Would You Have Complained To The Hotel In This Situation?

Filed Under: Hotels

We wrapped up our trip to the Seychelles a couple of weeks ago, which was awesome. We had a great time, and splurged and stayed at two Four Seasons properties there (one on the island of Mahe, and on the island of Desroches). I apologize for the delay in the review of these hotels, though I promise they’re coming shortly. Before I publish the reviews, I wanted to share an experience we had at the new Four Seasons Desroches.

I’m curious how you guys would have handled this situation, and I feel like it makes sense to write a separate post about it, because the review itself will be long enough without getting into detail on this.

I hate complaining to hotels

There are some areas in life where I’m really passive. I’m trying to get better about that. I just like to avoid confrontation whenever possible, and as an introvert the thought of having to confront someone about what I consider to be a failure makes me feel uncomfortable.

My general approach to hotel feedback is as follows:

  • If a front desk agent at check-out asks “how was everything?” I’ll rarely answer honestly if things weren’t good, because I feel like they’re going through the motions and aren’t actually empowered to do much
  • If a front office manager or someone comes out and asks me how things are, I’ll gladly be honest and share both positives and negatives; that doesn’t bother me
  • If service is bad or I have a terrible experience, I have no problem confronting a manager about it during my stay, so that they can try to rectify it

The area where I struggle the most with complaining is when I find all of the employees at a hotel to be exceptionally friendly, but I still have something about the stay that’s making me unhappy. I can’t explain it, but it just makes me really uncomfortable to approach people in this situation. I totally get approaching managers is the right thing to do, since you want to give them a chance to correct things while you’re still on property, rather than walking away with a bad taste in your mouth.

With that in mind, I wanted to share the situation we encountered at the Four Seasons Desroches Island, where we found all of the employees to be very friendly, but we had one major issue.

How would you have handled this situation?

The Four Seasons Desroches Island just opened in March, and it’s on what’s essentially a private island. It’s like being in the Maldives, only the island is bigger, so you can bike around it, the island has a runway, etc. The stay mostly exceeded our expectations. Everyone working there was so friendly, the villa was amazing, and the island had a lot of natural beauty.

We were there for five days, and on our third day the weather in the region got bad. We were sitting at the bar around lunchtime having some drinks, and suddenly the whole bar flooded. Like, ocean water covered the floor of the bar, and all the furniture was wet. We moved, and that wasn’t a big deal.

As it turned out, that was only the beginning. The problem is that most of the hotel’s public spaces are centered around this area, and almost everything flooded. The pool was full of sand, the restaurant and bar were flooded, the rec area with ping pong tables flooded, etc.

I feel like they should have designed this area differently to begin with, so they then started a massive construction project. They probably have over 100 non-resort employees living on the other side of the island as they’re still constructing some villas, and suddenly their job was to reconstruct parts of the hotel.

They drained the pool, they closed down the bar, and they started creating a new barrier along the pool and bar that would prevent this type of flooding from hopefully happening in the future.

Let me be clear — everyone at the hotel was doing everything in their power to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and it wasn’t the fault of the hotel employees that this happened to begin with.

I’d never complain about bad weather, but for the next three days our breakfast and lunch went from having a serene view of the Indian Ocean, to having a view of a construction site with tractors and dirt and dozens of workers yelling.

Would I ever blame a hotel for bad weather, or expect them to do anything to make things right? Absolutely not.

But it’s also clear that parts of the hotel weren’t constructed in a way that considered the impacts of bad weather. Furthermore, we were paying a lot of money to stay here, and virtually all public areas only had views of a construction site. This put a damper on our stay, for obvious reasons.

What did we do?

The management at the hotel was mostly proactive. Every morning at breakfast the resort manager would come by to each group at the hotel and see how things were.

By the last morning (with the construction still going on), Ford said we should say something to them. I knew that was the right thing to do, but it still made me uncomfortable. Everyone at the hotel was friendly, and obviously they were “suffering” a lot more from having to rebuild things than we were, as we’re sitting there relaxing. But it doesn’t change the fact that we paid a lot of money to stay here.

While management here was so friendly, I was surprised they didn’t proactively offer anything. It made me wonder if I was maybe off base for thinking this situation was somewhat within the hotel’s control, or at least that they should have done something.

