Two months before our stay, I wrote to the general manager of the Charleston Marriott. I informed him that I have allergies and asthma and that I was concerned about some of the reviews the Charleston Marriott hotel had received on the internet. The GM had the Front Office manager (I am not using his name) reply with the following information: “Because of the changing climate and humid weather in Charleston, we may occasionally get a room reported that has a mildew smell. We immediate, place that room out of room. Then dispatch engineering to the room. The Charleston Marriott runs a high occupancy throughout the year. Therefore, the mildew complaints we receive are minimum.”
He offered to block a room for me that was clean and mildew free.
I also directly informed the Front Office Manager that I am allergic to air fresheners and perfume, so please instruct housekeeping not spray or use either one in my room. He assured me that my room would be prepared chemical free.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were told that the room set aside for us was being cleaned and was not ready for occupancy. I asked the front desk associate to please remind housekeeping NOT to use any perfume or scents while cleaning the room due to allergies & asthma.
Entering our room for the first time late that night, I was struck by a powerful fragrance and had an immediate and strong allergic reaction. All the preparation with the GM, Front Office Manager, and Front Desk staff had been ignored and useless. Upon calling the front desk, I was told they could spray a room deodorizer! I asked that they send up an ionizer or ozone machine to eliminate the smell instead.
Al in Engineering was sent to my room. I was sick, miserable and upset. Al was calm, kind, and knowledgeable. He unscrewed the return air unit cover in the room and removed an air freshener dispenser! He informed us that each room had air fresheners imbedded in the air vents! They were also in the hallway air vents! Al expertly and with great concern tried to resolve the problems. He removed the air freshener from our room and from the hallway. We left the room for an hour while he ran the ionizer. When we returned, I opened the glass door onto the balcony and aired the room. The room was acceptable for the remainder of the night and my allergic reactions subsided.
I discovered that the air unit filter in the room was saturated with the scent even though the dispenser had been removed. However, if I did not run the AC or the heat and only used the open balcony door for fresh air, the smell did not waft out and contaminate the room. As this made the room acceptable, we stayed and decided to use our short time to see the sights and enjoy the city instead of searching for and moving to a new hotel for the next 2 nights.
The front desk manager did nothing to assuage the situation. I sent an e-mail immediately upon entering the room informing him of the problem. He responded by e-mail the next morning: “I deeply apologize about your room. We had some challenges yesterday with 162 arrivals coming in before check-in time. “ Really? That is his excuse? He needs a refresher course on customer service. I went down to the lobby and asked for him. I reiterated our terrible experience. He looked at me blankly, and then asked if I wanted him to find me a new hotel? That was it. I told him that Al was going to run the ionizer again this morning and if I don’t turn on the air, heat, or bathroom fan, but leave the balcony door open, the perfume did not irritate my allergies or asthma.
No note card of apology was ever sent to the room or even a small gesture of apology such as a basket of fruit. The front desk manager never contacted us to see how our stay was progressing. I was extremely disappointed with his complete lack of attention and follow-through.
Upon check-out, there was not even a courtesy discount on our room rate. I complained and the young woman settling our bill accommodated.
My criticism of the hotel involves the lack of attention to my allergy information and in particular, to the poor customer service I received from upper management.
(I did write the GM complimenting Al. Al was the only one that took my allergy and asthma health issues seriously with follow-up and a concerned attitude.)
Lesson learned: this Marriott hotel is not a place for allergy sufferers. Future room renovation will not solve the problem of installing air fresheners in the rooms and hallway air systems because of humid conditions in Charleston. Most importantly, customer care by management when a problem does occur is non-existent.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience true southern hospitality and innovation at its finest at the Charleston Marriott. Our location overlooking the Ashley River offers easy access to beautiful downtown Charleston, SC. Recently redesigned modern guestrooms welcome you with stylish furnishings and plenty of space to relax, work or enjoy all that our beautiful city has to offer. Luxurious hotel amenities include high-speed wireless internet, shuttle service, state of the art business and fitness centers. Savor delicious favorites at our signature on-site restaurant, Saffire. Unwind enjoying the Ashley River sunset with a cocktail at one of the only roof top bars in Charleston, Aqua Terrace. If you're downtown planning a social event or wedding, take advantage of our hotel's 50,000 square feet of event space. If you're here simply to relax, enjoy your time by our spacious outdoor pool or courtyard area. Our hotel is the one spot where you can work & play, mix & mingle, and connect & relax. That's brilliant. That's the Charleston Marriott! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Charleston Marriott Hotel Charleston
- Marriott Charleston