The Four Seasons Austin is frustrating. It is a beautiful property staffed by energetic fresh faced people. The setting is among the best in the chain. The food is excellent and the bar is lively. But, there is a common theme that plagues this hotel. Many of the people on the staff are not practiced at the art of listening.
Listening is perhaps the most important thing one can do in the service industry. Otherwise, one might presume to know what the customer wants when one does not. That pretty much typifies the Four Seasons Austin experience.
If you approach the service at the Four Seasons Austin with the foreknowledge that they seldom listen to what you are saying, you will be prepared for the experience. For instance, it is a rare room service order that will be delivered as requested. If you ask for a bucket of ice, you might get a glass of ice. If you specify yellow mustard, they will bring you Dijon mustard. If you order Coke, you might get Pepsi.
But, the experience does not end with room service. The Four Seasons claims to record guest preferences in a computer system that ought to allow them to know what a guest likes before the guest arrives. Yet, I am convinced no one ever reads the customer information. And, if you ask for something special, know that you are likely to get something close. Order a fan, you might get a heater. Ask for a freezer, you might get a refrigerator. Call and ask for your room to me made up immediately and it might happen that afternoon. Eat something from the mini bar and do not expect it to be replaced during your stay (which is odd since they make money when guests eat that stuff and it is hard to eat it when it is not there).
There are some tremendous folks at the Four Seasons Austin. Geroge has been at the front door for as long as I can remember and he is terrific. He greets returning guests by name and he could teach a course on customer service.The guys who work the front door in their burnt orange t-shirts have solved the propblem of getting your car back quickly that once was an issue. They are eager and aim to please and offer directions and water with every vehicle.
The front desk crew is earnest and attractive but sometimes inept. For instance, I have seen them send a very large man to a room with twin beds without once asking whether he really wanted them. He did not and he returned to the front desk where he expressed his unhappiness about that in no uncertain terms. The point is that if the front desk attendant had stopped to think, even for a moment, it would never have happened. Thinking goes hand in hand with listening.
Now, Liz, one of the folks at the concerige desk, listens. Not only does she listen, but she sticks with a problem, communicates effectively with guests by email and mobile phone, and does it all with a smile. If everyone at the Four Seasons Austin was as good a listener as Liz, the place would be five star.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At Four Seasons Hotel Austin, luxurious accommodations and superb amenities are underlined by gracious Texas hospitality and five-star service. Centrally located in the heart of downtown Austin, perched on the shores of Lady Bird Lake and surrounded by lush gardens, the resort-like Hotel provides a convenient base for those looking to experience all the city has to offer, from upscale shopping on 2nd Street and dining on South Congress to sightseeing and outdoor pursuits on the adjacent Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail. A combination of comfort and elegance, the Hotel's 294 guest rooms - including 33 suites - offer views of either the lake or Austin's vibrant downtown cityscape. Services such as twice-daily housekeeping, in-room dining, dry cleaning and laundry and a 24-hour Concierge ensure guests enjoy a stress-free and productive stay. Diners savor prime steaks, fresh seafood and a world-class wine list in TRIO, the Hotel's award-winning modern steakhouse, featuring a chic dining room as well as unparalleled al fresco dining on the restaurant's lakeview terrace. Known locally as "Austin's Living Room," the Lobby Lounge offers guests a convenient spot to gather with friends for beer, wine, signature cocktails and light fare, or a post-dinner nightcap complete with live music, which is offered several nights a week. Guests seeking relaxation and rejuvenation can spend the day in the outdoor saltwater pool, working out in the 24-hour Fitness Center or relaxing with a soothing massage, body treatment or facial in The Spa. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 4 Seasons Hotel Austin
- Four Seasons Austin
- Austin Four Seasons
- Four Seasons Hotel Austin Texas