I tried to politely hint at the fact that we were having a great time but that the construction sucked for everyone, and they acknowledged that. The day before we were scheduled to leave, we called the manager and explained everything with our stay was great and the service exceeded our expectations, but obviously the construction was putting a damper on our stay.

He asked if we could maybe meet in person in an hour or so, so we did that. They were very apologetic, and asked if they could maybe arrange a sunset cruise for us with champagne to make up for it. I thought that was a smart gesture on their part. When you give someone a discount (or something), it doesn’t necessarily change the impression they walk away with.

We had a sunset cruise that had one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve seen in my life, and we even saw dolphins on two occasions. It was absolutely spectacular, and made us walk away with a very favorable impression.

Bottom line

As you can see, complaining at hotels makes me uncomfortable. I really didn’t want to say anything, but Ford was the one who said it was the right thing to do. As uncomfortable as it made me, I’m really glad we did it. Not just because we got a great experience out of it, but because it made us both walk away from the hotel with a much more favorable impression, and that’s a win-win.

I’m also curious to hear how you guys would have handled this situation. Did we do the right thing, and what do you think of the hotel’s response?

Comments
  1. I would have accepted that this was an unfortunate situation outwith their immediate control & be grateful they were doing something to fix it, rather than let it be to annoy future customers.

  2. I personally feel that this constitutes more of a voucher for a future stay. And I will bet that many of the guests got it. Or a discount for the stay.

  3. I don’t think I would have complained, but then again I’m more of an introvert like yourself . The sunset cruise sounds like it must have made up for the obstructed views from construction equipment during your stay. Looking forward to your Turkish Airlines review!!!

  4. Right choice and thank God Ford insisted or drag you do it! The cruise is a nice gesture, but a voucher for a future stay or discounts useable on other FS properties would have been better. Still you have done the right thing, as I would have done the same!

  5. If it was a small indie hotel, I would likely not ask for a discount because of a weather-caused disaster but since it was a big ole Four Seasons and part of a chain, I think you would have remembered the trip forever with a cloud over it if you walked away without speaking up. Unfair to you as well as unfair to them to not even give them a chance. The sunset cruise seems like great compensation and something you’ll remember with pleasure. Instead of kicking yourself forever for not speaking up about paying for a view of the ocean and getting a view of a construction zone! I agree with Ford 100% here. And you came to enjoy scenery, not to get money back (you could have stayed home & kept the money) so I really think the sunset cruise idea was a great way to make up for the construction mess. Yes, I like the way this one turned out, and I look forward to reading your report.

  6. Great hotels *welcome* objective feedback. That’s how they can improve their product. So don’t think of it as complaining… rather, providing valuable information that management might not otherwise have.

    About the flooded public areas and resort-turned-construction-site? They obviously knew about that! I agree the resort should have been proactive — but your experience demonstrates that an honest service recovery makes a big difference. They WANT you to go away with good feelings about their property … so important to provide them that opportunity as you did in the end.

  7. I think complaining politely was the right thing and management’s arrangement of the sunset cruise as compensation was appropriate. If you stay at a hotel that’s undergoing construction the rates are usually lower and there are notices to warn you what to expect. Essentially you suffered construction without the warning or discount. It is absolutely the hotel’s responsibility to understand how high water comes during inclement weather and build accordingly. What you experienced was a total fail (a beachfront bar flooding? Who woulda thought?)

  8. It’s not their FAULT that the weather happened, and I can’t say whether the way in which the weather affected the property was foreseeable (I’m not an engineer), however it’s unquestionable that you DIDN’T GET THE EXPERIENCE YOU WERE PAYING FOR so the hotel shouldn’t be charging you for that or should otherwise make good on that.

    Glad they offered the cruise and that you were happy with it. Aside from refunds, comping nights on a future stay would be another way to handle it, though that’s sort of a cheeky move because it’s not like most guests would be likely to make this a return trip any time in the foreseeable future (within the hotel’s memory period).

  9. Hmm, I can see your dilemma. That said, as this was a top-of-the-line Four Seasons and the construction almost certainly detracted from your stay, I am surprised that they did not proactively offer a freebie: comped dinner, 10% off room rate, free breakfast, sunset cruise etc. This is especially the case as you were paying for a service and not actually receiving the full advertised benefits such as use of the bar/pool which went under construction. I get that the flooding should essentially be construed as not their fault. Still, the difference between a top-end luxury hotel and everything else is the anticipation of your needs. They should have more proactively tried to address the fact that your very expensive vacation was being negatively affected by their construction.

