The Historic Anchorage Hotel is a very attractive, very clean property in a great location. The complimentary breakfast the hotel provides is delicious, and the staff is very friendly and welcoming. But I cannot give this hotel more than a single star, for a single reason: Management will not own up to the admitted mistakes of that very friendly staff and will expect the guest to pay the fines incurred by the misinformation staff members provided. For my part, the amount in question was a simple $10, but the GM refused to “make it right.”
The value the GM places on guest satisfaction seems to be less $10. Had the manager of this hotel invested a simple $10 to take care of my grievance, I’d probably have written a pretty good review of this place. To save $10, this manager is fine with a guest leaving with a bad taste in his mouth and a vow never to stay at the Historic Anchorage Hotel again. Downtown Anchorage has many nice hotels in which you can stay. I’d advise that you do not stay here, simply because of the low price they put on your satisfaction.
So here’s my situation: Upon checking in on August 1, 2011, I inquired as to where I could park my car. The gentleman working the front desk gave me a parking pass for a pay lot on the next block. The parking pass was clearly labeled for August 1, which I thought simply indicated the day I was checking in. On the front of the parking pass, it clearly states that “use of this permit signifies agreement with the policies contained herein,” and on the back there are six stipulations, to which I gave a cursory glance.
Most people aren’t in the habit of reading parking passes, but—ironically—I do read them. Perhaps in this case I should have read them more closely. If the manager responds to this review at all, I’m sure she’ll make the point that I admit to having not read “the rules” carefully. My response: When I’m paying more than $200 a night for a fairly run-of-the-mill room, it’s the staff’s responsibility to ensure that I have everything I need to park.
So here’s what happened: the car was parked and the next evening I went out to it and found a $20 parking ticket. It seems that to park in that lot, you need a new ticket for EACH DAY. So the August 1 date did NOT indicate what day I checked in. I mean, I don’t know what kind of agreements the Anchorage Hotel has with the parking lot. I assumed it involved giving a guest a parking pass for the duration and that was that. Certainly if the guest needs MORE than one pass, he’d be given more than one pass upon check in, or he would be told that he needed to come down in the morning and collect another pass. In my case, I was just given the pass and told where to park.
I take the ticket to the front desk clerk, the same one who gave me the single parking pass the previous day. “I didn’t give you more than one?” he said. “I should have given you more than one.” He looks up my account. “Yes, you needed more than one, and I should have given you one for each day. I don’t know why I didn’t give you more than one.” That’s okay, I say, but what are we going to do about this ticket? “I don’t know what to do about the ticket,” he says. “I’ll have to check with my manager.” Okay, I say as I leave for the evening, just so the ticket is taken care of.
The next morning, I inquire about whether there’s a note on my file. There is not. The evening desk clerk did NOT check with his manager. I start to explain my situation with the parking and the new desk clerk (who is very friendly and accommodating) interrupts. “Did he not explain about the $10?” Well, no! So it seems that I was not only NOT given the parking pass I needed for August 2, but I was charged $10 a day to park on top of it. I explain my situation and go have breakfast. As I’m checking out, I speak with the morning desk clerk again. She has talked with her manager, and the manager says she’ll refund the $10 I paid for the August 2 parking pass I never received. “But the ticket is for $20,” I point out.
According to the morning desk clerk, the manager says that $10 is as high as she’ll go, even though it was the responsibility of her evening desk clerk to either give me two passes or tell me that the single pass he was giving me was going to expire. In short, the evening desk clerk failed to give me the information I needed, which resulted in me having to pay a $20 ticket. I’ve done marketing for some very high-end hotels, and I usually find that in the better hotels, if a guest incurs expense as the result of a staff member failing to do his job adequately, then it’s the hotel’s job to “make it right.” I thought every GM knew that! Apparently not.
The right thing to do in this case, I feel, would have been AT MINIMUM to take care of the ticket. Were I the GM, I probably would have taken care of the $20 ticket and also knocked off the $10-a-day parking fee (of which the guest was never informed), just to ensure a positive experience at my hotel. In hospitality, so much depends on good word of mouth, with having guests leave the hotel with a positive attitude. The manager of this hotel threw this all away in my case, for a simple $10. The $10 is all you can do? Not quite: You have $20 of my money in parking fees. If you’d just wiped those off, that would have taken care of the ticket.
I encourage TripAdvisor readers to stay someplace else in Anchorage, but if you do choose to stay at this hotel, make sure you get your parking passes. Don’t count on the desk clerk to give you the information you need, even when you’re paying more than $200 a night.
Here’s one more thing of which you should be aware. I stayed in Room 208. This room, and I imagine many rooms on the second floor, are on top of Grizzly’s Gift Shop. Your floor is Grizzly’s Gifts ceiling. Grizzly’s plays a long infomercial on a series of Alaska DVDs you can buy there. It runs non-stop from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. The speakers are built into Grizzly’s ceiling, and believe me, you can hear the narration, the native instruments and the fact that you can get these packages on DVD and Blu-Ray QUITE CLEARLY for 15 hours a day.
So once you get your parking passes, go up to your room and listen. If you hear a male voice describing Alaska as a place like no other, or native flute music, get another room. You are NOT hearing a PBS special on the TV of a guy in the next room. You are hearing an infinite loop downstairs. You’ll hear it until 11 p.m. that night, and you’ll wake to it at 8 a.m. the next morning.
When I got home to Atlanta, I checked my email and found a canned message from the GM, thanking me for my stay and encouraging me to post my comments on TripAdvisor. Well, here they are.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Elegantly restored and generously appointed, the Anchorage Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rich in tradition and elegance... Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Anchorage. The Anchorage Visitor Information Center, Anchorage Convention Centers, 5th Avenue Shopping Mall, the Alaska Center for Performing Arts, the Alaska Railroad Depot, Anchorage Museum, and some of the finest dining and entertainment that Anchorage has to offer are all just steps away from the hotel.Aside from our convenient room amenities, Anchorage Historic Hotel offers guest services to accommodate everyone from the discerning leisure traveler to the busy corporate guest. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Historic Anchorage Hotel Alaska