Charging for soda in Club Lounges??

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Old Sep 4, 06, 7:53 am
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Thumbs down Charging for soda in Club Lounges??

Had a small surprise this weekend at the Montreal Le Centre Sheraton's Club Lounge. I've been frequenting this hotel for at least 15 years now. I make it up there perhaps once or twice a year; more often now that my brother has moved to this fair city.

Long story short, the hotel is simply huge and so is the Club Lounge. The lounge is especially well appointed and the views are marvelous. That said, this weekend I ran up to read the paper and had only about 10 minutes to relax before I was to meet the rest of our group for cocktails across town. So, I hit the lounge and asked for a club soda. It came with so much ice (95% or so ice) that I asked for another right behind it. So, in ten minutes I was ready to leave and left behind 3 dollars as a tip for the nice server who quickly ran over and asked if I was ready for my "bill." I had no idea what he meant! He explained that the hotel had begun charging for anything other than coffee and water this summer and that everyone was surprised and disappointed by this move.

I didn't even know what to say! I've been in more club and executive lounges in my life than I could begin to recall and I can't recall ever being charged for soda! WOW. So, I asked him to bring my bill which came to $10.

I didn't like this one bit. If the hotel has made a change to their drink policy in a club lounge, at a minimum they have a responsibility to announce it to each guest upon arrival, I should think. But, all that notwithstanding, I am still amazed to learn that a club lounge in North America has the audacity to charge for soda.

How is this different than airline clubs charging for soft drinks or even being charged $3 for a coke on your next flight? At a minimum, Club Lounges offer light snacks and complimentary soft drinks and a breakfast spread in the morning.

It seems to me that the Sheraton Le Centre has made a very poor decision here.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 8:35 am
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This is pure nonsense and the hotel should be called on it.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 8:39 am
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Angry

I sincerely hope the $3 you put down as a tip was instead converted for use to pay the bill. Outrageous!
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Old Sep 4, 06, 8:51 am
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I had the exact same experience saturday evening. I left a 2$ tip on the table and left. The waiter ran after me till the elevator and said i had to pay for my drink, as I expressed my surprise he was rather arrogant looking down on me and saying it was the policy at this property. As I signed for my bill he mentionned that service was NOT included...
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Old Sep 4, 06, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by vivrant
I sincerely hope the $3 you put down as a tip was instead converted for use to pay the bill. Outrageous!
Why would you want to do that? It's not the server's fault.

If you want to make a point, tell management. Not the guy who gets paid $7/hr.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 9:12 am
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Actually, if a waiter at a hotel lounge where sodas had always been free failed to tell me that they were going to charge me ten dollars for a club soda (CN$ or US$ - either way - that's absurd) ....uhhh...yeah, I'm probably going to tip like a jerk. Sorry, that wasn't nice, especially when the waiter quickly confessed that everybody has been surprised and disappointed.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 9:13 am
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...so what is the purpose of a lounge, anyway?

I can buy a soda for less money virtually anywhere else, and I can then enjoy it in the privacy of my hotel room.

Some lounges already charge for Internet access and business services.

What is next — $20.00 for the food? A fee for reading month-old magazines? A coin-operated television set? A toll for entering the lounge or a “lounge tax”?

That is a “nice thank you” after either paying the more expensive room rate that includes lounge access or reaching Elite status after continuously patronizing a hotel chain...
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Old Sep 4, 06, 9:20 am
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Ran into a similar situation at the Sheraton Boston (I usually stay at the Westin Copley Place, but it was full on my trip in August) in their Club Lounge. A few free snacks ... but charges for beverages. A clue was the table service. But at least they put a drink menu on each table.

In some cases, Sheraton Club Lounges are only slightly more than member-only paid bars/lounges. I didn't go back (relatively loud room, with a hard-surfaced floor that seemed to bounce sound), though the view was nice.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by Canarsie
...so what is the purpose of a lounge, anyway?

I can buy a soda for less money virtually anywhere else, and I can then enjoy it in the privacy of my hotel room.

Some lounges already charge for Internet access and business services.

What is next — $20.00 for the food? A fee for reading month-old magazines? A coin-operated television set? A toll for entering the lounge or a “lounge tax”?

That is a “nice thank you” after either paying the more expensive room rate that includes lounge access or reaching Elite status after continuously patronizing a hotel chain...


Well stated. Totally defeats the purpose of "lounge access included".

Oh, and the Sheraton Centre Toronto, and the Sheraton Wall Centre Vancouver also charge of soda and soft drinks.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by AJLondon


Well stated. Totally defeats the purpose of "lounge access included".

Oh, and the Sheraton Centre Toronto, and the Sheraton Wall Centre Vancouver also charge of soda and soft drinks.
I know the Hilton Toronto, Hilton Bonaventure Montreal and the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown all do not charge for food or non-alcoholic beverages. The Hilton Toronto has an excellent selection of food and drink (alcoholic included). That is why I do not stay at Starwood in Toronto!!
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Old Sep 4, 06, 10:44 am
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Sounds like a trend starting that will put SPG in a real disadvantage position vs Hilton for those of us who value the lounge access in the evenings.

Why would anyone pay extra for the Club Floor with lounge access if it is no different than the lounge/bar downstairs. Makes no sense to me.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by luxury
I know the Hilton Toronto, Hilton Bonaventure Montreal and the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown all do not charge for food or non-alcoholic beverages. The Hilton Toronto has an excellent selection of food and drink (alcoholic included). That is why I do not stay at Starwood in Toronto!!
Hmmm, that's interesting. Might need to change some planned stays over to the Hilton Toronto now. Location is equally good as the Sheraton Centre (opposite each other!) and both are directly connected to the PATH.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 12:22 pm
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I know that last year a friend stayed at the Sydney property and they charged for a diet soda; I thought they had made a mistake. I do know that when I stayed at the Sheraton Boston in July we were not charged for sodas so perhaps this is new?

Is it my imagination or does it seem lately that *wood has gotten into this "nickel and dime" mode for their guests everywhere they can? Still no free internet (even though Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn have it), devaluation of points, and now charging for drinks when in the lounge?
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Old Sep 4, 06, 12:39 pm
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This is truly a shame as this was one of the highlights of this hotel. They should definitely let guests know upfront. What benefit is a lounge at these preposterious prices to a Preferred Guest? I hope this is not a trend in all Starwood hotels.
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Old Sep 4, 06, 12:42 pm
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Originally Posted by ldsant
Is it my imagination or does it seem lately that *wood has gotten into this "nickel and dime" mode for their guests everywhere they can?
My personal experience is that Westin properties have always “nickeled-and-dimed” me, even as a Westin Premiere member long before the Starwood Preferred Guest frequent guest program was created.
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