  10. 50% refund or a voucher for a few nights in the future seems fare to me. I’d ask for more, but that is where I’d expect to land.

    They started a multi-day construction project using heavy equipment. The main features of the hotel were rendered useless.

    No doubt many will say this is act of god. Flooding in this situation was foreseeable, they are on the ocean! The fact that they were undertaking works to mitigate the impact of flooding is proof that they were not prepared.

    Leaving early at their expense for change fees would have been reasonable too. Assuming of course that was feasible. I’ve rarely had complete failures of service, but (again I realize this was probably not doable on a remote island) when they happen you should ask them to help you move to an equivalent property or end your stay and help with expenses. If they stay is bad enough for extreme compensation, you should want to leave. And if you cant, or they wont help, it supports your complaint

    Thoughtfulness and small gestures are nice. And more than enough, say when a do not disturb sign is ignored, or some other minor thing goes wrong.

    Four Seasons Langkawi gave my old boss two future nights because of the haze from sugar cane burning. I actually thought he pushed too hard on that as it was typical, region wide phenomenon. Your situations was sudden, foreseeable, and something I’d expect to be mitigated at this level of property.

    For the record, I’m not the type of traveler who’s looking for compensation at every turn (like a certain blogger at another site lol), but I do believe in getting your money/points worth. Also, service can only improve if there are penalties for failures.

    Sorry about your rough trip Lucky. I admire your positive attitude. I also am non-confrontational. With chains where I have status, I will usually write to them and let customer service work with the property. I know it’s better to talk to the manager, but for introverts this can be painful.

  11. It was unfortunate but if you had seen before booking it was under construction or renovations would you have booked there? at lower rate knowing of disruption? probably not bc it would have marred your experience.

    I used to do hotel site inspections as a corporate travel buyer, i leave engineering notes almost every stay on how things can be better. it’s the rare hotel that hits on all cylinders.

    in this case, i would have talked to the manager immediately about the noise, construction blocking views and making it a less than stellar experience that is unlike the Four Seasons. A cruise was nice gesture but they should have also gone a bit further IMO for future credit.

    btw your not a bad person for pointing out areas of disappointment. they are selling a product to deliver an experience. if it falls short let them know on the spot.

  12. @ Lucky

    You summarised:
    “As uncomfortable as it made me, I’m really we did it.”

    Fascinating that in that sentence you missed out the word “glad” (or whatever the positive was) – it doesn’t take Freud to realise that, in fact, you are not at all glad that you complained, even though others told you it was the right thing to do and you ended up with a really nice piece of compensation to recognise the sub-par experience.

    I agree with David Ourisman, that to the very best-managed organisations, a complaint is actually a gift that you are giving to them. For most organisations, of course, a complaint is far from being a gift, and any corporation that has a customer complaints-handling process is, frankly, already so crappy that your complaint is just another transaction to be processed.

    Staying at a resort and laying on a beach on a remote island, no matter how Paradisical, is not my idea of pleasure or luxury – to me it smacks too much of “organised fun”, a capitalist machine designed to extract maximum cash from me in exchange for synthetic pleasure. But that sunset does look rather special.

  13. That’s an unfortunate situation. That’s why I always avoid newly built resorts the first year of their grand openings as there will be unexpected kinks that need to be worked out. I’m sure they have used seasoned architect to design the place but I’m guessing the architect dropped the ball on sea level during bad weather.

    I feel the management also drop the ball on making sure all guests are happy while construction is going on. What they should have done is cancel guests that are booked a month out and blocked the time to do construction. It’s unfortunate they are doing construction while guests are at the resort. That’s very unfair to anyone who’s paying either a dime or thousands (ok… no one is paying a dime but you get my point). The management should have comped everyone at least a night or do some kind of gesture automatically and not wait for people to complaint. While design issue is not the management’s fault and I’m sure they want to rectified the design fail before the next storm hits, but it shouldn’t have come at paying guests’ expense imo especially at this price range.

  14. You did the right thing. Complaining sucks. Complaining should suck. If complaining doesn’t suck then there’s another problem (see: Chronic Complainers). For management, half the battle is simply acknowledging that there was a problem and they did that. The other half is offering some sort of compensation and it sounds like what was provided was acceptable. Personally, I would have taken a comp night or two at that property or another in their system in the future. Even if part of a future stay is free, the hotel is still likely to come out ahead – in profit and loyalty. Everybody wins. As someone who works in hospitality, I rarely mind a guest suggesting a solution when things go wrong and will usually play along if it’s reasonable.

