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  • The Storyteller

Case Review: Kempinski Budapest

  • At check-in, I was surprised when we were not offered to be shown to the room, nor was rooming provided. (-3)

  • I had crumpled my boarding pass in front of the receptionist and muttered to my husband that I would find a dustbin for it. However, there was a lack of intuition to assist me with that. (-1)

  • The porter was very friendly. He mentioned some places may be closed on Boxing Day and recommended "our very good concierge". (+1)

  • Upon being given gratuity, the porter bowed his head slightly and said, "That's very kind of you" before wishing us a very good stay. Somehow, we thought it sounded more gracious than the usual "Thank you". (+1)

  • Concierge was competent and confident, but did not personalise the interaction nor come across as being warm and friendly. Besides, guest name was not used even when room number was obtained to make the restaurant booking. (-1).

  • When we asked the Concierge if a particular restaurant was good, he replied sternly while looking somewhere behind us (perhaps at a colleague or other guests) with, "It is good." There was no demonstration of further knowledge about the place, its signature dishes, or any other further information. The lack of warmth and eye contact was also a disappointment. (-3)

  • When we eventually receive a call back to confirm our dinner reservation, guest name was not used. (This matters even more when calling the guest room.) (-1). Furthermore, we were told that our desired restaurant was fully booked, without automatically suggesting alternatives. (-3)

  • We stopped by the reception and asked if they had some glue as there was a small gap in my boots. The employee opened up a drawer to check and passed us an almost depleted mini tube. When I asked if he had more, he simply responded with, "It's all that I have." I prompted for him to check with Engineering or Housekeeping. Clear case of lack of empathy. (15 minutes later, someone from Engineering department came to our room to deliver a small tube of glue, although he did not utter a single word at all - not even hello.) (-3)

  • Hotel restaurant: while staff was friendly, we noted that they were all wearing different brands of sneakers, which did not seem to fit the professional grooming of a 5-star hotel. (-1)

  • We requested scotch tape from the Guest Service. Similar to the glue request, we were informed, "That's all we have" before I suggested that they check with another department. Come on, folks! Have some initiative to help the guests. We are starting to wonder why the responses sound so scripted each time: "That's all I/we have". (-3)

  • Wake-up call was good. During both call placement and delivery, the operator addressed guest by name and provided a positive closing. (+1)

  • Housekeeping missed on many small details both during servicing and turndown. E.g. Bathroom glasses not cleaned as toothpaste stains remained, bathroom toiletries not tidied, shoes left unpaired, amenities such as shower gel not topped up, remote control and laundry list were left in an untidy manner on the table, etc. (-3)

  • During check-out, many required standards were amiss. E.g. receptionist was not aware that late check-out had already been granted till 1.30pm (lack of seamless communication); the bill was not printed out for us to verify; there was no invite to return (lack friendliness); we were not addressed by names at all (not personalised); there was no offer of assistance with luggage and transfer (lack intuitive service). (-3)

Things we appreciated:

  • Booklet on local sights/places recommended by various employees, complete with their photos.

  • Confirmation card for restaurant booking had footer line recommending guests to try out hotel's Fox Bar upon return after the meal.

  • Wake-up call: complimentary coffee and tea, along with pastries are offered (as per Kempinski brand standard)

Other things we did not appreciate:

  • Internet: Log-in has to be done every 24 hours. This means more hassle for the guests.

  • No cups/plates/cutlery/coffee or tea provided or set up in the room (And this was not during Covid times). Missing these basic amenities compromised on the supposed sense of luxury.

Reflective thoughts: How could the above minuses be resolved and worked on such that they would not occur again? If there is nothing that can be done about the 24-hour re-log in, what can the team do to minimise the minus/withdrawal of the Service Bank?

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