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Executive Lounge Stops Serving Dessert 20 Minutes After Dessert Hour Begins

Executive Lounge Stops Serving Dessert 20 Minutes After Dessert Hour Begins

 
Old Apr 23, 17, 5:40 pm
  #1  
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Executive Lounge Stops Serving Dessert 20 Minutes After Dessert Hour Begins

I recently visited the executive lounge one night exactly 20 minutes after dessert was to be served. Dessert was to be between 7:30-9 PM and I arrived at 7:50 PM (since I saw that dessert was not put out exactly at 7:30 on the dot the previous night and that would give them time to get it out and set up). When I arrived, there was nothing left. I asked the attendants if more selections would be coming out and was told that there would be nothing else for the rest of the night. Matter of factly, I was told that they put out five trays and that was it. When they are gone, they are gone. I was surprised because the dessert was only out for 20 minutes at most and it was to go until 9 PM. Their "trays" are really just regular plate size and not by any means full. I had had a particularly grueling day and pretty much all day long, was looking forward to getting dessert in the lounge (even just one of their peanut butter cookies), but also realized that this really was not the end of the world and I would live without dessert or could order something from their Fresh Bites menu.

I am wondering: is this a common occurrence that has happened to others? I have never experienced this before and wondering if this is standard protocol to run out in 20 minutes and call it a night for dessert.

Last edited by sinfonia; Apr 23, 17 at 7:15 pm
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Old Apr 23, 17, 5:50 pm
  #2  
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Property?
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Old Apr 23, 17, 6:57 pm
  #3  
 
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Ask the manager to comp you dessert in the restaurant.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 7:02 pm
  #4  
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It was the Marriott Houston Medical Center, but I was satisfied, overall, with the property - the associates were accommodating, helpful, and friendly. In fact, I was also impressed with their hors d'oeuvres in the lounge because they really were almost more of a dinner than hors d'oeuvres. Every night, they had salad, grilled vegetables, cheese, crackers, and then at least two entree sort of dishes like chicken, shrimp, or beef. So, overall, the lounge was good, but the dessert just seemed odd because the first day was as described and the second day, I heard the attendants telling people during dinner to come right at 7:30 for dessert because it goes very quickly and they only put out five trays. I did go that night at 7:40 PM and there were maybe six to eight more desserts left total.

I guess part of why I was surprised is because this property has 26 floors, so it is a considerable size - it's not like a six-floor property, so I would think they have enough elite guests to perhaps warrant more desserts that last longer.

Last edited by sinfonia; Apr 23, 17 at 7:30 pm Reason: Added content
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Old Apr 23, 17, 7:09 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Tanic View Post
Ask the manager to comp you dessert in the restaurant.
Okay, I just didn't know if this was ridiculous to ask for. What I actually ended up doing was calling down and telling them that there were no desserts left in the lounge after 20 minutes and did they have a peanut butter cookie? It actually took over two hours to get the peanut butter cookie and I am embarrassed to say I called back TWICE more to get the cookie because it never arrived (I really wanted dessert!) but it finally came. When calling for the cookie, I was told by a manager that she called the lounge and told them to set up more desserts that evening, but when I went up to the lounge later, the attendants repeated that they would not be adding more desserts since they only put out five trays any day, period.

In the end, I got my cookie. I was just curious if this is a common occurrence. Thanks for the suggestion if it happens again.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 7:43 pm
  #6  
 