  15. I wouldn’t have complained at the time. The staff at the hotel would have been very aware that this was ruining your stay but it’s really outside of their control and by the sounds of it they were doing everything they could to make things run as normal. You said that they didn’t proactively offer any thing but what can you realistically offer to everyone at the hotel (your not the only ones there). I imagine had you not said anything they would have refunded a night or something like that at checkout, thats what happened to me in a couple of other similar situations.

    The thing I find strange is that you called the hotel manager to complain about something he was clearly aware of, though I have noticed that it’s a very American thing. He was trying his hardest and listening to you was really just waisting his time that he could have spent sorting the situation out maybe proactively offering something to everyone else…

    Now, I would have complained after getting back to the Four Seasons directly. They should have thought through this hotel a bit more and given that it’s new there’s not really any excuses.

  16. Yes, they need to know their guests were not thrilled with their stay. I’m surprised they did not comp your room and invite you back to try the resort again.

  17. Lucky, look on the bright side that you were in Seychelles.

    Several ways to look at it. One is that this was a natural disaster. You got to see a different way of recovery. There was no lengthy attempts to get bids from contractors then have to go to the city for permitting and variances. After all, they are making changes to the grading, like making piles of dirt similar to a dike. In my town, that would take about a year to get approved and lots of money. This is educational.

    I would have considered 3 options.
    1. Move to a different hotel (any available?)
    2. Ask for a free stay and help with construction, like disaster relief
    3. suck it up.
    4. (much less likely) try one upmanship and get a discount.

    If in the US, #1 would be my choice because there are many hotels.

    If it makes you feel better, do ask for compensation. Otherwise, look at it as an adventure. I have had adventures in travel that some others might have become angry.

  18. Of course it’s not on the employees that the hotel flooded, but it clearly is on whoever designed the resort that they designed it so badly. And that, in turn, is on Four Seasons, who built the hotel in such a way and hired said designer. Consequently, it’s on the company, I think, to rectify that mistake by giving you either a discount or a voucher. It was in their power, after all, to build a hotel in such a way that it wouldn’t flood. I’d honestly have asked the employees to somehow get in touch with corporate to explain the situation.

  19. So, did the engineers who designed this hotel research the spot and design it so that it doesn’t flood every storm? I don’t think so. Poor research and design.

  20. I think the hotel got off extremely easy here. I think you should have taken the cruise and asked for them to comp one or two nights as well. When you pay so much, everything should be perfect. Four Seasons is a huge worldwide company. They will be fine comping a few nights when a disaster happens.

  21. I believe you should have complained. You didn’t get what you paid for. By that I mean the aftermath of the weather. Bad weather on a beach vacation is just bad luck. An exaggerated and prolonged diminishmeant of your stay after the weather has cleared is not acceptable.

  22. if the feedback is objective and constructive, why not?

    if this helps to push a hotel from a 9/10 to a 10/10, i am sure they are receptive. being friendly is not the only attribute to a great 10/10 experience.

    what was lacking here was the management’s planning in handling the reconstruction works, that ultimately dampened the experience. the rain was expected for maldives’ weather. the construction materials (sand etc) were also known before hand. good planning would have managed the situation much better when the rain arrives.

    when they failed to plan well, they should not fail to recover well. and Ford is right, they should know about it. and David mention that the only way they can make up for this, is thru feedback, so they can act on recovery.

  23. Sorry for your bad experience.

    How do you reconcile your two approaches? On the one hand, you claim to be uncomfortable as an introvert complaining about an (actually valid) issue and thus remain mostly silent in person. On the other hand, you lay out in extensive detail the issue in writing for your entire blog followers after the fact. Isn’t this the same as posting a very public complaint letter to the hotel and chain?

    I’ll be curious as to the response, if any, you get from the property or FS. It would seem the matter was settled with the cruise, but this post gives you a second bite of the apple.

  24. @ colleen — I’m not sure why I’d expect any sort of response? The situation was handled in a satisfactory way, and the reason I’m sharing my experience is to get feedback on how I handled it, and also to share my approach to these things for others who may be in the same situation. It’s not at all intended to be a “public complaint letter.”

  25. At Aman and Four Seasons I will always complain if I feel something needs to be said. I know they’ll put it right. They’re on a totally different level from every other hotel chain. Elsewhere, I would probably say it and then move to another hotel.

  26. When I was staying at a Four Seasons resort last year they had dismantled part of the outdoor space of the Villas. I complained that as a result the villa wasn’t as good as it had been in a previous visit. They sent a construction team that day to rebuild it how it used to be. Perfect service.

  27. You can look at this two way: 1. The sunset cruise was your compensation, or 2. You deserve more than the cruise.

    So, it depends on how much you paid. If you are talking $200 per night, then I would say that you were fairly compensated. On the other hand, if you were paying $1000 per night, then you deserve more. Look at it like a business transaction and contact corporate. I don’t know if I would have brought it up at the time and if I had, I would have requested to be re-accommodated.

  28. This is probably not a new property and most likely have had such situation occur before this incident. Many questions come to mind: Have they had this flood situation before? What’s their plan to abate such flood from ruining guests’ experience? Do they have a flood action plan? If they don’t have a plan and are not prepared for such a foreseeable event, then they need to correct by comping their guests. But it is worse if they have a plan and did not properly address the situation without ruining guests’ experience.

  29. Stories like this drive me nuts. For G*ds sake people, say something! Hotels have no problem price gouging their customers with a promise of perfection. A complaint not only gives the hotel an opportunity to respond, it also helps future travelers (who hopefully won’t go through the same experience).

    In this case, there are a string of responsible parties….going all the way back to the engineer and architect who designed the public spaces inadequately. All the public areas of the hotel were negatively affected and you are wondering whether to complain?

    The hotel should have proactively compensated the guests here. Period. They could have ceased work during dining hours…..they could have offered dining experiences on other parts of the resort/island…..the could have proactively suggested complimentary breakfasts in guests’ rooms, etc etc. Although not intended, your reviewing suggests Four Seasons management does not have its act together.

  30. They should have either refunded a partial amount or given some free night vouchers. While this was weather related it was poor planning on the part of the hotel to not account for it. No question, and one doesn’t have to be rude about it either.

  31. I think both you and the hotel handled very elegantly. I agree that the cruise is much better than a discount (specially in the Seychelles…) and a full refund would be disproportianate. I wish every hotel handled this kind of situation with such grace. Better, only if they offered you more proactively.

  32. No, this was not a great response by the hotel. At that end of the market they should have been far more proactive; it’s ridiculous that they waited for guests to complain ( many, like you, won’t unless pushed). The offer of the sunset cruise should have come immediately, plus something like a future discount , ie the latter with such a high breakage rate that the cost would be minimal but the PR value significant.
    They could/should have done better.

  33. If you flew this on miles, make sure to note it in your post. Curious from beginning to end!!

  34. I would have talked to a manager. I will always tell the staff any issue no matter how minor, its ranged from a hole in a door, clogged shower, unpainted window frame, to a plugged toilet. I feel that I need to tell them of issues even if its not a big deal to me because it might be for the next guest. Sometimes I get compensation, other time I don’t.

  35. We’ll handled on all sides as long as everyone was happy with the result.

    I would have asked for a refund for half the price I paid because when staying at any FS property, the premium paid is all for the experience, and that certainly includes views from public area, peacefulness, etc. You missed that so you should have been compensated for not betting the usual “wow” factor from the property.

  36. @Charles Sullivan,

    Yes it is. The water came up probably because some kids threw stones in the ocean.

  37. I never go to brand new places when they open…minimum in a year, preferably in two years, once they get more established and work out the kinks…but in your business, I understand, you need to review new things/places much sooner than that…maybe you could have reviewed Six Senses Zil Payson instead ? 🙂 (seriously though, I hear it’s amazing)
    I think you were absolutely right to bring it up to the manager’s attention…I don’t think, however, that the cruise was an adequate compensation…perhaps the rate should have been cut in half, or perhaps you should have been re-accommodated at their sister property on Mahe (with the rate adjustment), or offered free nights for future stays with FS…in fact, I think you should bring it up with FS (not just with the individual manager)…flying across the world and paying a lot to enjoy a construction site – ask them would they would have done if they were in your shoes?…

  38. We had a similar situation while staying at Banyan Tree Samui. A cyclone hit off the coast leaving the hotel without power for >12 hours and for the next 3 days the beach was constantly covered in debris. They had workmen clearing the beach day and night and the employee’s were trying very hard to fix things. We didn’t complain as it was not in the hotels power to prevent a natural event. They were however proactive and put on a drinks/food event for guests and the manager was very apologetic. It is upsetting for a dream holiday not to work out as expected but we did appreciate the efforts of the hotel.

