Never stay here. Never host an event here. My husband and I live in the area and wanted to do a weekend getaway to the Shangri La, and also entertain some friends on 4th of July. I called in to book a one bedroom suite with a kitchen (as described on the hotel website). I spoke to Zack, who claimed to be the head of reservations. I explained to him that I lived locally, and wanted to host 15 people for Saturday afternoon in a one bedroom suite that faced the ocean. After speaking extensively with him about my plans for this small party, he literally said, "No problem. Bring whomever you want, whatever you want." He said he made notes in my reservation.
At this point, I believed I had found a great location to host our event. Zack promised us that he would make a special request for a full oceanfront view, and told us that no other suites had been booked whatsoever. This was FOUR days prior to our arrival. I anticipated there would be no problem in getting the best suite available that day.
Given that the head of reservations (i.e. Zack) had said our party plans were "no problem," we arrived at the hotel with food and alcohol to serve out guests. Upon our arrival, we were told that the alcohol would be taken away and stored in a locked area, and a large security guard followed us to our room as though we were criminals. He looked through our bags and removed our beverages. A huge invasion of privacy and handled very unprofessionally. I was almost in tears. Am I supposed to believe that hotel guests with kitchens are not allowed to have a glass of wine in their room? By the way, plenty of alcohol (wine, liquor, etc.) was available for purchase in the room at exorbitant prices.
Upon check in, we were ALSO told that it was hotel policy to have no more than 6 people in a room at once. WHAT? If anything, the head of reservations had been enthusiastic about our plans to host guests in our room. I was completely honest when making the reservation, and he even approved my guest count!!! Had I know about this so called policy, I would never have chosen to stay at the Shangri La. Most of our guests were to be lawyers, doctors, and other professionals, and the hotel treated us as though we were criminals.
We were then given a key to a room without a kitchen, no sitting room, and 2 bedrooms. Again, we were baffled by this, after having made a special request for a kitchen and notes regarding the party. By the way, if you check the hotel website, a kitchen is actually included in the room description for this particular room.
With only 10 minutes before our friends were supposed to arrive, my husband and I went back downstairs to the front desk to request the correct room, at which point we were told all the suites were booked (the same ones that had all been available 4 days prior). While the front desk clerk escorted us to a new room, another hotel guest greeted her by first name, and thanked her for upgrading him to a suite with an oceanfront view. He then told her he had a great cocktail party in his room the night before!!! It turns out the hotel had upgraded guests that had paid for standard rooms (not suites). Meanwhile, I had paid full price for a suite with a kitchen, and made a special request for a small party and an oceanfront view. None of our requests were noted, or given any regard whatsoever. After a stressful check in process and room changes, we ended up in a suite with a kitchen, at the end of a long hall. We had only a small, partial view of the ocean. Not at all what we had paid for or discussed with the hotel.
A few of our friends arrived, and it was extremely hard for my husband and I to relax and have fun. My husband went back downstairs to ask the hotel to consider allowing us a few bottles of wine to share with our friends (again, because we had relied on the information give at the time of booking). The reservation clerk told my husband that he should speak to the head of security, which was managed by an "independent company." My husband spoke to the security head, who promised he would try to procure our wine from the "locked closet," and would come to our room in a few minutes to let us know what could be done. Of course, no one ever came to our room that afternoon to check on us. Big surprise there!
I should also mention that the room had been remodeled, but they obviously cut corners, and it showed. The windows were old, and had bird poop on the exterior. There were only 4 towels in the entire room. The rugs were completely stained. The walls were chipped and scraped. The kitchen did not contain a single utensil, bowl, etc for guests. I seriously doubt most guests are bringing their own kitchen utensils, bowls, plates, etc while traveling! The furniture on the balcony was old, and dirty with bird droppings. Nothing like the photos depicted on the website!
In the end, we left the hotel without even staying the night. We were just too miserable to stay any longer. Upon checking out, we told the nighttime reservation clerk (there had been a shift change since we checked in) about our reasons for leaving early. I fully expected a discount on the room rate. However, he said he wasn't there during the day, as if he was not personally at fault. I told him that this was not personal, but it was his problem, since he was a representative of the hotel and the only person of the front desk at that time. That was his job! He said he would relay a message to the general manager, who never called us back.
Two days later, my husband took it upon himself to call the general manager about a rate reduction, given our terrible experience. The general manager said he must speak with the hotel owner, and would get back to us the next day. Guess what? It's been 2 weeks, and we have not received that call back!
This was supposed to be a nice local getaway for us, but it became disappointment after disappointment, beginning to end. The head of reservations obviously wanted to secure my booking, and lied to me about hotel policy. We were given the wrong room, and charged full price. No one followed up, or attempted to accommodate us, after promising they would. Our bags were searched and our property was confiscated. We were by no means treated as guests. We were not offered any type of room reduction and the general manager (head of the entire hotel) would not even return our calls!
Don't ever stay here, unless you want to be treated like a common criminal!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Overlooking the Pacific since 1939, Hotel Shangri-La is a dramatic beacon of Art Deco beauty, Hollywood allure, and Los Angeles history. Perched on a high bluff, mere steps from the beach, this timeless Santa Monica boutique hotel has undergone a meticulous $30 million redesign -- promising you an idyllic haven of rejuvenation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Shangri La Santa Monica