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That's frustrating, and I think Mr. Marriott would not approve. The concierge lounge is for two types of guests--the most loyal ones, and those who pay handsomely for access. Both groups of people deserve the full array of services, which absolutely includes having sufficient desserts on hand. But I think I'm more concerned about the lackadaisical attitude you said the lounge attendants had, which makes me think they neither have nor have been trained in "the spirit to serve".
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Old Apr 23, 17, 9:41 pm
  #7  
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It is ridiculous, and misleading, to post a dessert time of 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. if history shows the dessert trays will be empty within a few minutes of 7:30.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 10:16 pm
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Originally Posted by sinfonia View Post
When calling for the cookie, I was told by a manager that she called the lounge and told them to set up more desserts that evening, but when I went up to the lounge later, the attendants repeated that they would not be adding more desserts since they only put out five trays any day, period.
Sounds like the F&B manager and the FD manager are protecting their departments. The hotel GM needs to be contacted.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 10:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Tanic View Post
Sounds like the F&B manager and the FD manager are protecting their departments. The hotel GM needs to be contacted.
Can you clarify?
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Old Apr 24, 17, 10:51 am
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Okay, so it sounds like it might be appropriate to contact the hotel GM? Or Marriott? I really am not trying to get something out of this - it is more about what controller1 and DJ_Iceman said about it being misleading and not concerned about hospitality. And since I will be likely be visiting this hotel for future trips, I am hoping it will get resolved so that I don't run into this frequently during upcoming trips.

I should add that while I said that I was mostly happy with the hotel (I had two stays here two weeks in a row and they were especially accommodating the first week - what we are discussing now is the second trip), there was another small problem that I thought to bring up since I emailed the front desk manager about it and never received a response. I will add that here if you have advice on who to talk to about both.

I was visiting the hotel due to medical treatment at MD Anderson. Actually, on the day there were no cookies, I had had a rather long and intensive procedure (not having eaten that morning or afternoon) which is why I was really looking forward to the cookies when I arrived back around dinner time.

A few days before my travel to Houston, I had called the hotel regarding my upcoming reservation to ensure that there would be a freezer in my room since I was going to need to refreeze and change ice packs every 30 minutes for a couple of days. If not, I was going to stay somewhere that had freezers. (I also informed them I wanted to check in early day of arrival.) I was told that every room had a refrigerator with freezer. Great. I arrived just in time to check in early, catch a quick nap, and go to the medical center. The front desk manager assisted me at check in and when I asked if a platinum upgrade was available, he said that there was not. Since I was checking in early, I was not surprised and was just thankful a room was ready. In my room, I saw that there was a digital reading of the temperature on the refrigerator and saw that it was adjustable; I did not think to double check that there was a freezer compartment or how low the thermometer could be set.

Once I returned back from the procedure, around 6:30 PM, I grabbed something from the lounge for dinner and went to the room to rest. At about 7 PM, I went to refreeze the ice pack and saw there was no freezer compartment. I tried filling an ice bucket and putting the ice pack in ice but after attempting for hours, I realized that that was not working as it needed to. The dessert/cookie incident happened while I was trying to make the ice work. Later during the night, however, I called the front desk to ask whether a refrigerator with freezer could be sent up and was told that there were freezers in every room. I informed them that the refrigerator in my room did not have a freezer compartment and they said that the temperature was adjustable. I said that I could not get it colder than 35 degrees and could someone help me understand how to turn the refrigerator into a freezer. Later, a very helpful engineering associate came to the room and asked how he could help. When I told him that I was told that I could adjust the temperature on the refrigerator to be a freezer, he shook his head and said that that was not the case. I asked if a different refrigerator that had a freezer compartment was available and he said that there were none. He offered to freeze the ice pack for me on the second floor but since I was going to have to get up every 30 minutes to access it throughout the night, that was not the best option. He really tried to help me but could not come up with anything. The front desk associate did not have any solution. I politely emailed the front desk manager at this time, telling him what had happened and asking if anything could be done, but it was the night and I knew the chances of hearing back from him were low. The engineering associate returned later, telling me that certain suites had large standalone freezers in them. I asked if any were available and with a lot of back and forth between him and the front desk, learned that none were. But this persistent engineering associate found a full-size refrigerator with freezer that was used by the engineering department and attempted to bring it into my room at about 4 AM. It could not get through the doorway so also would not work. By about 5 AM, the engineering associate had looked up which rooms had doorways wide enough to accommodate the unit, and he asked the front desk for availability in those. I was, then, moved to a small suite and the full-size fridge and freezer was moved into it as well so that I could use it. I was grateful for the persistence and compassion of the engineering associate; the front desk was not particularly helpful throughout the process.

