Newest Review: ... someone more senior would be in touch. Later that day I received a voicemail from a member of staff and was advised to send photos ... more
Very Poor Customer Service
The Merchant Hotel (Belfast)
Member Name: MrsC2007
The Merchant Hotel (Belfast)
Advantages: Nice rooms
Disadvantages: Customer Service, Parking!
We stayed in the newly completed part of the hotel in September and as I have frequented the hotel a number of times before I was looking forward to seeing what the new extension had to offer. Unfortunately what I experienced has meant I would be very reluctant to stay here again.
Check in went smoothly and we were shown to our room which was decorated in an impressive art deco style. Overall the room was nicely decorated though I feel the room service menu in terms of price and the quality of the food we ate let it down slightly.
The major problem came when we used the valet parking service (£15 a night). Unfortunately very shortly after my car was returned I noticed some visible scratches on the back bumper of my car. I spoke to someone at the hotel to raise the matter and was informed someone more senior would be in touch. Later that day I received a voicemail from a member of staff and was advised to send photos of the damage. I took some photos of the damage and emailed them to the hotel. I spoke to someone at the hotel at that point who assured me there would be a full investigation into how the damage had occurred which would involve speaking to the staff who dealt with the car and checking CCTV.
I heard nothing more from the hotel until about a week and a half after the incident when I received an email stating that all reception and concierge staff who were on duty on the weekend of my stay had been spoken to and the hotel was confident that the damage to my vehicle was not as a result of any fault on the part of any of their employees and that the hotel was therefore unable to accept liability. I was obviously disappointed with the response and the fact that no one had contacted me by phone to let me know. I was also very surprised that there was no mention of the CCTV I had previously been told about so responded asking to view the footage only to be told that there was none. Again I was surprised and asked that someone ring me to discuss this.
I received a phone call from another member of staff about the matter. I was told there was "miscommunication" about the CCTV and that only CCTV from outside the hotel existed and not in the car park. I was told this CCTV had been checked but was on a rolling loop. Staff had been asked about the matter and no one admitted to causing any damage. I was assured that the staff drive a Rolls Royce (?) and so are very careful. According to this member of staff only one other car had been damaged in their care before and the staff member who caused the damage had admitted it at the time. It was made clear that the hotel fully trust in their staff's integrity.
Unfortunately I don't.
I feel the way the matter was handled was disappointing overall. I find it very odd that any business can offer such a service and not have a better system in place for this sort of issue. To use this service, it seems you must place all your trust in the driver(s) and rely on them alerting you to any damage they cause and if you have a problem it is literally your word against theirs. And from what I have seen, the customer certainly is not always right.
All in all I feel very let down by somewhere I had previously regarded quite highly and had regularly recommended to friends and colleagues. I will certainly never use their valet parking again and would recommend anyone who does so really does it entirely at their own risk.
Summary: A real let down