Park Hyatt Doha: A Nice Hotel I Won’t Return To (Update)

Park Hyatt Doha: A Nice Hotel I Won’t Return To (Update)

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Update: I received an email from the hotel’s GM, which I added in a section at the bottom of the post. The post is otherwise unchanged from when it was originally published on May 3, 2022.

Hyatt is the hotel group I’m most loyal to, because I find that as a World of Hyatt Globalist member I’m treated well. Most important to me is that Hyatt is consistent, and not many hotels try to play “games” when it comes to benefits. “Most” doesn’t include the Park Hyatt Doha, though.

I’ve been wanting to stay at the Park Hyatt Doha

I generally love Park Hyatts, and always go out of my way to check them out when I’m staying in a city with one. The Park Hyatt Doha is one of the newest properties in the group, as it only opened in December 2019.

But there’s a reason that I wanted to stay at this particular property. The hotel’s first general manager, Stefan Gaessler, seems like an awesome guy. He was universally loved, by both guests and employees. Just look at his participation in the FlyerTalk thread about the Park Hyatt Doha.

He answered virtually every question asked by prospective guests in the thread, and consistently told guests he’d love to meet them, show them around, and get their feedback. He invited people to contact him directly if they needed anything, and was particularly good about elite recognition.

Unfortunately for us, Stefan retired earlier this year, after 33 years with Hyatt. There’s now a new general manager, and reports I’ve seen so far suggest he’s not as pro-World of Hyatt as Stefan was. I was curious to see for myself if that was really the case.

I’ve been wanting to visit the Park Hyatt Doha

Upgrade games at the Park Hyatt Doha

Look, I’m a pretty passive guy nowadays, and all too often I don’t even stand up for myself, because I just don’t like to argue. But sometimes I also think it’s important to stand up for yourself (hi, Aegon Mykonos!).

As an elite member I try to have reasonable expectations. I don’t expect suite upgrades as a Hilton Honors Diamond member. If I’m traveling to Hawaii as a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum member, I recognize that there are so many elites, and I don’t expect much of an upgrade.

But at the Park Hyatt Doha I don’t think I was being over-entitled in hoping for a suite upgrade subject to availability:

  • The hotel has 187 guest rooms, 28 of which are Park Suites (the standard suites here); 15% of the rooms where are standard suites, which must be one of the highest suite to guest room ratios anywhere
  • On the day of arrival not only was Hyatt’s website showing at least two Park Suites available for sale (the most hyatt.com will show), but online platforms like Expedia showed eight Park Suites still for sale, which is the most that can be displayed (in other words, there were likely even more than that)
  • Doha isn’t exactly a destination with a high concentration of Globalist guests, or all that many tourists, for that matter
At least eight Park Suites were available for our stay
At least eight Park Suites were available for our stay

I called the hotel in advance

We booked our stay at the Park Hyatt Doha same day through the Hyatt Privé program. About an hour after booking, I noticed that we had been upgraded one category, from a standard room to a deluxe room. While the hotel is under no obligation to upgrade further in advance, I decided to give the front desk a call:

  • I wanted to let the hotel know we’d be arriving very late, since hotels often like to know your arrival time, including for room allocation
  • I also just wanted to note that I’d appreciate a suite upgrade if it were available at check-in; I was trying to make everyone’s life easier here, because I didn’t want them setting up a welcome amenity in a different room (which is a standard perk through the Hyatt Privé program), and then having to move it around in the middle of the night
  • The associate was friendly; she said that my request for a suite upgrade had been noted, and that every effort would be made to honor it, but she also said that the hotel was very full due to Eid (more on that in a bit… I think we have different definitions of what constitutes full)

My ridiculous 2AM check-in experience

We ended up arriving at the hotel at 2AM, and were greeted by an exceptionally friendly front office agent. The conversation went something like this (this isn’t an exact quote since I wasn’t recording, but it’s pretty close):

Agent: “We’ve upgraded you to a King City View Deluxe.”
Me: “Thank you, do you have any Park Suites available?”
Agent: “We’ve already upgraded you one category to a deluxe room, per the Hyatt Privé program.”
Me: “Thanks, but I believe as a Globalist member I get an upgrade to a standard suite subject to availability, and lots of those suites are still available for sale?”
Agent: “Give me a moment to speak to my colleague and see what I can do.”

At this point the assistant reservations manager came out and warmly greeted me. Let me emphasize that both of these guys couldn’t have been friendlier, and it very much felt to me like left to their own devices I would have been upgraded proactively. The conversation went something like this, after the initial greeting:

Manager: “Let me explain, you booked through Hyatt Privé, so you receive a one category upgrade, and we have already upgraded you a deluxe room. You also receive a $100 credit…”
Me: “Yes, but I’m a Globalist member, and that should get me a suite upgrade subject to availability. Was my Globalist number not attached to the reservation correctly?”
Manager: “I understand you requested a suite, but it wasn’t available at the time. We are very busy because of Eid.” (Reminder: when I called earlier in the day, at least eight of the standard suites were showing for sale)
Me: “I find that a little strange, because Hyatt’s website was selling Park Suites all day, and when I looked on Expedia, I could book at least eight Park Suites for the duration of my stay, so I don’t know what’s going on there. Is the hotel selling rooms that aren’t available?”
Agent: “Let me see what I can do.”

There was a repeated emphasis on how I had received a one category upgrade, suggesting that was sufficient. So the primary argument wasn’t even really that they made every effort to upgrade me to a suite but it wasn’t available, but rather that I should be happy with a one category upgrade. Yet there was also no real pushback when I said that I think I should get a suite subject to availability.

The agent did some typing, and soon enough he confirmed a Park Suite was available. At that point he said he first needed to do a room inspection since the room hadn’t been inspected. He also explained that the amenities would have to be transfered from the other room we had been blocked in. How lovely when this happens after 2AM, when this could have been avoided altogether (especially since I told the hotel our arrival time, and the agent I spoke with promised that every effort would be made to upgrade me to a suite, which obviously didn’t happen).

Again, he was super nice and gracious about the whole thing, and it seemed pretty clear to me that the hotel’s policy of not taking care of elite members was coming from those higher up. He was apologetic as we had to wait, and we were even asked if we wanted anything to drink.