I did not contact anyone about this since checking out because I assumed that the front desk manager that I had emailed while the incident happened (one week ago now) would return my email and just acknowledge the situation, apologize for the inconvenience of my having been given incorrect information about all rooms having freezers and being up much of the night dealing with the situation, and say that he was happy to see that I was moved into a room that could accommodate a freezer by the next morning. However, since it has now been a week, I am surmising that I will not receive a response. I was also waiting for the "how was your stay?" email so I could just report this there, but have not received any such email yet.

I am grateful that they rectified the situation, albeit many hours later, and I was not planning to complain about it since I was so impressed with the way the engineering associate handled it, but I am surprised by the lack of response from the front desk manager. Is this worth bringing up to someone and if so, to whom do I direct this? Again, I am not looking for anything; I just think that it should be known so that similar situations do not happen to other patients coming in to stay there (since this very close to the medical center and I believe medical center patients are a big part of their clientele).

Really, the freezer issue was the more important issue, but I was not certain if the dessert issue should be brought forward to anyone; now that it sounds like it is worth bringing up, I think should mention both to one place. Is it the GM I should go to?

Thanks for the help!
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Old Apr 24, 17, 11:47 am
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The challenge with bringing up both issues is that you start to sound like a high-maintenance guest, not a regular guest with a legitimate complaint. If it was me, I would focus on the dessert issue and then add a glowing compliment for the engineering associate who worked so hard to find a situation that would work for you. Leave out the stuff about the front desk not helping, asking for upgrades, being unable to adjust the temperature in the fridge, etc. Just leave it at: you needed a freezer for medical reasons, you were told your room had a freezer, it did not have a freezer, and a truly dedicated engineering associate did a whole lot of work to come up with a solution that worked for you.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 5:19 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by DJ_Iceman View Post
The challenge with bringing up both issues is that you start to sound like a high-maintenance guest, not a regular guest with a legitimate complaint. If it was me, I would focus on the dessert issue and then add a glowing compliment for the engineering associate who worked so hard to find a situation that would work for you. Leave out the stuff about the front desk not helping, asking for upgrades, being unable to adjust the temperature in the fridge, etc. Just leave it at: you needed a freezer for medical reasons, you were told your room had a freezer, it did not have a freezer, and a truly dedicated engineering associate did a whole lot of work to come up with a solution that worked for you.
I'd actually deal w/ one at a time. Keep the two separate in two separate communications.

One is more pertinent to the OP (the fridge) due to health. The other pertains to all guests who have access to the exec lounge/are expecting dessert. Not all desserts last until 9pm, but it's ridiculous they're gone after 20 minutes/not replenished.

FWIW - I would also write a letter to Marriott complimenting the engineer & asking that a letter be put in his personnel file, etc.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 5:41 pm
  #13  
 
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Unfortunately, this is so common at many of the US Marriott's I've been to. One & done service of evening and desert obligations, likely because it is treated as such. Breakfast seems to be handed a bit more generously although I've seen a downturn in that recently.

MI gave them the directive during the last downturn not to overachieve and apparently it hasn't been rescinded but taken to new extremes.

Sad part is that it varies wildly from property to property and you just do not know until it's too late.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 6:02 am
  #14  
 
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I have seen this a lot recently at many lounges here in the US. Cookies are the standard dessert items now, usually chocolate chip and peanut butter. (Remember when they used to offer real desserts, chocolate cake, cheesecake, apple pie ala mode?) The lounge attendant puts a plate of each type of cookie out at 7:30ish and by 8:00pm they are all gone and are not replenished!

I think this is a direct reflection on the number gold and platinum elites swelling the ranks at MR. Just look at how crowded most lounges are at breakfast! IMHO this is not sustainable and hopefully MR comes up with a reasonable solution with the new program next year.


Regards,


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Old Apr 25, 17, 6:47 am
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by OU812 View Post

I think this is a direct reflection on the number gold and platinum elites swelling the ranks at MR. Just look at how crowded most lounges are at breakfast! IMHO this is not sustainable and hopefully MR comes up with a reasonable solution with the new program next year.
Yes, definitely that too, nice add. But I can't see a reasonable or workable solution other than cutting off access to Gold at this point.
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