We were scheduled to arrive for our Hard Rock Hotel escapade on Friday the 18th of December around 4 pm. We flown in by Firefly into Penang for the first time as we have always drove to Penang before this as the journey is just a 4 hours drive. We were apprehensive of Firefly, the spin-off of Malaysia Airlines, which is to cater to the budget conscious crowd. Even their name is Your Community Airline. So, I asked my wife to call ahead Hard Rock Hotel to confirm our booking and told them that we maybe late.
When she called in, the reception was busy as it was the middle of the school holiday and very near Christmas. The staff who answered the call was flustered and understandably rushed. Before even asking properly about our booking, they immediately, in quite a rude manner said that we have no booking then and no booking can be made as they are full. Even after giving the booking number, instead of being helpful, she was adamant that we couldn't have possibly made a booking in early November as they were fully booked since October. Even when my wife read out the booking number, same answer was given!
As I was out and about in Shah Alam town to settle a few matters, my wife called me and told me that we have no booking as she cannot find in the email which was sent by the hotel to confirm our booking any other number except the number which has the booking number clearly printed out. I was perplexed as our flight was at 2.50pm and all these happened at 11am.
The reception is an island which doubles up as a bar
From just confirming our booking, we had to decide to fly to Penang or not as at a peak season such as now, we just couldn't afford to be stuck on the island without a booked room. A second call was made and my wife managed to get the Manager on Duty by the name of Kathy. She was also baffled but did gave a solution which is to email her the email confirming our booking. We did and she promised to get back.
As that 18th was a Friday, I had booked a cab to send us at 12pm to the Subang Skypark so that I can still go and perform my Friday prayer. After the prayer, which finished at 2.15pm, I walked to my wife who was killing time at the Subang Skypark's Starbucks. Asked her whether she managed to get the hotel or did they called back. Nada...
We waited until 2.30pm before boarding the plane. In the email I sent I did warned Kathy that I would be very disappointed if even with a confirmed booking, there was no room for us. We boarded the plane and worried all through the flight. Upon landing, I turn on my Blackberry and there it is, an email from Kathy which explained there is a room for us. We rode the transit to the hotel while my wife decided how to convey the rude treatment which she had to endure.
We checked-in with no problem and asked for Kathy. She was just passing and as I was just trying to explain to her why we were a bit disappointed, my wife let it ripped....
Not sure which staff is the one who was not properly train and may not be this one
To be fair to my wife, she was the one who was looking forward to the holiday and she did had to endure the two calls which were unpleasant. Coupled with a few on-hold calls which were not really handled well, she just had to let it out.
I just hope they will at least learn to manage guest properly next time and I did put in my comment to the General Manager which I hope will be noted and acted on. And yes, we know they have one of the best brand around but I still think the people behind the brand is still important. Didn't we learn anything from Lehman?
On the plus side, the whole holiday is one of the best that we had in a long time but we really had a near miss in the early part of it. I even tweeted to the Twitterville, if we didn't get any room, I would tell them, I am a lawyer AND a blogger. Don't know which they would be more afraid of but luckily it was solved amicably...