“Luxury is Personal” are just words at the Park Hyatt Doha

A couple more thoughts

Of course Eid is a major holiday in the Middle East, but that doesn’t necessarily mean hotels are going to be busy with guests staying overnight (rather than just people going to food & beverage outlets). How full is the Park Hyatt? Well, while I can’t say for sure, the hotel seems deserted to me. We sat at breakfast for two hours (from 9AM until 11AM), and in total we saw around a dozen people. For an hour there were only two other guests.

This doesn’t exactly look like what you’d expect for a hotel with not a single one of the 28 standard suites available…

Not exactly a bustling breakfast restaurant

I haven’t seen a single other guest in the lobby, despite having walked through it multiple times. Maybe the hotel is busy compared to its normally very low occupancy, but I’d be surprised if this hotel is more than 25% full, and would be shocked if it were more than 50% full.

The other point I want to make is that I don’t go around to hotels picking fights. This happens maybe a couple of times per year, and all too often I’m probably passive. But in a case like this, where it was so obvious that management was just playing games, I felt like trying to pursue this was the right thing:

  • Hotels are supposed to be in the hospitality industry, and that’s about making people feel welcome; I don’t feel welcome when a hotel is actively lying to me and trying to deny benefits that I’m promised in exchange for my loyalty (and I’ve put my money where my mouth is when it comes to Hyatt loyalty — I’m about to reach lifetime Globalist status)
  • My hope by pursuing this is that either hotel management can be retrained, or guests can be warned to avoid hotels like these
  • There’s a general level of delusion among so many hotels when it comes to loyalty programs; there are lots of hotels I could have chosen to stay at, and if I didn’t care about loyalty perks, I could have stayed at the Four Seasons Doha for marginally more, and had a better experience in a similarly upgraded “deluxe” room, all without having to be loyal to the brand
I wish it wouldn’t have taken a battle to get this room

Update: Park Hyatt Doha GM reaches out

The general manager of the Park Hyatt Doha reached out this morning, and said the following:

On behalf of the entire team at Park Hyatt Doha, I would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused during your recent stay with us from 1st to 3rd of May.

The team should have proactively offered you the upgrade to the suite, the team was briefed and we re-emphasized on high importance of recognizing our Globalist members. It is not at all how we would like to portray ourselves as World of Hyatt program is a program that we take very seriously.

That’s all I can ask for, and I’m happy to see that the hotel is taking accountability and not making excuses, so that this doesn’t happen in the future. That’s a little different than what happened at the Aegon Mykonos

Bottom line

A vast majority of the time Hyatt takes great care of me, which is why I’m loyal to the brand. Unfortunately the Park Hyatt Doha is an exception, and it was probably the most obvious example I’ve seen of a Hyatt trying to deny an upgrade in a very long time.

I wouldn’t stay at the Park Hyatt Doha again under the current management, unless I knew something changed. That has nothing to do with a suite upgrade as such, but rather because I feel unwelcome when I’m made to beg and badger in order to get what should be offered proactively.

I hope Hyatt corporate can provide some additional training to the current management team at this property.

How would you have handled this situation?

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  1. Ehhhh Guest

    I don't have a platform to voice my displeasure, so I have to handle things differently because I am a nobody. When I have a horrible stay at a hotel, I just let the front desk know when they ask 'how was your stay'. They apologize and say they will make a note it. I avoid going to that hotel ever again.

  2. Anthony Guest

    Been there and happened to be the Paris Hyatt Vendome. We are Globalists, we did the same thing as you did Ben. We checked the internet and there were several suites available. And they fumbled around incredibly.
    As it was in Paris, we walked out to another 5 star hotel.
    And the follow up with the general manager was distinctly rude and throwing celebrity-ship on us.
    Of course our complaint went to...

    Been there and happened to be the Paris Hyatt Vendome. We are Globalists, we did the same thing as you did Ben. We checked the internet and there were several suites available. And they fumbled around incredibly.
    As it was in Paris, we walked out to another 5 star hotel.
    And the follow up with the general manager was distinctly rude and throwing celebrity-ship on us.
    Of course our complaint went to Chicago. And then he apologised to us.
    We would not return to the Paris Hyatt Vendome again.
    Thankfully it is not like this often.

  3. Mark Guest

    I have stayed at this hotel maybe more than 6 times, and not once have I had a bad experience. I am a globalist and I got my upgrades and more every time.

    I doubt management of any hotel will ever encourage their teams not to give priority to their globalist, at least in my experiences, specially at Hyatt where they really value their members.

    And speaking of the new management, I personally saw a...

    I have stayed at this hotel maybe more than 6 times, and not once have I had a bad experience. I am a globalist and I got my upgrades and more every time.

    I doubt management of any hotel will ever encourage their teams not to give priority to their globalist, at least in my experiences, specially at Hyatt where they really value their members.

    And speaking of the new management, I personally saw a huge positive shift in service since the new general manager took over. I asked to meet him once and not only he met me the same day, but his warmth & professionalism really impressed me.

    Maybe you should do your due diligence before you write such articles based on one
    error.

    1. HMV Guest

      sounds like you are working at the park hyatt doha yourself, cheater.

  4. Nina Guest

    Wow this entire article is so unnecessary. U got the suite at the end. Super anticlimax and very exaggerated. Your life must be completely sad for you to highlight such negativity when you mentioned the overall service was exceptional.

  5. JH Guest

    So any write-up on the Park Suite? Lol

  6. Jill Guest

    Wow I thought this was run by Marriott Bonvoy

  7. Chris Guest

    As much as I do not enjoy doing this (and I've only done it once), here's what I would do in cases like these: call up GCC/your MHC if available at that time, explain your story in front of the front desk, amend your current reservation to book the standard suite, and then get the to adjust the rate to the original.

  8. DCS Diamond

    Whatever happened to so-called "confirmed" suite upgrades? Isn't their claim to fame supposed to be precisely that they avoid Globalists the ignominy of having to "debase" themselves by haggling with the front desk over the availability of complimentary suite upgrades at check-in?

