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More than £12.50 (USD 20) for a cup of tea, St. Pancras, London

More than £12.50 (USD 20) for a cup of tea, St. Pancras, London

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Old Jun 11, 14, 4:43 am   -   Wikipost
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Lobby Cafe at St. Pancras Renaissance has a minimum spend of 12.50GBP per person.
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Old Jun 10, 14, 11:15 am
  #1  
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Unhappy More than £12.50 (USD 20) for a cup of tea, St. Pancras, London

Four of us were meeting. We initially booked the hotel restaurant but we were not sure if we were eating so the waitress walked us to the hotel lobby café. The waitress there explained there was a minimum charge of GBP 12.50 (about USD 20). She did not state this was a minimum charge of GBP 12.50 PER PERSON. Charged GBP 50 (about USD 80) for two teas and a coffee!

There is a tiny placard stating a minimum charge of GBP 12.50 per person. None of us saw it.

I followed up with the hotel manager. I was requested to and agreed to provide transaction details. These were sent the same day. Did not get a response. I followed up 20 days later. An email was resent that I’d not received at all. The email requested a receipt before considering a refund.

Advised today by the hotel manager they are not in a position to provide a refund.

I’m formerly a Marriott Gold customer and currently Hilton Gold. Not averse to minimum charges or generous spend.

Should I let this go as a bit of storm in a tea cup or am I going mad? Should this be pursued on principle?

I’ve been taken for a ride in worse travel situations but this was the Marriott St Pancras, London, UK.

Last edited by CaliforniaSun; Jun 10, 14 at 1:59 pm Reason: Typo
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Old Jun 10, 14, 11:43 pm
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Odd goings on at TripAdvisor

I wrote about my experience on TripAdvisor as well. My article was published but now seems to have been removed and put back into pending review so does not appear here:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R...d.html#REVIEWS

I also noticed that others had a similar experience and had written about it. The difference was that another reviewer (also in a group of four) had been told about the minimum spend PER PERSON and left. Their reviews have also been removed at this time. All very odd.
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Old Jun 11, 14, 5:11 am
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Your review is back as I just saw it.

I have to say that the only time I have ever seen somewhere saying minimum spend has been when we've been on holiday in the US. Its definitely not common in the UK at all!
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Old Jun 11, 14, 5:25 am
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Hahaha that happened to me at the IC park lane . I told them to waive the charges the fruit loops/
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Old Jun 11, 14, 11:09 am
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I would let it go. Even you say that you missed the posted placard on the minimum charge. Seems like you were charged what was posted.
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Old Jun 11, 14, 12:01 pm
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You are going to pursue "on principle" that they followed their posted policies? What "principle" - DYKWIA, your rules don't apply to me?
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Old Jun 11, 14, 12:39 pm
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In fairness to the OP, I'd be pissed off too if the waitress said there was a 12.50 min charge but didn't indicate it was per person & I ended up paying $80US for 2 teas & a coffee.

I've sat at tables that have small placards & don't always read them, as often they're just hawking some type of meal, drink, etc, so it might be easy to overlook especially if the OP was in the middle of a biz meeting.

The OP posted on TripAdvisor and has posted here, so I think he's done his share in giving a heads up to others so they don't accidentally encounter what he did. I, at least, appreciate that.

To the OP - chalk it up to unfortunate experience & move on at this point. Hopefully you were staying at the property so you'd get points for the incidental spend.

PS - while the StP usually gets good reviews, this is certainly a negative for the property. I've not stayed at any other London Marriott properties that have a minimum spend.

Cheers.
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Old Jun 11, 14, 12:49 pm
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They should have at least given you the option of taking away some food items to utilise the remaining credit
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Old Jun 11, 14, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by nequine View Post
Your review is back as I just saw it.

I have to say that the only time I have ever seen somewhere saying minimum spend has been when we've been on holiday in the US. Its definitely not common in the UK at all!
Yep, the review on TripAdvisor is back. The other negative review(s) are not however. They seem to have been censored for now on TripAdvisor for some reason.

We did tell the waitress to waive the charge, but she said she could not a number of times. She was so apologetic she offered us sandwiches etc.

The principle would be that which was said which was, "there is a £12.50 minimum charge." Not, "there is a £12.50 minimum charge per person." The four of us sat down thinking £12.50 between the four of us was reasonable.

The "placard" is a 2 inch by 1/2 inch piece of card on which one side is written, "there is a £12.50 minimum charge per person." Four of us missed it so who knows if it was face up.

Our intended booking was the restaurant next door. Usually it's fine to meet in a hotel restaurant for a conversation over coffee. Being led to the "trap" makes us feel foolish.

