Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Happened to Iloilo's Premier Hotel?

I attended a week long seminar in Iloilo with 3 other co-workers and we were quite excited about it thinking it will be a nice break from work.  Indeed, it was a break from routine but not necessarily a good one :(  The seminar venue was Iloilo's Premier Hotel and the last time I stayed here was in the mid-90's when it was still relatively new.  So I was excited to come back to the hotel which gave me many fun memories.  To my dismay, it has become a shadow of what it was before.  The seminar hall was located on the second floor where a renovation was going on. I could not understand what management was thinking of!  The noise from the hammers, the smell from the paint was terrible. It was also quite warm because the AC's were not strong enough.  The secretariat was trying to stop the carpenters from all that hammering and they did...only to shift to painting which nauseated most of the participants.  By noon, we "asked" to transfer to another room. The first day ended at about 4 PM and we went to check in.  The assigned rooms were in the old wing and it wouldn't have been so bad if this old wing was well maintained.  On the way to the rooms, the carpeted corridors were dark, smelly and dusty...I was sneezing along the way.  The room assigned to us was way down...and it also had an old and musty smell. The room except for the small TV, beds and lamp table was bare, no hangers or even a place to hang clothes, the linens were clean but the pillows were the small not very comfortable foam type, there were no towels in the bath, the toilet seat cover was wooden and moving and the AC although cool, was dusty.  I and my companions took one look around and decided, we need to upgrade.  Now this is a live-in seminar, so we asked front desk, if we upgrade to a better room, can we just pay the difference?  Thankfully, they agreed and we hurriedly moved out to check into their "corporate" wing. We checked into room 310.  It was "better" but way below standards...in other words, it was tolerable.  This time, the room had a small fridge, drawers, closet and hangers.  There was a veranda and a breakfast table.  The bathroom was functional but the bath curtain was not very clean. Hot and cold water was available but when you use the shower, water drops were also coming out of the ceiling...yuck!  There were still no towels and we were informed that the hotel run out of it and delivery will still be at around 9 PM.  I decided to go down the coffee shop where there was free wifi (you have to pay if you want to use the wifi in the room) and waste my time until the towels arrive.  I went up at around 9:00, still no towels.  Housekeeping called at about 9:15 to ask if we still needed the towels...huh?  By 11 PM, I was sleepy and decided to give them another call, asking them where are the d__m towels! Soon they were at the door apologizing...I just opened the door enough to hand out my hand to get the towels...arghhhh!  By the end of the next day, I made a list on why I will never come back to stay in this hotel. According to its website it was awarded Best Hotel in 2006 DOT Excellence Awards...so what happened in the last 4 years? 

Related Post: The List

2 comments:

  1. There are newer albeit smaller hotels in Iloilo, but I don't think they're really any better in terms of travel standards and customer service. There needs to be a substantial change in mindsets, particularly because Iloilo is a good tourism destination. I label our current paradigm as ' ampaw' - good at the outside, nothing much in the inside. We still go for window dressing, which is why we still see plastic and artificial plants that gather dust in the corners of the hotel rooms. Plastics everywhere, pati customer service plastic!

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  2. it's terribly sad for this hotel to deteriorate to this level. I think even the smaller ones are a tad better.

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