    Inquiring minds wanna know!

    1. Joe Guest

      Well Ben should’ve stayed at a Hilton
      Pursue lifetime Hilton Diamond
      Some people have to learn the hard way

    2. DCS Diamond

      Yeah, it might have justified his haggling over a 'complimentary' suite upgrade, which is something that 'lowly' Hilton Diamonds, who get no 'confirmed' suite upgrades, are supposed to do (although few do it, preferring to just move on, read to try again next time, if told no suite upgrades are available)...

      Global automated upgrades (GAU), anyone?

      G'day.

  9. AbuCordoba Guest

    I have done over 100 nights at this property and seen a massive shift from when Steffan was the GM to the current GM, Roger Saad whom took over and agree fully with Ben that the hotel is somewhat hostile to WoH and you have to push for it there now and the staff are definitely being told to be less accommodating to Globalists. The only reason I believe the GM has emailed is because...

    I have done over 100 nights at this property and seen a massive shift from when Steffan was the GM to the current GM, Roger Saad whom took over and agree fully with Ben that the hotel is somewhat hostile to WoH and you have to push for it there now and the staff are definitely being told to be less accommodating to Globalists. The only reason I believe the GM has emailed is because Hyatt corporate has probably forced him to because of the PR surrounding Ben's article.

  10. Hardy22 Guest

    Of course they responded because of the article - that's really bad advertising about them...

    You know what, Ben? The manager's reaction shows some justice and that your occupation has a sense and that you can also make something happen with it. And I mean that very honestly. Please keep reporting truly on hotels and airlines that don't want to stick to what we all believe to be the(ir) industry standards.

    Hardy from Germany

  11. Crosscourt Guest

    I previously raised the poor level attention offered to Hilton Honors high level members (I'm lifetime diamond), here is an example. For 2 weeks I stayed at homewood suites in miami (convenience) and it was an effort to get a 4pm checkout. First they said check on the day, then said only 2pm, finally settled for 3pm. The hotel was only 63% full. I did a trip advisor review on several poor aspects of the...

    I previously raised the poor level attention offered to Hilton Honors high level members (I'm lifetime diamond), here is an example. For 2 weeks I stayed at homewood suites in miami (convenience) and it was an effort to get a 4pm checkout. First they said check on the day, then said only 2pm, finally settled for 3pm. The hotel was only 63% full. I did a trip advisor review on several poor aspects of the hotel. The GM said he didn't know, in response. I had even spoken to him.

  12. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

    But they were so nice to you!
    (As they tried to twist the knife)

  13. Mike Saint Guest

    Lucky,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post about this. Ignore the people that say you're complaining or a "DYKWIA" situation. As a fellow Globalist, I understand where you're coming from. I typically don't push it but if I saw a situation with 8 suites still available then I would have done what you did.

    I appreciate your posting. I know you did it to help all fellow FUTURE travelers to the hotel....

    Lucky,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post about this. Ignore the people that say you're complaining or a "DYKWIA" situation. As a fellow Globalist, I understand where you're coming from. I typically don't push it but if I saw a situation with 8 suites still available then I would have done what you did.

    I appreciate your posting. I know you did it to help all fellow FUTURE travelers to the hotel. When people like you do things like this, hopefully it pushes management to follow the rules and respect them.

  14. Bernard Guest

    I have been staying at JW Doha for more than 6 months now (which I am quite happy with) and was looking at the Park Hyatt.
    I believe that is an unfortunate mistake/rule done during the room allocation and with the staff at 2am, I dont think they can do much as it comes from the top/directive.
    On how busy is the hotel, this is true that hotel in Doha are highly loaded...

    I have been staying at JW Doha for more than 6 months now (which I am quite happy with) and was looking at the Park Hyatt.
    I believe that is an unfortunate mistake/rule done during the room allocation and with the staff at 2am, I dont think they can do much as it comes from the top/directive.
    On how busy is the hotel, this is true that hotel in Doha are highly loaded between 3-5 may. For instance I almost have to move to my suite on 3rd May as hotel was totally booked at some point (view as of 28 April) but some booking got cancelled and was later confirmed until I checked out.
    For Breakfast, 1-2 May will be pretty empty as 1st is still ramadan (I almost saw nobody during ramadan), and 2nd May is the morning prayer to end ramadan. This is what I experience in JW Doha.

    They do also cares about negative review as being a very competitive market with lots of hotel opening this year.

  15. Sel, D. Guest

    @Lucky had you complained or do you think they responded because of your article?

  16. Lama Guest

    Most of the hotels in Doha has this issue, hotels are full of security guards as commissionaires and a very few trained hospitality personnels who understand the business. Many of the hotels called themselves 5⭐ but their room stinks like garage bins. If they won't improve, they will suffer the most after 2022.

  17. Gordon Guest

    On a completely random side note, a lot of hotels get filled during Eid because the servants, maids, nannies, etc all go home to visit their families, so families move into a hotel, often in the same town, as an alternative to having to clean for themselves, etc.

  18. Terry Guest

    This also happened to me as well at Andaz 5th in NY; stayed there several times and other Hyatt and staff would mention either we upgraded you, or, sorry, we are fully booked so we couldn't upgrade you. At Andaz 5th, the last time in March 2022, the staff didn't mention one way or the other. There was no usual "thank you for being a globalist..." I had to prompt them for my benefits like...

    This also happened to me as well at Andaz 5th in NY; stayed there several times and other Hyatt and staff would mention either we upgraded you, or, sorry, we are fully booked so we couldn't upgrade you. At Andaz 5th, the last time in March 2022, the staff didn't mention one way or the other. There was no usual "thank you for being a globalist..." I had to prompt them for my benefits like breakfast etc to be taken OFF my bill. And room was not upgraded. I just figured there were too many globalists now and it just isn't elite enough.

    1. Oliver Petcu Guest

      Do you honestly anyone at Hyatt gives a damn about such entirely negative reviews entirely written from the loyalty membership point of view?

      Park Hyatt is a brand completely lost, the majority of properties being dated / tired and no longer boasting the service standards they once used to extend - with or without loyalty membership aspects considered.

      I have been covering the luxury industry (all sectors) from a business perspective, for over...