Not so much DYKWIA. But rather the rule itself and its communication is not up to the standards of what I expect of the Marriott having stayed at over 20 of their establishments around the world.

If you honestly go about your business I'm more than happy with minimum charges. Make mistakes and mislead. Then it needs to be fixed.

Many higher end hotels in high footfall locations do a great job of managing their pristine and inviting air conditioned lobby cafes, without screwing their customers.

Still seems like two for dropping it. Valid thoughts and will take into account. Thanks.

Last edited by CaliforniaSun; Jun 11, 14 at 1:36 pm
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Old Jun 11, 14, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by lsed View Post
They should have at least given you the option of taking away some food items to utilise the remaining credit
We were given this option, but (a) it would have been *a lot* of sandwiches to carry around, (b) we were headed to another meeting for lunch. It'd be distinctly uncouth to turn up with a bunch of sandwiches to the restaurant at the next business meeting.

One other note is that the menus themselves do not state there is a £12.50 minimum charge per person. Just quite sensible and reasonable prices for cups of tea and coffee.

Last edited by CaliforniaSun; Jun 11, 14 at 1:15 pm
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Old Jun 11, 14, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
In fairness to the OP, I'd be pissed off too if the waitress said there was a 12.50 min charge but didn't indicate it was per person & I ended up paying $80US for 2 teas & a coffee.

I've sat at tables that have small placards & don't always read them, as often they're just hawking some type of meal, drink, etc, so it might be easy to overlook especially if the OP was in the middle of a biz meeting.

The OP posted on TripAdvisor and has posted here, so I think he's done his share in giving a heads up to others so they don't accidentally encounter what he did. I, at least, appreciate that.

To the OP - chalk it up to unfortunate experience & move on at this point. Hopefully you were staying at the property so you'd get points for the incidental spend.

PS - while the StP usually gets good reviews, this is certainly a negative for the property. I've not stayed at any other London Marriott properties that have a minimum spend.

Cheers.
Thanks. Yes, biased to let it go at this point. Done the public service part.

Had not encountered minimum spend at a Marriott before either.

Was not an overnight guest on this occasion. But have held various meetings and conferences in Marriott properties with overnight stays as needed. Still does not excuse the treatment.

It's quite possibly the most expensive cup of tea one could have in London!

Beats the Ritz, Inter Continental, Mayfair Hotel, Park Lane, The Dorchester etc.

Last edited by CaliforniaSun; Jun 11, 14 at 1:28 pm
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Old Jun 11, 14, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by CaliforniaSun View Post
Thanks. Yes, biased to let it go at this point. Done the public service part.

Had not encountered minimum spend at a Marriott before either.

Was not an overnight guest on this occasion. But have held various meetings and conferences in Marriott properties with overnight stays as needed. Still does not excuse the treatment.

It's quite possibly the most expensive cup of tea one could have in London!

Beats the Ritz, Inter Continental, Mayfair Hotel, Park Lane, The Dorchester etc.
IMHO the server should have pointed out the policy and kindly asked if you would like anything else. Simply allowing someone to get bit by this without saying a word is SIN of Omission in book. Not everyone will see the sign and not everyone speaks english in London.
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Old Jun 11, 14, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by jr1202sr View Post
IMHO the server should have pointed out the policy and kindly asked if you would like anything else. Simply allowing someone to get bit by this without saying a word is SIN of Omission in book. Not everyone will see the sign and not everyone speaks english in London.
Good point for visitors to London. The placard was in English only and it was tiny. Knowingly or not folks sat on adjacent tables were only having teas and coffees as well.

Three of us arrived first and were served first. One arrived later and was served later. The policy was not mentioned at serving on either occasion.

This is tricky: four of us were native English speakers. The server was not a native English speaker. Perhaps she could have been bolder and clearer in communication but ultimately this is a policy management have implemented and are standing by.

I guess she'd been told not to budge on waiving the charge. We did try our best charms

Last edited by CaliforniaSun; Jun 11, 14 at 3:45 pm
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Old Jun 13, 14, 9:30 am
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Thanks for inputs. Thought about this further. Have decided to leave it.

Will of course never be a Marriott customer again. Better choices next time.
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Old Jun 13, 14, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by CaliforniaSun View Post
Will of course never be a Marriott customer again. Better choices next time.
The only thing I'l add is that most Marriott's (and probably all chain hotels) are little individual fiefdoms loosely held together by the corporate flag and what happened to you and its poor resolution is probably a local, isolated incident and could have played out completely different at another Marriott across the street. Took me years to figure this one out...
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