  39. Lucky I think you did the right thing that’s what I would have done though its disappointing the hotel proactively offer you this sunset cruise and I wonder how many other guests got it so I would have definitely complained though I would have leaned more towards a discount also by complaining it gives the hotel incentive to finish it faster.

  40. Of course you should have complained; you’re an American after all, it’s your God-given right! Seriously though, as soon as things went pear-shaped it was time to pack up and go elsewhere, instead of sitting in a construction zone wondering whether you should complain. The hotel would have understood and made sure you were not out of pocket I’m certain.

  41. Ben,

    I have a rather pessimistic view about Customer Service, seeing it both from inside organizations providing it and outside trying to get treated fairly when something goes enough wrong to warrant some type of accommodation. Don’t hold back on politely sticking up for yourself, but don’t sweat the small stuff!

    My best example of this is was when mechanical problems to a Delta regional jet was causing headaches at my home regional airport, 20 minutes from my house. It was late enough in the day that they threw in the towel, offering hotel and rebooking the next day from the origin, sans compensation. It was a super easy decision for them to strand everyone at the origin, rather trying to send some people to a different hub and cross-booking others, which would have been in the best interest of their passengers. I know when things go wrong, I’d rather be at a hub rather than stuck at the origin!

    To my hearing, I was the only one who stood up for himself, and strangely made out like a bandit: I got cross-booked to a very delayed but still operating nonstop on United, to a close-by New York airport, and got 10,000 Sky Miles to boot! It’s nice to think that folks always have your best interests at heart, but they rarely do!

    That’s obviously exceptional. In many cases, when the provider is unwilling to help you out, it doesn’t really matter whether you complain or not. But you never know if you don’t try!

  42. it’s a four seasons. they must be proactive, in that sense they failed. however, being that you aren’t from the gulf, india or east Africa, a voucher is nonsense. very few folks get a chance to return to the Seychelles, one visit is a privilege, so a voucher is worthless. you went there for a memory and he gave you a good memory to leave with. in that sense the manager did exactly right. often time has a greater value than money when travelling.

  43. Very simple. Dispute the charge on your credit card. You have a valid claim, its obvious the opening date of this resort was rushed as a means to generate a cash flow, at the expense of paying guests such as yourself and boyfriend.

  44. @Amir Friedman – I really don’t get it. There was a resolution (cruise) offered and accepted. Why on earth would he dispute the charge after the fact on his credit card? What you’re suggesting is, at best, unethical. Lucky already took the high road; please don’t suggest he do otherwise. I’m a credit card holder too, and I shouldn’t share the cost of the bogus claim you’re suggesting.

  45. I think you need to reflect on how valuable your “down time” is. Frankly, in this situation I would have packed up and left. There was no need to start a row… you should have just left. I would have asked the hotel to assist me in rebooking. I assume you are an Amex platinum card holder. You could have always asked them to for assistance.

    While I book most of my own trips on line, when it comes to vacations I use Amex travel service. I you would have used them they would have taken care of it.

    Given that you have a highly followed blog your honest report and the hotel’s minimum (and I mean minimum) approach to making matters right there is no way I would ever stay at that hotel.

  46. Colleen

    Amer is absolutely correct. In life once can be a polite Lion and get what your entitled to or a sheep. Come on, a $75 cruise after ruining several days of one’s vacation at supposedly a 5+ star hotel.

  47. @Wright you may be absolutely correct, but your timing is way off. Lucky accepted the cruise and the negotiation is over. Any other suggestion is re-opening a closed, negotiated solution.

    If a credit card charge dispute is warranted, then don’t muck up the works with a negotiated solution like a cruise. You can’t (ethically) have it both ways. If you want to dispute the charge, don ‘t accept the cruise.

  48. @colleen is correct. You accepted the cruise as compensation, so game over.
    As I have already said, it would have been better to leave after the circumstances drastically changed, and found alternative accommodation.

