Let me begin by saying that I work in the hospitality industry in Orlando, FL, so I don't like leaving bad reviews - I know from experience that mistakes happen, and I am generally very accommodating. However, my recent stay in the Staybridge Suites near the San Antonio Airport ventures into the bizarre. The sheer thoroughness of the disaster I have experienced among the customer service staff, combined with years of management in the industry, lead me to the conclusion that there is a very serious management problem in this establishment. The two stars I am rating this hotel are for the building itself - a unique and charming structure with white brick walls inside with clean and comfortable furniture and rooms (there is also secure parking, requiring a room key to pass in or out, which I appreciate). The second star is for the housekeeping staff, who are very friendly and competent.
I first checked in on Friday evening. I am sorry I don't remember the name of the front desk attendant, because while she was clearly overtaxed by the line of 4 people checking in and the constant ringing of the phone, she was quite efficient and professional. I mention the experience only because I was surprised that there was no one around to help either with the guests at the desk or on the phones on a night when the hotel was near capacity. (The person in front of me in line asked if there were rooms available, and she said she would have to look after she checked me in.)
I was checked in, and arrived at my room - very nice, as I said above. The next day I went downstairs to do laundry, a free service Staybridge offers it's guests. Two machines were out of order, but still three washers and three dryers were available, however the lint screens in the dryers appeared never to have been cleaned. There was a half inch of buildup on the screen in two machines, with substantial lint caught behind the screen in the machine. Due to the popularity of the hotel and it's laundry service, it was quite busy and it took a while for me to get all my loads finished. I mention this only because one of the front elevators appeared to be out of service, and the wait for the remaining lift sometimes stretched more than two minutes.
On our second night, we decided to see if we could extend our stay by an extra night, so I tried the front desk around 9 pm. There was no answer after a few dozen rings, so I pressed the reservations button, which connected me to a call center. The receptionist was friendly, but did not seem to understand what I was asking, and I eventually offered to try the front desk later. She supported this idea, and I hung up. I tried the front desk again, and waited on hold for over 3 minutes before giving up and watching a movie. I called back at the end of the night and was told I would have to speak to a manager in the morning.
In the morning, I called downstairs and asked if I could stay an extra night. After a fair bit of verbal fumbling, I gathered that I could be moved, and was asked when I would be able to move. I offered 11:00, check out time, and was told that would work fine. I said I would be down then to get a new key. At 11:00 I showed up at the front desk to find an unattended 5 year old, who went into the back. I heard conversation between the child and an adult, and after a few moments an attendant appeared. I explained that I was there to change rooms, and she seemed surprised. While she tied a balloon to a pen for the child, she called housekeeping to ask if my new room was ready. It was not. She said she would call me when it was ready, and I returned to my room.
An hour later, housekeeping knocked on my door and asked if I was checking out. I explained that I was to move to another room, but I was waiting for it to be ready. She left and I called the front desk, and was greeted by the wail of the aforementioned five year old. I reminded the attendant that I was waiting for a new room, and explained that housekeeping did not seem aware of my move.
I eventually was called back after 2pm, so I went downstairs to collect my key. The attendant, still preoccupied with the child, did not remember me from earlier. I reminded her that she had just called me, and she handed me a single key and told me I would be in room 905. She asked how much longer I would be staying, and I said just one night, to which she seemed surprised. She informed me that there was a conference room adjoining my new room, but that only I would have access to it. I had no complaints, and took a trolley upstairs to move my luggage.
The new room was perfectly nice, included a large balcony (too hot to enjoy it, unfortunately), and did, in fact, adjoin a conference room. There was strangely only 1 spoon in the kitchen, but otherwise the room is nice. I sat down to work, but within a half an hour the fire alarm in the building went off. My partner and I exited via 9 flights of stairs, and took a trip to the grocery store. By the time we returned the alarm had been disarmed, and there seemed to be no problems.
Unfortunately, a toddler and his father decided that they should play with a ball up and down the hallway for several hours in the afternoon, and the doors are rather thin to the hall, but I understand it is a family friendly environment, and I tried to just be amused.
However, at around 4:30, someone opened our door with a key - a teenager with luggage. The chain was on the door, and when I opened it to see what he wanted, he told me to hang on and answered his phone. I closed the door and called the front desk to inform them that someone had just opened my door. She said it was probably the manager, who had been asking about that room. I explained that it was a youth with luggage, and she told me she hadn't booked anyone else into the room. I hung up, and the teenager was gone from the door.
Just after 5 pm, housekeeping knocks on the door - they need to leave towels. I had not noticed, but it seems there had been no towels in the room. One housekeeper heads to the bathroom, and the other stands in the open doorway. After several minutes, the woman in the doorway says 'hurry up ladies", and the second woman finally emerges from the bathroom, where she had been stacking the towels on the back of the toilet as there is no rack in this bathroom.
At ten minutes to midnight, while watching a movie, someone tried to open the door with a key. Thankfully, the door is locked and bolted. They keep trying. I eventually open the door, and they have a key to the room and a check in envelope with my room number written on it. They leave and I call the front desk, where the attendant is shocked to hear that someone is in the room. I explain that I moved earlier from a different room, and it is explained that it wasn't put in the system, and hang up.
5 seconds later, the phone rings. "Hi, what room were you in?" "703" Ok. Thanks. Click.
Another 5 seconds, and the phone rings again. "Hi. I'm sorry, it's me again." He proceeds to ask my name (after guessing incorrectly), and says again that I'm not in the system. Annoyed, I try to explain that the person who transferred me was too busy playing with a 5 year old to handle the complications of my transferring rooms, but it falls on deaf ears. I try to point out that I am a frequent customer by saying that I am a Priority Club Member with nearly a quarter of a million points, but the attendant just wanted to know if I was paying with points.
Lastly, when I checked out the next morning and asked for a receipt of my charges to check the rate on the room, I was informed that they were waiting on IT and I could have it in an hour or so. I told the General Manager that I wanted to confirm my rate, and after a lot of flipping through papers, he told me he couldn't confirm it, but that I could wait an hour. I mentioned that someone had been given a key to my room twice the day before, but he didn't even look up from the papers to bat an eyelash.
Even with all the above SNAFUs, the most irritating thing I experienced in my three night stay was the internet. It's free, and it works, but you have to sign in fresh every time you open your computer, and more frustratingly, every time you open a new app on your phone. I eventually just shut off the wifi on my phone.
I sincerely hope that this review finds its way to the right people, and that action is taken to bring this hotel up to the standard I have experienced in Staybridge Hotels across the country, and that the level of customer service can rise to meet the really lovely standard the building sets.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC