I am a former business executive and a current military spouse that has tried to stay extensively at Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels. I am since retired and continue my loyalty to the IHG branding while traveling. Recently. I was totally humiliated and embarrassed by the staff and the accommodations of the Holiday Inn located in Gaithersburg Maryland.
I was traveling with my son and daughter-in-law and we required overnight accommodations in the Gaithersburg Maryland area on Sunday, June 1st 2014. My daughter-in-law is a doctor for the Navy and was wrapping up her time at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. My son and I were finishing packing up their belongs and when finished, gave the keys back to their landlord. We planned to stay overnight in the Gaithersburg area and begin traveling back to South Carolina the following morning. My daughter-in-law is an experienced traveler and enjoys staying at finer hotels like Peachtree and Weston brands. I assured her that if we stayed at a Holiday Inn hotel that the accommodations and staff would be as good if not better that similar more expensive hotels. My son and daughter-in-law have vowed never to stay in an IHG brand hotel again because of the experience we had.
We arrived at Holiday Inn Gaithersburg about 10:00pm and entered the lobby. One girl was working the front desk and was checking in a lady that seemed to have alot of questions. I could see the evening manager pacing about the lobby and continuously looking out the window. I was never acknowledged by either of them. In the past, I have been used to receiving an energetic greeting for simply walking into the hotel. I have approached front desks that are a flurry of activity and still received that simple acknowledgement that I was seen. The girl working the front desk never even glanced my direction.
We must have waited for over 10 minutes before a 2nd girl appeared in the lobby and asked if I was being helped. Politely, I stated that we were still waiting for assistance and this young woman went behind the counter to check us in. We were given a room on the fourth floor. The remaining check in process went smoothly.
We went up to the fourth floor to find our room and could not find our room number. Quizzically, we roamed the hallway looking for our non-existent room number. Finally, we were left with no choice but to go back down to the front desk and inquire about the room number. The same girl that checked us in was in the lobby and informed us that the hotel had two different towers and that we had used the wrong elevator. She directed us to the correct elevator and we were again on our way to our room. It is shameful that the front desk personnel would neglect to inform a traveler that only certain elevators could be used to access certain rooms. Maybe the suggestion should be made to put up signage indicating which elevator to use if the staff is unable to remember to inform the traveler.
At our room, we were greeting by the arctic chill of the air conditioner blasting frigid air in the room. The room was well below the normal average comfortable level usually set by the thermostat in most hotel chains. My daughter-in-law and opened the hallway door while I adjusted the temperature to a more comfortable level. Next, the smoke detector chirped. This chirp I attributed to a low battery and stated that I would call the front desk to have them rectify the detector after I used the bathroom. Then, in the bathroom, there was toilet paper already in the toilet. Disgusted, I attempted to flush the toilet and found it was already running slightly and would not flush at all. I "jiggled" the handle and was unable to figure out why the toilet was malfunctioning.
I called the front desk and spoke to the girl that helped us check in and told her about the temperature, smoke detector and the toilet. The young lady was very apologetic and offered to send up a maintenance person to rectify the smoke detector and toilet issue. I requested that I be transferred to another room. The young girl stated that she would be up to transfer us to another room momentarily. So we waited and waited.
Again, we called down to the front desk and we reached the same person that we had been dealing with all evening. Again, the young lady apologized for not coming up and assured us that she would arrive just as soon as she made sure that the new room was defect free. Again we waited and eventually we were escorted to a new room on the fifth floor. The toilet was old and flushed strangely it did indeed flush. Tired and very frustrated, we turned in for the night with no more unhappy events.
The following morning, we went downstairs to the lobby and inquired about breakfast. We were told that there was a buffet behind a partition that was $13.50 per person. We agreed to having the buffet and went to check out the selection. Cold pancakes, boxed eggs, no boiled eggs. In fact, this buffet was similar to the Holiday Inn Express buffet, except, at a Holiday Inn Express there was more of a selection and the food is usually hot. We complained to our waitress about the selection and quality of the food and she offered to bring us a menu to order off of but we declined and we were not charged. We opted to find breakfast else where.
Thoroughly disgusted by the events of the previous evening and that morning, I spoke to Isidro Alberto, Guest Service Manager for Holiday Inn Gaithersburg. Isidro listened to my recollection of the events that transpired during my stay. Isidro was very concerned of what I might rate that hotel on a customer survey. Several times referencing how I might score the hotel, Isidro continuously offered me suggestions of what he might be able to give me to rate the hotel with a positive score. In the end, Isidro offered me 15,000 points which could be used to stay another night at another Holiday Inn or in other words comp me this stay by giving me a free nights stay at another Holiday Inn hotel.
I am not sure what the circumstances are that surround this particular hotel and its staff, but it is a weak link in a superior hotel chain whose consistent exceptional customer service I have grown accustomed to. I am embarrassed about the level of service and accommodations that I persuaded my family to choose on this trip. I am embarrassed for the travelers that have stayed in this particular hotel and what their opinion must be of IHG. I am embarrassed for the management over this hotel that must have overlooked serious issues for a hotel to deteriorate to this level given the premium accommodations and service I know IHG can provide.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the Holiday Inn Gaithersburg, your number one choice for Gaithersburg hotels! The Holiday Inn Gaithersburg Maryland is a non-smoking environment that provides lodging in Gaithersburg, MD in the heart of the I-270 High Tech Business Corridor and is convenient to Washington, DC. This first class Gaithersburg hotel is located near NIST, IBM, Hughes, Lockheed Martin, DOE, Texas Instruments and Medimmune. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Gaithersburg Hotel Gaithersburg
- Gaithersburg Holiday Inn