      Do you honestly anyone at Hyatt gives a damn about such entirely negative reviews entirely written from the loyalty membership point of view?

      Park Hyatt is a brand completely lost, the majority of properties being dated / tired and no longer boasting the service standards they once used to extend - with or without loyalty membership aspects considered.

      I have been covering the luxury industry (all sectors) from a business perspective, for over 14 years - including reviewing over 300 luxury hotels.

      Over half of GMs and management do not know how to take any feedback which is not glowing. Instead, they perceive any negative feedback as a personal vendetta.

      Media stays are the tool which many luxury groups / chains abuse. One can easily be banned after such a negative review.

      Even if I would choose to share such negative feedback with all global / regional executives, in writing (by email) and not include these issues in a published review, the respective chain or group would still maintain a 'fear' that future stays may kindle negative reviews of other properties.

      I believe nobody wants to read an entirely negative review and there has to be a balance. My choice has been to not publish anything in the case of a stay which is predominantly negative, especially from a service point of view.

    2. TravelinWilly Diamond

      @Oliver

      Do you honestly think anyone gives a damn about your bombastic self-important word vomit, especially when you make it, literally, all about you?

      Barf.

    3. LK Guest

      Well your reviews must be pretty useless then

  19. Robert Martin Guest

    Really I have had enough of yourself importance. I enjoy reading almost any travel experience other than those who only talk about me me.

    1. Jesse Member

      Well, I assume that you are not a long-time reader. Ben is usually fair and balanced when it comes to reviews, and if something is either really good or really bad, he highlights his experience. I think this post is very relevant to Hyatt Globalist members who value the perks they earned from spending a boatload of money with Hyatt.

    2. Sally Guest

      What a weird comment. If Ben’s not talking about his experience, then what’s he supposed to talk about?

    3. H-T Member

      He isnt talking about his experience as much as he is talking about self importance. Read the blood once again and you’ll see it is all about him, his globalist level and the expectations of an upgrade.
      These types of complains are becoming overly common and tiresome. Greece then Doha then what? For God’s sake do what I do: if you want a particular room then book and pay for it yourself. If you...

      He isnt talking about his experience as much as he is talking about self importance. Read the blood once again and you’ll see it is all about him, his globalist level and the expectations of an upgrade.
      These types of complains are becoming overly common and tiresome. Greece then Doha then what? For God’s sake do what I do: if you want a particular room then book and pay for it yourself. If you get an upgrade then great and if you dont then you’ll be happy with that you have already booked and paid for!
      There should be more to his life than just putting down hotels that have not given him that extra he was promised by the chain’s owners.

    4. MoJoe Gold

      Isn't the whole point of these reviews to let readers know how the services provided stacked up against what was promised/expected?

      If a hotel (and its management chain) don't want to provide a particular benefit, that's fine. But then they shouldn't promise it in the first place, right? If ABC and XYZ benefits are promised but not delivered, then that's where readers want to know about available remedies.

    5. Malc Member

      It's not self-important at all. He's trying to give an impression of his personal experience because he wants us to imagine us in his place. He's probably the finest hotel and flight reviewer out there – due to his thoroughness and candor.

    6. Matt Guest

      So you don't think that a reasonable review would touch on whether a hotel provides the accommodation which had been promised at booking?

  20. Ethan Guest

    My only basic room at a Hyatt, in 2022, is also a Park Hyatt which shall remain anonymous.
    Front desk was apologetic, but not getting any upgrade like a Deluxe room still feels like a slap in the face.

    1. Paul Guest

      Such a long unnecessary whine just for not getting a suite upgrade? You got an upgrade man, and with great welcome by the staff at 2 am. I understand your point of what you 'deserve', but this is kind of 'entitlement' over-reach and that makes lives miserable at both ends. Your eloquence and post would have been more meaningful if the challenges of a few downtrodden lives that serves elites like you in that city...

      Such a long unnecessary whine just for not getting a suite upgrade? You got an upgrade man, and with great welcome by the staff at 2 am. I understand your point of what you 'deserve', but this is kind of 'entitlement' over-reach and that makes lives miserable at both ends. Your eloquence and post would have been more meaningful if the challenges of a few downtrodden lives that serves elites like you in that city were also highlighted. A classic previliged first world whine underpinned by overanalysis that doesn't make the world a better place!

    2. Ethan Guest

      Aaaaaaand from someone who can't even find correct place to post his unwanted $0.02

  21. Mh Diamond

    Fully support your approach in this case; it was completely justified. Well done.

  22. Doug Guest

    I am currently "club Hilton" because of the benefits I get being a measly gold member through Amex, but I have always noted how highly you speak of hyatt, and many of my business related stays are at hyatt, but if that is the way they treat their loyal customers, I might stick with hilton.

  23. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

    DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM!!!!!
    Give me my free stuff!

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      If that’s what a hotel promises, then the customer has every right to expect it.

      You should try traveling sometime, even just once.

    2. Andrew Gold

      It's not free if you're paying for it, JorgeGeorge. And if the program says you can get deferred benefits by being loyal to the brand, it's a commitment on their end.

  24. Pola Guest

    Hotels went through hell over last 2 years and you don’t know why they did what they did. Most of the times hotel staff works ridiculously long hours for minimum wage. This job is not easy and quite often because of how they are treated by guests. After all it’s just a room and you lucky you can travel

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Pola -- I'm absolutely fortunate to be able to travel, and I don't take that for granted. And I'm not at all blaming the hotel staff, as you can see. I talked about how they were kind, and think this is a management issue.

    2. Alexf1 Member

      In fairness to Ben, he repeatedly said that the staff were apologetic and friendly. This comes down to a management policy which was being followed at 2AM when nobody really feels like following policy. It should have been sorted before Ben's arrival if indeed he was eligible for the Suite. Otherwise it can be awkward.

      The above said, if I counted the times I had to explain to hotel (and airline) staff that I...

      In fairness to Ben, he repeatedly said that the staff were apologetic and friendly. This comes down to a management policy which was being followed at 2AM when nobody really feels like following policy. It should have been sorted before Ben's arrival if indeed he was eligible for the Suite. Otherwise it can be awkward.

