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“What Is The Sound of One Hand Clapping?”

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Four Seasons Hotel Austin
Ranked #8 of 201 Hotels in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 11 April 2012

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.

Room Tip: You want a lakeview. The junior suites facing the lake are great,
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank Gutreaction
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fsaustin, General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Austin, responded to this reviewResponded 12 April 2012

Dear Gutreaction,
Thank you, I hear your comments loud and clear and appreciate you taking the time to share your frustrations, as well as a few examples of employees who DO get you right.

Good service is dependent on good listening and we try to teach our employees to listen both with their ears as well as with their eyes, since often guest preferences are communicated without words. Your example proves that, and shows that we still have some room for improvement in this regard. I will be sharing your review in upcoming staff meetings since your points provide an important reminder to us all.

If you'd like to share anything further, please don't hesitate to contact me directly at rob.hagelberg@fourseasons.com or (512) 685-8035. Thank you again for giving us this constructive criticism...and hopefully the opportunity in the future to show you that we've taken it to heart!

Sincerely,
Rob Hagelberg
General Manager

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1,523 - 1,529 of 1,837 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2012

We came here for the easter weekend and were greatly disappointed by our room. In a nutshell, it's a hotel in dire need of a remodel. It feels old, it smells old and it looks stale. Aside from all that, the rooms are very small. The only redeeming quality is the view from balcony (small balcony with no privacy). Service was friendly, on check in we requested a roll away bed for our child and it took them 2 hours and a follow up call to arrive. The back lawn is beautiful but the pool is a joke. The pool is much smaller than it appears online and it just looks sadly out of date. This will be the last time we stay here.

Room Tip: If you must stay here get a balcony but don't expect privacy as you are literally arms length fr...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank PhillWC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fsaustin, General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Austin, responded to this reviewResponded 12 April 2012

Dear PhillWC,
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns about your recent stay at Four Seasons Hotel Austin. I appreciate your positive feedback about the view and our friendly staff, but was sorry to hear about your frustrations with the room and service.

Typically we deliver requested rollaway beds during turndown (between 5-8pm) to minimize interruptions to our guests, but if your son is younger we should have clarified if you would need the bed immediately, so I apologize for that oversight.

While we can't change the size of our rooms - which are actually on par with the size of hotel rooms throughout Austin - your comment about the room smelling "musty" was concerning. If you are amenable, I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you further so that we can identify the room you stayed in and ensure it is up to Four Seasons standards.

Sincerely,
Rob Hagelberg, General Manager
(512) 685-8035
rob.hagelberg@fourseasons.com

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Reviewed 6 April 2012

Let me begin by saying that my wife and I got married at the Four Seasons 5 years ago. As an aside,we worked with Meredith the wedding sales coordinator who is fabulous! We Arrived at the Hotel early Friday and were greeted by one of my favorite lobby and bar areas of any hotel, and I've travelled extensively. The Four Seasons Austin has mastered relaxed luxury and I don't know how they do it, but the smell of the hotel upon entering immediately takes you to some sort of place of zen. Seriously, if they could bottle the smell of this place ... Sign me up as a buyer! The front desk personnel were so friendly and helpful, wished us a happy anniversary and welcomed us back to the hotel. We stayed in a beautiful lake view room on the seventh floor and what a spectacular view it is ... It reminds you why people move to Austin after just one visit. Immediately, chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of my wife's favorite, Prosecco, arrived as a welcome gift from the hotel ... The Four Seasons wrote the book on service and this was just another example of how they do it right.

We went downstairs to Trio to grab a drink and enjoy the magnificent outdoor patio/grounds that make this hotel so magical. To my surprise, they had a killer Happy Hour with half-priced wines and $5 appetizers (fried brussels and the tuna were amazing). Within an hours time the Four Seasons had us transported from parents of two young kids to relaxation mode as we sipped Sauvignon blanc on adirondack chairs watching the sunset on beautiful Lady Bird Lake. We returned to our rooms as we were grabbing dinner at a restaurant in town. The staff was so helpful with transportation and it never ceases to amaze me how friendly everyone is -- even the housekeeping staff!