  49. Thanks for asking, Lucky! This is a high end property, as were your expectations. I would have complained IMMEDIATELY. You really couldn’t move to another resort, and weather or not, the experience was marred. I think FS should have comped you a free stay for the number of days that the construction continued at ANY of their properties. A sunset cruise with your partner plays on your emotions but really isn’t worth much. It’s an insulting “thank you” for the inconvenience that you and Ford incurred. Disputing the charge after you had accepted the cruise “apology” is just plain sleazy even if it were successful. You weren’t staying with friends or family; you paid good money, points, whatever. FS didn’t guarantee you that the weather would be good but their properties should be constructed to ensure guests’ comfort in bad weather as well as good. Complain as soon as the problem occurs, politely but firmly.

  50. Hi Lucky, I think youre being a bit of a drama king on this. You should have known the hotel is not completely ready. Keeping that in mind, the hotel did whatever they could to lessen the impact. Was it ideal? No it wasnt. Did you complain about it? Yes! did the hotel make things better for you? Apparently, yes.
    Im sorry, but this post sounds to me like those entitled twits who sent letters to the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai after 26/11 complaining that staff did not answer their extensions when the 26/11 attacks were on in that hotel.
    Its easy to sit on an armchair / airline suite and claim that the hotel should have done better. However, having been part of preopening teams, I can tell you that you can not legislate for everything. For all you know, the area that got flooded had never flooded before.
    Suck it up, and dont go to new hotels. Give them 6 – 9 months of ops to debug most of the issues and then go.

  51. Lucky, just a reminder..for an experienced traveller..sometimes you really come as a green horn twit! Now some here think, you have done it deliberately or at least have thought about the soft opening periode of the hotel. Meaning there are always problems when the hotel is still managing their acts or contructions etc.. Would have been better to have left the hotel or not? Was it a good strategy to stay and therefore hope for a good compensation? Was it really only a cruise or did you got more out of it?
    After reading some of the recent comments..I just wonder how easily you settle your case..shy or not..the stay is not cheap but rather expensive. So you are okay with a simple cruise? I am sure a lot of your readers have done it better and got better compensated.
    Well, it is over now and the case is closed..no more chance to get better deal out of it!

  52. @ James Pointer
    “A sunset cruise with your partner plays on your emotions but really isn’t worth much.”

    Forgive me, but you sound like someone who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

    If you re-read the post you’ll see Lucky describing it as “one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve seen in my life, and we even saw dolphins“. His pictures look delightful. He was there with his partner, sharing the experience. It all sounds pretty bloody special to me.

    Faraday was presenting his latest stunning findings on electricity to a scientific meeting in London. Someone stood up and asked “yes, but what *use* is it?”.

    Faraday replied “what *use* is a baby?”

  53. I don’t see stating facts as complaining… “I am not satisfied with my stay”. If they do something about it then they are worthy of a luxury hotel; if they don’t recognize and do anything they are not.

    Complaining in this case is taking every day challenges and blaming someone for it. A luxury resort should not flood.

    Part of the challenge in being an early guest, unfortunately these things are common as designers are too aggressive with “open air design and the like.

  54. Not hotels fault and I would not make a COMPLAINT . But I would explain that my stay had been upset by the event and I would be expecting up to 50% discount for the ruined days or a credit voucher for any Four Seasons hotel in future .

  55. Two things :

    An introvert is not necessarily fazed by having to tackle an issue. A person who is shy or who has social anxiety is likely to be, but so would an extrovert with the same issues.

    I’m very much an introvert. If have no problem politely addressing any issue at all because I’m not shy and I’m very confident (and by that I do mean confident not demanding, loud or pushy). I might want leaving alone because I’m introverted, but that’s because I get energy from some solitary time.

    Second thing is this. It seems to be an American thing to expect compensation in a situation like this. What happened was also an interesting post to be putting up, with everyone pitching in and doing their best after some nature doing it’s thing. Shit happens, I’m sure the company is a lot more annoyed than any individual guest.

    I’d have commiserated with the staff for needing to sort it out.

  56. @Bev

    under your recent comment. Lucky would be in a category within introvert persons who are shy and have social anxiety??
    Yup, sounds like our Lucky here in some circumstances…

  57. It does not say much for Management of such an upmarket property as a Four Seasons for not being over the top pro-active. They should have taken action immediately. Yes, the forces of Mother Nature were at work but in this situation shows that the architectural design was really at fault. Again really stunning that the General Manager of the Four Seasons property appeared to do nothing. I hope the “higher ups” are taking a close look at how the top management of this
    particular property are running it. Perhaps the General Manager should learn that giving everyone a Complimentary stay at that time would have been pro-active as well as a little note in everyones’ room each morning together with a little gift. That, General Manager, is what Pro-active means.