      The above said, if I counted the times I had to explain to hotel (and airline) staff that I was eligible for something they weren't providing - I'd be in the hundreds. You're right to point it out to them but I wonder if an 'expose' on your site is necessary given you received the Suite in the end. I worry that the poor front line staff will cop it during any Hyatt HQ investigation notwithstanding your comments about their friendliness.

    3. Rose Guest

      Thanks for coming out clean n stating how bad the wages of the employees are!

  25. Omer Guest

    With all due respect, when you stay just overnight and checking in at 2am, why is a suite so important to you? Basically yiu are just going to the room at this hour to go to bed, wake up, eat breakfast and check out? By arguing with front desk so late at night you were just depriving yourself of more time to sleep...picture would look different if you were to stay there for more than 1 night...but seriously...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Omer -- I was staying for two nights, not one night.

  26. Mike Guest

    You realise Eid is the most popular holiday time in the Arab and Muslim World? The equivalent of Christmas.

    Would you demand a suite upgrade at Xmas in a Western country?

    You're staying for two nights, not one, and as per the manager none of the rooms they had were clean.

    Arabs tend not to book in advance and arrive at hotels demanding suites. The hotel knows this and was prepared to sell it to...

    You realise Eid is the most popular holiday time in the Arab and Muslim World? The equivalent of Christmas.

    Would you demand a suite upgrade at Xmas in a Western country?

    You're staying for two nights, not one, and as per the manager none of the rooms they had were clean.

    Arabs tend not to book in advance and arrive at hotels demanding suites. The hotel knows this and was prepared to sell it to walk ups they expect over the holidays.

    The fact that you think the hotel is empty shows you don't understand how many large Arab families travel. Many will send most of their time in their suites.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Mike -- I do understand Eid is a huge holiday. That doesn't mean all hotels are full, though, as many people take vacations after the holiday.

      To answer your questions:
      -- Would I "demand" a suite over Christmas in a western country? Well, not all western hotels are full over Christmas, and if eight or more of the standard suites were showing as available, then of course I would.
      -- I arrived...

      @ Mike -- I do understand Eid is a huge holiday. That doesn't mean all hotels are full, though, as many people take vacations after the holiday.

      To answer your questions:
      -- Would I "demand" a suite over Christmas in a western country? Well, not all western hotels are full over Christmas, and if eight or more of the standard suites were showing as available, then of course I would.
      -- I arrived at 2AM. Do you think there's going to be eight or more families arriving after 2AM to book a suite for that night?
      -- Even if the hotel was expecting eight or more families to walk-in for a last minute suite booking at 2AM (which is preposterous), that's not consistent with World of Hyatt terms. Suite upgrades are subject to availability at the time of check-in, and the hotel can't hold back suites for sale because it thinks people might book (especially when we're talking about the number of suites the hotel had).
      -- The manager never said none of the rooms were clean. The rooms were clean. He just needed to inspect the suite, as is standard prior to a guest being able to check-in.

    2. Mike Guest

      I don't expect walk ups at 2AM, but you were staying two nights. You know those suites may well sell tomorrow.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Mike -- That violates Hyatt's policy. Hotels are supposed to provide standard suite upgrades subject to availability at the time of check-in for the duration of the stay. So if you were staying for a week, a hotel can't hold back a suite because it thinks the suite could be sold in the coming days. I don't make the rules, World of Hyatt does.

      And for what it's worth, on my second day the...

      @ Mike -- That violates Hyatt's policy. Hotels are supposed to provide standard suite upgrades subject to availability at the time of check-in for the duration of the stay. So if you were staying for a week, a hotel can't hold back a suite because it thinks the suite could be sold in the coming days. I don't make the rules, World of Hyatt does.

      And for what it's worth, on my second day the hotel was still showing eight or more suites available for sale for that night.

      So I really don't view that as any sort of a justification.

    4. Matt Guest

      "Would you demand a suite upgrade at Xmas in a Western country?"

      At a ski resort or similar holiday destination that books up? No.

      At a city hotel with a lot of suites showing great availability? Yes.

      The room was clearly available, since he ended up in a suite...

  27. D3kingg Guest

    You did fine. Sometimes you gotta play the dyknwia. Also 2am. As an employee I wouldn’t want to be bothered and grumpy because graveyard shifts are tough. In the end you got the suite and had a leisurely 2hr bkfst so good.

    1. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

      But the employees were nice!

  28. VX_Flier Guest

    Waitaminute. As a Globalist, am I really entitled to a Suite Upgrade based on availability if a standard suite is available for booking?

    I have not received a suite in nearly two years and have usually been told that none are available. Properties like the GH San Diego make me jump through hoops and keep me waiting 30-45 mins just for a room upgrade. (And in the meantime, the FD clerk next to us upgrades...

    Waitaminute. As a Globalist, am I really entitled to a Suite Upgrade based on availability if a standard suite is available for booking?

    I have not received a suite in nearly two years and have usually been told that none are available. Properties like the GH San Diego make me jump through hoops and keep me waiting 30-45 mins just for a room upgrade. (And in the meantime, the FD clerk next to us upgrades 2 non-globalists in a row). I received a room with a cracked sink and plugged drain for my troubles.

    I’m doing something wrong here. Lol.

    1. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

      You're not passing the Benjamin.....

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ VX_Flier -- Indeed, Globalists do get suite upgrades subject to availability at check-in. However, it's important to keep in mind that at many properties there are LOTS of Globalist members, and perhaps not that many suites available.

      As a general rule of thumb, I find suite upgrades to not be that common in the United States, while in other parts of the globe they're much more common, especially at properties where a high percentage of rooms are suites.

    3. Andrew Gold

      I also never receive them. Even when they're free. At crappy hotels like Hyatt Place Pasadena. Somehow, they're never proactively offered.

      The only time I get a suite is when I confirm it in advance with 6k or 9k point upgrades, free nights or certs.

  29. AbuCordoba Guest

    I was the guy who wrote on flyertalk about how disappointed I was with the new management of the hotel (Roger Saad) compared to Steffan after booking a stay for 3 months and having to cut it short to how badly run the management of the hotel is...there is some exceptional staff who do not deserve to be working in such an environment. I would echo Lucky sentiments and avoid until a new Management team is put in place.

