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  • The Storyteller

Case Review: Maison Rouge, Strasbourg (Autograph Collection)

Day 1:

We arrived a week before Christmas to enjoy this city, also known as the "Capital of Christmas" apparently, with its numerous festive markets dotted all around.

The centrally located hotel was less than 10 minutes on foot from the train station and we arrived few hours before the official check-in time of 4pm. Our plan was to store our luggage and head out for lunch in the meanwhile.

At check-in, employee Edouard welcomed us warmly and carried out the necessary formalities. He smiled genuinely and sustained eye contact with both of us when asking about our trip and when sharing hotel information.

He informed us of the official check-in time and that as hotel was running very high occupancy during this festive period, he apologised that there were no ready rooms available just yet. After obtaining our phone number during the registration process, he indicated our preference to be contacted via WhatsApp should the room be ready earlier. He then provided a city map and gave a brief overview of the key sights and nearby eateries.

Edouard made use feel appreciated and welcomed.

(We didn't receive the anticipated text but understood the room could not be made ready earlier. Upon returning to the hotel at 4.05pm, we learnt that there was a computer glitch which the engineer was still working on. This affected some of the key card access to the rooms, apparently. We had someone escort us to our room and our keys worked just fine too.)

Day 2:

Early morning around 5am, my husband called the Front Desk to enquire if they have any medicine for headaches - such as aspirin or ibuprofen - and that I had no drug allergy. Understandably, they were unable to dispense medication to the guests, but referred us to either the nearest pharmacy which opens at 8.30am, or one which was open 24 hours but a 20-minute taxi ride away.

Eventually, my husband found out through Internet, another pharmacy which was 7 minutes' walk away that opens at 8am. He was the first customer right at its opening time and purchased the over-the-counter medication which thankfully eased my persistent headache within 30 minutes.

After some further rest, we headed to the hotel's breakfast on first floor. The buffet selection was small but of good quality. The employee taking care of us had a cheerful disposition.

When we returned to our room, we saw a trolley of amenities near our room and passed by the Housekeeper who was servicing the checked-out unit two doors away. We informed that we did not require any Servicing today, but would like to have some fresh towels and water. We told her we would be in our room for the next 30 minutes and she replied affirmatively.

Five minutes later, the doorbell rang and it was another Housekeeping attendant. The woman asked if we would like our room serviced. We repeated our request and received the items right away.

Day 3:

We came back to the room around 5pm and saw that the bottled water had not been topped up. No one picked up the line when we tried calling the Housekeeping, so we dialled Duty Manger for the request. The employee readily obliged.

After 35 minutes, my husband redialled and spoke to the same employee, informing her that we had yet to receive the bottles. She explained that "as there is only one person in that department now, maybe he needs more time. So please wait and I will call him again to check."

Nothing happened for another 40 minutes and we left the room to head out for our dinner. We first stopped by at the Front Desk and explained the situation to receptionist Camille. She looked at us and nodded gently, without offering any apology or words of assurance. As we had now placed the Do Not Disturb sign right before stepping out of our room, the person would now be unable to enter and place the requested bottles in our room. Hence, we asked if these could be placed at the counter so that we did not have to request and risk waiting for long while again upon our return.

Camille said she would place the two bottles of water at her counter for our retrieval later that evening. We thanked her by name and left. There was no further offer of service or positive closing at the end of the interaction.

Two and half hours later, we returned to the hotel. Camille was by the reception counter but did not seem to recognise initially. My husband said, "Earlier we had asked for...." and she exclaimed midway "Oh! I will go and get the bottles", before heading up the stairs to the breakfast outlet. Camille came back down in less than two minutes and passed us the necessary, without a word.

Back in the room, we realised that the cotton pad and ear buds have not been topped up from the previous evening (not this evening since the DND sign was on). We needed them, but just did not want to deal with any further request and waiting right then.

Day 4:

Day of check-out and all went as expected, in a functional sense. There was no surprises to the bill (good), but no particular positive memory nor complaints. That is, unless we consider the lack of name use and invite to return, a little disappointing for this final encounter at the supposed 5-star property?

Service Bank: What are the deposits and withdrawals? What is the net balance for you?

Reflective thoughts: What is the main takeaway (learning) from this case review for you? How could team member Camille make a positive difference and help add to the Service Bank?

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