  58. @ Myles

    Bev expressed the difference well. Introverts get energy from being alone, which they then have to expend just to get them through the experience of being with other people – they find others draining.

    Conversely, extroverts get their energy from being with other people, which they then have to expend to get them through ”alone” time.

    Introverts can be the life and soul of the party; extroverts can be quiet and shy.

    But, fundamentally, extroverts are parasites on introverts, sucking them dry. 😉

  59. So what are you saying
    @ thenicepaul..?? Just say it straight?? I did not ask anybody to tell me the difference of introverts or extroverts! If you just want to sound educated than refer to any other person on this blog. So why me? Any problems with us here??

  60. @ Myles

    I thought I was being helpful.

    Now, if you want me to tell you something about neuroses and paranoia, I cam happily write more for you.

  61. I would have complained not because of the weather but obviously the property was not constructed properly, however had it rained the entire time and nothing but that the weather was bad then no I would not have but I have heard people complained because it rained every day of their stay.

  62. @thenicepaul

    helpful for what? or more frankly for whom? I did not ask you specifically for your advice or in any similar way regarding this topic.

    So stop playing games! Say it frankly or just shut up! As I did not ask for your opinion, straight enough!!!

    You can go back to your library and talk all topics you want to…to persons who care!!

    I do not how long you arr commenting in OMAAT or how old you are or what ever academic titles you have…fake or true…One thing you should definitely know..to keep it for yourself or matter your own business..especially when you are not invited to do so!..You are selling here the academic person, you should actually know your place or mouth!!

    So go and get someone whom you can play your mind games or who really cares what you represent here in OMAAT!

  63. @ Myles

    I think you’re not really understanding the concept of comments on a blog. They are not a private conversation with you. They are comments (sic) from everyone who wants to contribute to the topic, no matter where it wanders. If you don’t like it then, of course, you are perfectly at liberty to walk away.

    For example, I rarely comment on the spats that seem inevitably emerge when people mention Trump or Israel. But if you do want to, then feel free (you do seem to comment a lot, so I guess you feel you have a lot to contribute).

    It is, of course, Lucky’s blog, so we all do what he tells us!

    But anyway, thanks for interacting with me, even if you don’t seem to like me much.

  64. After reading the hotel review that was posted today, my view has changed.

    The damage degraded the breakfast view. However, the spectacular view of the villas were unchanged. To compensate for the diminished breakfast view, a sunset cruise was offered where there were dolphin views. I’d say that is sufficient compensation.

    I do not think the flooding was sufficient for me to want to move to a different hotel. If it were, then that is the solution that I would pursue at the time.

  65. @ derek — Those are two different hotels. The review today was of the Four Seasons Seychelles, while this incident happened at the Four Seasons Desroches Island.

  66. In my experience Four Seasons are excellent at service recovery. They will generally work with you until they find a solution you are happy with. In your case, they offered a sunset cruise and champagne which you accepted, so it that sense they found you a solution. Had you not been happy with that proposal then no doubt they would looked for another way to resolve the issue.

    For me, holiday time is so precious, and I would have been devastated by having a honeymoon or special occasion trip spoilt by construction. I spend months planning my trips down to the tiniest detail and if things do not go to plan, my complaint is never about what I can get out of it, but getting what I dreamed about in the first place.

    In your situation I would probably have asked to be moved back to the Four Seasons in Mahe rather than suffer the ongoing disturbance.

  67. Probably this post is so late that it will not be read but here goes anyway.

    All major hotels have “disaster insurance” of some form or other. I own rental properties and there is insurance available that would cover lost rental income it we have a problem with infrastructure. We do not take the insurance and so we “self insure” and accept that anything we lose in income will probably be less than the insurance.

    So if they comp you then the cost would be insured. (Either by policy or self insurance). To not offer appropriate compensation borders on ridiculous and the hotel manager totally missed the boat. Perhaps in the construction of the resort he/they went on the cheap and did not build protection that obviously was needed possibly voiding any insurance.

    So you should have received significant compensation given that the hotel rates would be in the thousands rather than hundreds.

    Hope you have followed through on this and look forward to hearing if you received anything.

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