  30. AC Guest

    Lucky - you are getting as bad as Gary whining about upgrades. I'm Titanium Marriott and Diamond Hilton (only Explorist Hyatt) but I am glad when I get an upgrade but don't make a Federal case out of not getting one (even if they are for sale). My logic is you don't know what is being held back for sale. Now if you are there for 1 night and check in at 2 AM I...

    Lucky - you are getting as bad as Gary whining about upgrades. I'm Titanium Marriott and Diamond Hilton (only Explorist Hyatt) but I am glad when I get an upgrade but don't make a Federal case out of not getting one (even if they are for sale). My logic is you don't know what is being held back for sale. Now if you are there for 1 night and check in at 2 AM I agree you should have gotten one but please don't be "that guy" who whines about a first world problem. Be thankful you can travel in first or business class and visit places like Doha and the Maldives. Man you are jaded!!!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ AC -- I absolutely am grateful I can travel. To be clear, I checked in at 2AM for a two night stay, so that's somehow less deserving of an upgrade than checking in at 2AM for a one night stay?

      Holding back at least eight suites for that night at 2AM doesn't seem like terribly sound logic on the hotel's part, and also isn't consistent with the World of Hyatt terms.

    2. Matt Guest

      You've chosen to focus on programs which don't commit to upgrades at the program level. That's your choice. A big reason that people commit to Hyatt's program (with its smaller footprint) is because they promise and deliver on better treatment and richer benefits. If those benefits aren't honored (and in my experience they generally are), then there wouldn't be a reason to make the extra effort often needed to choose Hyatt.

  31. Krivokrasov Guest

    Had this happen at the Park Hyatt Dubai in January. Lots of standard suites available, sent in a request in advance to secure one as a Globalist, but was denied at check-in. I happened to be in communication with the GM after my stay and brought up this issue, and his advice was to absolutely demand it at check-in if it shows available. So there you have it.

    1. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

      Well something is not right with that picture.....

  32. Crosscourt Guest

    Sounds like a response that Hilton properties give honors top members. I get negative responses way too often, especially in the usa, and I'm lifetime diamond. Good on you for standing your ground.

  33. KH Guest

    Hi Ben, I'm sorry to read that you had this experience. I had the complete opposite just two weeks ago when they upgraded me (as a Globalist) and my partner to a Park Suite prior to arrival. I was slightly nervous coz I had booked two beds, this being Qatar, but did not encounter any issues at check-in when the very affable check-in guy took a look at the two of us gentlemen and asked,...

    Hi Ben, I'm sorry to read that you had this experience. I had the complete opposite just two weeks ago when they upgraded me (as a Globalist) and my partner to a Park Suite prior to arrival. I was slightly nervous coz I had booked two beds, this being Qatar, but did not encounter any issues at check-in when the very affable check-in guy took a look at the two of us gentlemen and asked, "The Suite comes with a king bed, will that be acceptable to you?"

    That alone made me feel so welcomed that I want to come back and have a proper stay at the PH Doha in the future. I was sad that we were only there on an overnight transit. Love your blog and can't wait to read about your next adventure (hopefully with a better experience than this one)!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ KH -- Happy to hear you had a much better experience! Can't help but wonder if maybe the sales manager was on vacation for the holiday and everyone else at the property isn't trained in how upgrades are supposed to work, or what.

  34. Hamza Guest

    I would love to meet you for coffee and show you around the city if it if possible and you would like that. I am truly a big fan of your blog.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Hamza -- Sorry to have missed you and thanks for reading! I published this when I was already at the airport leaving the country. Hopefully next time!

    2. Hamzs Guest

      Thank you very much for replying to my comment. I live in VA and I travel very often and Qatar is where I grow up when I was a child. I will be very happy to meet you in person if you visit Virginia. I live in Alexandria. Keep going, your blog is my fav. All the best.

  35. Michael Guest

    Lucky, thanks for the report, and thanks for standing your ground.
    A hotel acting like that to me, would land on a blacklist, so black that a black hole appears white in comparison

    1. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

      Uh, like they need one pushy persons bidnezz?

  36. Destiny Guest

    We had a very similar stay at the Park Hyatt in St. Kitts, which was awful. The food and service prior to us complaining definitely let us know we wouldn’t be returning.

  37. MikeL1986 Guest

    @Ben I think you are right in that the individual hotel management team has a lot to do with elite recognition. I am just a lowly Discoverist with Hyatt (almost Explorist :-) ) and I was given a great upgrade at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. I booked with Ford to get the Hyatt Prive benefits and I went from a standard room to a Corner King. Mind you, the corner king is basically a...

    @Ben I think you are right in that the individual hotel management team has a lot to do with elite recognition. I am just a lowly Discoverist with Hyatt (almost Explorist :-) ) and I was given a great upgrade at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. I booked with Ford to get the Hyatt Prive benefits and I went from a standard room to a Corner King. Mind you, the corner king is basically a suite in that you enter the room in the living area, then there is a hallway with two large closets and a large luxurious bathroom leading to a separate bedroom. I was thrilled with this.

    Move on down to the Hyatt Centric in Portland a month later and they said I was upgraded but I am pretty sure it was a basic room. There was nothing different about it.

    Whoever is managing the property shouldn't matter though and you should be able to expect a fairly consistent process as a Globalist IMO.

    1. Hyatt of San Diego Guest

      That's good because I've heard nothing but negative experiences from Globalists about getting upgrades at Pacific Northwest Hyatt's, especially Seattle.

  38. Alonzo Diamond

    There's always an issue with Marriott, Hilton and now Hyatt. Not saying it's your fault. But maybe going the non loyalty route like Four Seasons or doing what GSTP does and stay in Airbnb's and VRBO's may make more sense. Seems like people tend to think games are being played with suite availability, would just make sense to avoid hotels.

    1. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

      Easy to get ripped off in airbnb land and airbnb will leave you hanging by your own petard.....

    2. Hyatt of San Diego Guest

      How does AirBNB rip people off?

