September 18, 2009

1051 words 5 mins read

Dinah's Garden Hotel: Stay Somewhere Else

Recently stayed at Dinah’s Garden Hotel in Palo Alto, CA. I chose to stay there because it was rather close to the wedding I was attending, a fellow wedding guest and friend was staying there, and because the prices were comparable to a nearby Westin hotel (a group of hotels that I also dislike, but that is a tale for another day).

If you poke around their website you might notice that it does indeed appear to be pretty fancy. I ended up choosing the King Executive Lanai Suite, the confirmation email contained the description:

Are located on the lagoon with view of tropical gardens or in our all suites building with view our gardens. These premium suites include either fireplaces, a Jacuzzi Tub or Steam-Shower, exercise bike, at your finger tip light controls, unique interior designs, designer furniture, Dinah’s Robes & Slippers, in addition to the other amenities we have mentioned.

Additionally, I noted that I would be attending a wedding the day I was checking in and would prefer an early check in along with a Jacuzzi Tub. I booked this about 2 weeks in advance and had hoped to hear back from them regarding my requests. Didn’t happen. Not shocking or anything, but annoying nonetheless.

I was only staying there for one night, however my friend and fellow wedding guest was there all week. When I saw him I asked about the accommodations, he hesitated and then said it was “okay” and that it was annoying that you had to pay for internet and that the accommodations were somewhat lacking compared to what he was expecting. This slightly worried me.

As I am headed toward the hotel, I call and ask about my early check in and they say, sure we can let you in half an hour early… I said fine and drove on down, showing up an hour before check in and they were willing to accommodate me. Great, much appreciated.

As she is encoding my room keys, I ask, “this room has the jacuzzi tub like I asked for, right?” She goes, “oh, no, did you ask for that?”


Then she says, “we have one with a jetted tub, but it has a Queen sized bed instead of a King, is that alright?”

I say to her, “That’s fine, is that the only difference?”

She says yes and gives me the keys along with directions to the room.

Drive to the underground parking, take the elevator up to the first floor and head over to room 811, the Providence Suite. Go in, take a look around and notice that the “jetted tub” was in fact a deeper than normal bath tub that did in fact have jets, but it was a one person situation (rather than what I have come to think of as the 2 person standard for jacuzzi tubs). A bit lame, but nothing said it was made for more than one.

Off to the wedding for several hours, get back a little after midnight, no parking near the room; have a headache, but no stuff in my bag for it. Head over to the hotel lobby, which is locked, with no key card reader… knock on the glass and the attendant looks up and buzzes me in. I ask him if they have ibuprofen and he points me to the display case of merchandise. I grab a tube of Advil and reach to pay him and he says he will just charge it to my room (it isn’t an offer) and asks for my room number and how much it costs, three times. I don’t know if he was having a bad day or what (frankly I don’t care), but he was a dick. Plain and simple. He acted _incredibly_ put upon about having to sell me a few Advil and looked utterly disgusted with me requiring it.

Back to the room, and off to bed. Wake up next morning, the internet is apparently complimentary but you have to use a hardwire and restart your computer in order to get it to work (something that I had to go back to the lobby to find out — which I was headed to in search of some sort of free breakfast type foods, but alas none were to be had).

Come back to the room and start filling up the tub, I figure that at least will be decent and allow me to relax while reading The Hero of Ages on my Kindle (third book in the Mistborn series and very enjoyable thus far).

I go to turn on the jets and… nothing. I fiddle with knobs, I press buttons, nothing. Yet another lameness to add to the list. This was about the time I realized that the entire hotel was made of suck and an all around disappointment. And no, I didn’t call down and ask them about it. I was already in the tub and trying to relax, not getting out to get to a phone to call the lobby to have them tell me to do the exact same thing I just did. And especially not having them come to my room to come look at it.

It wasn’t until I was writing this that I realize that I got downgraded on my room for absolutely ZERO discount. The room overlooked other parts of the hotel. There was 1 robe there (every hotel I have ever stayed at has had at least 2 robes in the room) and no slippers.

This is not the most expensive hotel I’ve ever stayed at, nor is it the cheapest, however I expect that when I check in to a hotel that I get service commensurate with the cost ($149 before taxes). I further expect that if my room is not the room that I had reserved that I will in some way be compensated. I have found this to be a fairly standard policy basically everywhere I have ever stayed. “Sorry, we don’t have the room you reserved, let us upgrade you for free” seems to be the most common response.

In summary, don’t stay at Dinah’s Garden Hotel in Palo Alto, CA and warn anyone you know that if they are staying in the area that they should stay somewhere else.