Last Saturday night - Aug 2, 2014 - the hotel staff of Pier One Sydney Harbour refused to honour an accommodation voucher I bought for my sister and her husband last Christmas. They had reserved a room on July 29 and were asked for a credit card to secure the booking. Thinking this odd, my sister contacted me. On July 29, I rang the reservations desk of Pier One Sydney Harbour, explained the situation, and was assured that all was well with the voucher. I repeated the number of the voucher and was again reassured that it was fine. Little did we know.
My sister and her husband drove to Sydney from Canberra on the occasion of his birthday, looking forward to their night on the harbour in the "waterside king room" I'd given them for Christmas. It was a bed & breakfast package that cost me $430. In the print-out I gave them, the letter began, "Dear Guest and went on to note that all reservations are "subject to availability, block-out dates, minimum night stays and booking conditions may apply". It did not clearly state that the voucher was valid for six months. To find this, you had to use a magnifying glass.
My unsuspecting sister and her husband turn up to the Pier One Sydney Harbour in the early afternoon of Aug 2 to find chaos in the reception area. When it is finally their turn, the staff member is strangely reluctant to process their reservation. Scrutinising their voucher, she suddenly exclaims, "Oh dear, this voucher is invalid."
She calls over her colleague, Clementine Dickey, who says firmly, "This is an Accor voucher and this is now a Marriott hotel (aka Autograph Collection). We can take no responsibility. The Accor office is closed today, and so there is nothing we can do." (The Sebel Pier One was sold to the Marriot chain earlier this year. Apparently nobody thought to inform the voucher holders.)
I spoke to Ms Dickey on the phone for a good 20 minutes and she was resolute in her decision not to honour the voucher. It made no difference that the couple standing before her had driven from Sydney, nor that other staff at the hotel had reassured me the previous Tuesday that the voucher was fine. Indeed Ms Dickey was noticeably unsympathetic to our predicament.
She mentioned in passing that "they'd had to deal with a lot of these vouchers."
It is shabby treatment for a hotel to turn away guests who arrive in good faith that all will be well. What would the Marriott chain have lost by choosing to honour the voucher? Would it have made a dent in their annual profit?
I bought a room on Wotif at the Shangri La for my sister & her husband, for almost the same price as the voucher ($420). We met them to celebrate the birthday boy and spent $150 on drinks; they went on to buy dinner at the Shangri La.
None of us will ever step foot in to the Pier One Sydney Harbour again, nor do we have any wish to stay in a Marriott hotel, aka Autograph Collection. And many of my friends were surprised at the Marriott's refusal to honour the voucher - they will remember it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection is ideally located on the magnificent Sydney waterfront close to the Southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Boutique in size, our hotel features 189 unique federation style rooms with contemporary chic furnishings. Located in the heart of the Rocks, our hotel offers the perfect accommodation for exploring Sydney or getting friends together for a special event or wedding. The Gantry Restaurant & Bar offers its guests the ultimate open air dining experience with full panoramic views of Walsh Bay. Our luxury Sydney Harbour hotel's accommodations also offer a smoke-free environment, valet parking and 24-hour security. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Sebel Pier One Sydney Hotel Sydney
- Sebel Pier 1 Sydney
- Sebel Pier One Hotel Sydney
- Pier One Sydney
- Sydney Sebel Pier One