    3. Alexf1 Member

      Would this blog lose half its content if Ben stayed at Airbnbs?

  39. Stuart Guest

    TBH With the new Mandarin there that looks fantastic, and the Four Seasons that is on the beach and is the go-to in Doha for luxury, the PH there should be doing everything it can to be a hotel of choice for Globalists. Without the upgrade potential I would just go to Mandarin at this point. Other than the points there is no incentive whatsoever on a paid rate.

  40. hp12c Member

    Had this exact same experience last night at the Hyatt Centric Buckhead in Atlanta. Suites for sale but just straight up lied to by the front desk agent saying that there are no suites available. It seems to be happening more frequently to me lately, which is very frustrating.
    Oh, and breakfast was a ghost town, and I’ve seen 5 other guests max in the last 18 hours…

    1. Hyatt of San Diego Guest

      Same thing happened to ne at Hyatt Centric Buckhead. They are just holding rooms for paid guests only. I wasn't wasting a suite upgrade on this hotel at the Mall with a gorgeous view of Macy's. It's the lie to your face as they look down at their computer screens that bothers me. Breakfast menu is terrible there by the way. I will fight for a suite if I feel the stay and hotel is worth it.

  41. Regis Guest

    You get more of what you tolerate. You don't complain about standard rooms when suites are available, you will keep getting standard rooms. If we don't demand hotels honor the commitments they freely made us as elite members then hotels just feel more empowered and encouraged not to provide these benefits to guests. This low expectations attitude that many people have of "just be happy with what you get" is part of the reason elite...

    You get more of what you tolerate. You don't complain about standard rooms when suites are available, you will keep getting standard rooms. If we don't demand hotels honor the commitments they freely made us as elite members then hotels just feel more empowered and encouraged not to provide these benefits to guests. This low expectations attitude that many people have of "just be happy with what you get" is part of the reason elite recognitions is so poor across the major hotel chains.

  42. Wayne Traveller Guest

    Please don't give us proper Globalists a bad name when you thrown the DYKWIA spiel. Don't call in advance demanding what is available. Just be grateful that you're healthy and even travelling again

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Wayne Traveller -- What's a "proper Globalist?"

    2. robbo Guest

      One who pays and stays, not one who earns status with fancy US based credit cards loaded up with free points. Which one are you?

    3. SB Guest

      terrible take, Sir! A "Proper Globalist" works hard to earn what he or she rightly is entitled to. A "Proper Globalist" knows the benefits and feels slighted when lied to.

    4. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

      Works hard spending their companies money LOL!

    5. Reno Joe Guest

      Wayne, your comments seem like those of a troll and I'd be curious as to from which IP address your comments were submitted. There is nothing in Ben's article that suggests his call in advance had the tone of a demand. At check-in, Ben stating he is a Globalist does not come across as "do you know who I am" but rather comes across as a hotel loyalty program member seeking a benefit granted by...

      Wayne, your comments seem like those of a troll and I'd be curious as to from which IP address your comments were submitted. There is nothing in Ben's article that suggests his call in advance had the tone of a demand. At check-in, Ben stating he is a Globalist does not come across as "do you know who I am" but rather comes across as a hotel loyalty program member seeking a benefit granted by the program's terms and conditions. Why does a hotel loyalty program expressly state a benefit if there is no intention to provide that benefit?

    6. michael Guest

      What’s the point of being loyal to one brand and staying for the required number of nights, only to be told that you are not entitled to publish benefits?

    7. Chuck Guest

      I'd be willing to bet that Ben wore his white gloves and top hat for the entirety of the exchange, all but assuring that the front desk staff would recognize him as the proper Globalist he is.

    8. glenn t Diamond

      Perhaps @Wayne can enlighten me with his definition of what an ' improper' Globalist might be?

    9. Amateur Traveler Guest

      "Just be grateful that you're healthy and even travelling again"

      The "there are starving children in Africa" argument my parents used. Why are you worried about being given a bad name? Just be grateful you are a proper Globalist.

  43. JS Guest

    Hi Lucky - breakfast room may have been deserted as many Middle Eastern guests prefer to order room service for breakfast! Hotel was likely fuller than it appeared.

    1. Evan Guest

      That wouldn't explain why 8+ suites were available for sale online though...

  44. Andy Diamond

    As far as suite upgrades are concerned pretty much muy standard experience. That’s why I really like Hilton: They don’t even promise and that avoids a lot of frustration.

    1. DLPTATL Gold

      @Andy - I also like how Hilton allows you to "buy" upgrades at many properties with points. Admittedly sometimes the points cost is absurd, but at least it's transparent and there's an option.

    2. ArthurSFO New Member

      Hilton is great for me because it's so easy as a US-based member to achieve Diamond status. The low level of effort makes the benefits seem very reasonable to generous.
      With Hyatt, though, I often need to go out of my way to stay at one of their properties. The higher level of effort to qualify for Globalist is justified by the higher level of benefits (compared to other programs). So, when a hotel...

      Hilton is great for me because it's so easy as a US-based member to achieve Diamond status. The low level of effort makes the benefits seem very reasonable to generous.
      With Hyatt, though, I often need to go out of my way to stay at one of their properties. The higher level of effort to qualify for Globalist is justified by the higher level of benefits (compared to other programs). So, when a hotel purposefully withholds on the benefits, it becomes hard to justify the higher level of effort to qualify for Globalist

    3. Ethan Guest

      No other hotel group have better value in buying upgrades as Hyatt though. double points for premium suite, or add 6000 / 9000 points.

  45. JetAway Guest

    I would be more interested as to whether staff was courteous and responsive rather than "friendly" inasmuch as friendliness is often a cover in the hospitality industry for shortcomings or problems (as in this case).

  46. Creditcrunch Gold

    With so many arrivals into DXB at silly o-clock you would think that they had a decent core of staff to deal with checkin and checkout. I wonder if the breakfast room was set up for sunrise meals, hence by the time you were in there most people observing Eid had already eaten.