The beds were as comfortable as you can find and the pillows were perfect. Our stay was fabulous and my wife and I discussed how lucky Austin is to have a Four Seasons hotel in the middle of downtown. Such a treat! I know the W is new in town and people think the San Jose or St Cecillia are cool, hip places to go, but there is no better hotel experience in the city than the Four Seasons. If you are spending the money, I have no concept of why anyone would consider somewhere else ... This place understands luxury, understands the service you expect when paying a premium. It's simply the best ... Period!

The management at the hotel could not be nicer and more helpful ... They are lucky to have people like Marlon Davis and Christie Ingram ... Thank you guys for treating us so well.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sean G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2012

I stayed here for a few days while having my place painted. The service was pretty good, a tad aloof, but very competent. The public areas are really showing their age by both the decor and wear and tear. I guess the design is someones idea of Texas chic, but it's tired and very beige, lots of beige. The rooms are standard luxury hotel, comfortable but rather generic. A nice property - no doubt, just not overly memorable.

Room Tip: It's worth the xtra $$ to get a lake-view room.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled solo
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Thank Drujon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2012

I went for a business trip and plan on going back for a longer stay. The lobby bar is such a beautiful space and the restaurant Trio is fantastic. The bed was really comfortable and the staff was very well dressed and professional.

Room Tip: room 215 had a fantastic view of the Lake
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled on business
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Thank leftee8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2012

So, there we were having an after dinner drink in the lounge . . . music was playing, the people watching was at a premium and then the most GIGANTIC cockroach climbed across my husband's shirt! We both jumped up off the sofa where we were sitting and I went directly to the waitress to tell her what had happened. My husband had spilled his drink and had soaked his shirt and slacks . . . I looked like a permanently plucked chicken after seeing that nasty thing crawl on my hubby! Well, the waitress apologized . . . the manager apologized and then we were charged for two drinks and not even an offer to pay for dry cleaning! This is the FOUR SEASONS . . . excellent service? Needless to say, we won't be going back for after dinner drinks anytime in the near future . . . if I want something to crawl on me I can go down on Town Lake and just wait for the inevitable!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Mis_Adventurous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fsaustin, General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Austin, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2012

Dear Mis_Adventurous,
I appreciate you taking the time to express your concern regarding your recent experience in the Lobby Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel Austin. Immediately after reading your review, I spoke with our Lounge manager who recalled the incident and said he thought he’d left your side with the impression that you were okay and did not require further attention. Obviously this was not the case, and I’m sorry we didn’t handle the situation as well as should be expected at a Four Seasons.

First, let me assure you that our Lounge manager did follow up with both our overnight cleaning service as well as our pest control company to initiate a thorough sweep of the Lounge. Second, we would like to cover the expense you incurred dry cleaning your shirt and slacks. This should have been offered at the time of the incident, and I apologize that it was not.

Please feel free to contact me directly (512-685-8035 or rob.hagelberg@fourseasons.com) so that I can arrange your reimbursement, as well as so I may invite you back personally to experience the Lobby Lounge as most people know and love it.

Sincerely,
Rob Hagelberg
General Manager

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Reviewed 2 April 2012

Everytime I stay in Austin for business, I use the Four Seasons Hotel Austin! It is the perfect hotel to stay and conduct business! It's has such a great draw for my clients, I end up "holding court" in the lobby bar and TRIO as my clients are thrilled to come to me instead of traveling to see them! My trip ends with great success and future sales. The hotel staff is exceptional from the front drive, concierge, servers, front office and housekeeping staff. I love the Four Seasons Hotel Austin and look forward to my return visit!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Martha D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Address: 98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701-4082
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Texas > Austin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Austin
#3 Business Hotel in Austin
#3 Luxury Hotel in Austin
#8 Family Hotel in Austin
#10 Romantic Hotel in Austin
#13 Green Hotel in Austin
Price Range: £328 - £825 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Hotel Austin 5*
Number of rooms: 294
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

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