sodas at cost. In the mornings and evenings, I looked for coffee. There was none to be found. Everything, you had to pay for. It was quite a disappointment and let-down. The customary experience for every hotel I've been in is free coffee, cold water, which you can imagine is essential in hot Texas weather. 

Aside from Angela, the lady who checked us in, the actual manager (a bearded man) was snooty. Every manager I tried to speak to make aware of complaints articulated below listened coldly, in spite of the fact I approached them politely. I finally had enough on Sunday evening and complained loudly (out of character for me) to the front desk. I had to wait in line to do this. I asked if I could give my complaint to the man in the back office, but the restaurant manager lied and said there was no one back there. I could clearly see the person and noticed when he got up and left.

My final impression of front desk staff? They didn't give a darn about the customers. We were just money-making machines for them.

Rooms - Negative

Room #1: When we arrived at my colleague's room, the room appeared quite nice. Unfortunately, the door frame displayed a gap between door and frame. The deadbolt privacy lock was broken. We returned to the front desk and a different room was provided. The provided room was a spacious suite, albeit for handicapped folks. As you might imagine, this resulted in a different experience not congruent with my colleague's expectations. Also, the room lacked sufficient handtowels and facetowels.

Room #2: When I finally settled in my room, after about 30 minutes of trekking around from my colleague's room to the car back to my room to pick up luggage then back to her new room, I was exhausted. Some of my complaints about this room:

  • Tiny restroom. You couldn't sit on the toilet without pushing the shower curtain and positioning the door properly.
  • Cockroaches. I encountered a total of two cockroaches, one crawling around on the extra double bed and another on the counter where the television was placed. Cockroach hunting might become a thing at Crowne Plaza!
  • Silverfish. A grown silverfish found its way onto the bed. I killed it, but since this was my third creepy crawly, it makes you wonder.
  • Musty smell. The entire hotel has a musty smell, more evident in the hallways and rooms. I was in the 5500 wing and the odor was all-pervasive. After complaining about it, walking the hallways was like walking through a fog of aerosol that had been sprayed to deodorize the spaces.
  • Housekeeping. I typically choose to forego housekeeping. I don't like strangers going through my stuff, but while taking a nap on Sunday afternoon after events, I was awakened by loud talking. The housekeepers were having a convention in the room on the side of the bed (where I was sleeping). Since they were speaking in Spanish, I could understand the conversation. As I prepared to go back to sleep, a man's voice was YELLING at the housekeepers, telling them to get back to work. Also in Spanish. I was quite irritated at their antics and I was angry on behalf of the housekeepers who had to put up with such a yelling supervisor.
  • Swimming Pool. Since my room was in the 5500 wing, it was near the pool. On Saturday night, at approximately 11:03pm, a rambunctious group of people (perhaps drunk) was yelling. The women, with men encouraging them, were yelling about anal, vaginal sex, etc. It was loud enough that it woke me up. I expected someone to say something but this carried on until 11:20pm. I was able to go to sleep in spite of the noise. 

Meeting Rooms

As I mentioned, we were here for a conference event. I made sure to share information with the organizers so they could avoid it. "I would never bring my family to stay here," was one of the remarks made. Indeed. I wish I had spent the money for this stay at a local Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn.

Some of the specific complaints about meeting rooms:
  • Broken chairs in the large meeting room
  • Musty odor and smelly rooms
Hallways and doors connecting hallways had broken locks, and the doors did not open fully...maybe 75% of the way with some effort, creaking all along.

Recommendation

Based on my experiences, I strongly recommend that you do NOT stay at Crowne Plaza or book any events at this location. These are MY opinions based on what I observed and experienced.




Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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