  47. Khatl Gold

    The incremental cost to the hotel of giving a suite v a normal room is negligible so I don't get why hotels play this game. Off the top of my head, I've had it happen at the Grand Hyatt DC, W New York Times Square, Hyatt Regency Portland, Sheraton Dubrovnik. And, I truly don't understand why the brands don't hold the hotels to account as its only hurting the brand with customers that spend the most across the portfolio.

    1. Jones Guest

      I agree. I don't understand what's happening here. Leaving aside that Ben's a blogger who can (and did) trash the hotel's reputation, what's the downside to the hotel/management of giving a suite that's available to someone who's entitled to a suite? It's not as if he demanded something he wasn't entitled to or wasn't available.

    2. ArthurSFO New Member

      Aside from meals/drinks, there's very little direct cost to airlines giving an available business class seat to an econ passenger. The real cost comes in lowering a passenger's willingness to pay for business (if I can get upgraded, why would I pay for it?).
      My impression is that some hotel managers apply the same logic to hotel suites. I don't agree with this practice, but it's the only logical reason I can think of.

      Aside from meals/drinks, there's very little direct cost to airlines giving an available business class seat to an econ passenger. The real cost comes in lowering a passenger's willingness to pay for business (if I can get upgraded, why would I pay for it?).
      My impression is that some hotel managers apply the same logic to hotel suites. I don't agree with this practice, but it's the only logical reason I can think of.
      Like Jones says, though, they seem to forget that some guests are entitled to a room/suite upgrade. They don't like the rules of the game so they try to change them on the fly because their hotel is *special* and in their opinion doesn't have to play by the rules

    3. Ethan Guest

      It's also because each stay runs down the room a little bit.
      I know a Hilton with great elite recognization (Just ask as a Diamond and you get a suite) I can see suite running down worse than a random normal room.

    4. Serge T Guest

      Oh I had it also at the Dubrovnik property (Sheraton) they swap me to a room with no sea view. Call it an upgrade. I was livid. It was 1 am. I told them. Absolutely not. What kind of a joke was this. In nice way though. They came back with keys to the Presidential Suite. :)

  48. DLPTATL Guest

    I can't help but wonder if it wasn't so much that the hotel was full because of Eid al-Fitr, but instead that because of the holiday they had less housekeeping staff. I'm sure it takes longer to clean a suite than it does a standard room. Was there any noticeable staffing issues? Perhaps not if there are two people working reception at 2am...

    During a number of recent hotel stays lounges have been closed, restaurants...

    I can't help but wonder if it wasn't so much that the hotel was full because of Eid al-Fitr, but instead that because of the holiday they had less housekeeping staff. I'm sure it takes longer to clean a suite than it does a standard room. Was there any noticeable staffing issues? Perhaps not if there are two people working reception at 2am...

    During a number of recent hotel stays lounges have been closed, restaurants and bars have significantly reduced hours, etc. When I've asked at reception they said it's because they aren't able to hire enough staff. I guess a lot of workers in hospitality have gone on to do other higher-paying and less strenuous jobs during the pandemic without enough new workers entering the field to backfill them.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ DLPTATL -- For what it's worth, the hotel was VERY well staffed. At breakfast the servers outnumbered the guests, and at check-out there were five front office associates at the desk.

    2. DLPTATL Gold

      Then there's no excuse other than management not valuing the perks given to their most loyal guests. Your before/after of a great GM "experiment" shows just how critical it is to have a great GM that empowers the hotel staff to make the guest experience great. Or in this case needlessly unpleasant.

    3. RPGFAFG Guest

      I was thinking the same thing about a possible staffing shortage. But even if that were the case (it appears that it wasn't), the hotel should just admit it. Everyone knows the hospitality industry is experiencing a labor shortage, and there are still COVID outbreaks that can decimate any workforce.

      Ben's experience is disappointing. All the loyalty programs plays games. But the selling point of Globalist status and booking at a Park Hyatt is that...

      I was thinking the same thing about a possible staffing shortage. But even if that were the case (it appears that it wasn't), the hotel should just admit it. Everyone knows the hospitality industry is experiencing a labor shortage, and there are still COVID outbreaks that can decimate any workforce.

      Ben's experience is disappointing. All the loyalty programs plays games. But the selling point of Globalist status and booking at a Park Hyatt is that those games won't be played. Otherwise, it's just an expensive hotel, in a small chain, with a hard-to-reach status.

    4. Lin Guest

      Go St Regis next time. I has wonderful experience there. Lovely too!

  49. DenB Diamond

    I would have handled it the same. This post is exactly what PH Doha needs, to see the light or to get their just deserts. Their best option is to very publicly promise everything will change, starting now.

    1. Eve Guest

      I think this is a far stretch to request this single property to apologise and make a commitment since this is an industry wide issue and can only be achieved if the parent company or brand itself makes a commitment to enforce there rules. I am Ambassador Elite in Bonvoy, and i have stayed over 300+ nights last year (mostly due to work) and tried many properties, and a decent amount of them have not...

      I think this is a far stretch to request this single property to apologise and make a commitment since this is an industry wide issue and can only be achieved if the parent company or brand itself makes a commitment to enforce there rules. I am Ambassador Elite in Bonvoy, and i have stayed over 300+ nights last year (mostly due to work) and tried many properties, and a decent amount of them have not fulfilled there check-in obligations for elites, nor upgraded me even though many of those properties had suites available. In fact 5 properties I stayed at didn’t even provide me welcome gift and it was even near impossible to convince them to honour their $100 compensation, I only got from 3, and that too after heavy communications with the Ambassador helpline.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Regis Guest

You get more of what you tolerate. You don't complain about standard rooms when suites are available, you will keep getting standard rooms. If we don't demand hotels honor the commitments they freely made us as elite members then hotels just feel more empowered and encouraged not to provide these benefits to guests. This low expectations attitude that many people have of "just be happy with what you get" is part of the reason elite recognitions is so poor across the major hotel chains.

11
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Wayne Traveller -- What's a "proper Globalist?"

10
Jesse Member

Well, I assume that you are not a long-time reader. Ben is usually fair and balanced when it comes to reviews, and if something is either really good or really bad, he highlights his experience. I think this post is very relevant to Hyatt Globalist members who value the perks they earned from spending a boatload of money with Hyatt.

9
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