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I like Holiday Inn Express.  It’s actually one of my favorite brands because it gives me all the things we typically look for in a hotel – free breakfast (cinnamon rolls!), adjoining rooms, no parking charges, etc.

Mmmmmm it's my favorite breakfast @hiexpress cinnamon rolls. #ihg #pointbreaks #tdads #tdad #tdaddisney

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(SEE ALSO: 3 reasons “budget” hotels DESTROY nice ones)

One of my most memorable hotel customer service experiences was at a Holiday Inn Express, with an amazing breakfast attendant.  But this trip was memorable…. for the wrong reasons.  My wife and son were having a travel “date” and they decided to head up to COSI in Columbus.  They drove up on Friday night and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Grove City, just south of Columbus.

The experience was not great, so I wrote a complaint letter, which I thought I’d share here.  I tried to learn from the experiences that Sam from Milenomics shared at Family Travel for Real Life – be specific with what you mention, and ask for specific recompense.

Complaint Letter to the Holiday Inn Express Grove Cityholiday-inn-express

I spent a special one on one weekend with my son last weekend, and we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Grove City, Ohio. Unfortunately, there were a number of problems during my one night stay.

1) I was not offered my 500 welcome points as a Platinum member

2) At night, there were a number of loud guests. Unfortunately it was not clear where the noise was coming from.

3) Breakfast is normally something I enjoy at HI Express (cinnamon rolls!) Unfortunately, although we were out at breakfast by 7:30 (breakfast starts at 6), there were no eggs, no cinnamon rolls, no forks and the pancake machine was empty. Apparently, there was a baseball team staying in the hotel so they were up early and must have cleaned everything out.

We got muffins and waited for someone to restock. I saw no one for a pretty long time. Especially considering it was nearly 8 on a Saturday. Finally an older gentleman shuffled out who I guess was working alone and then proceeded to slowly restock the utensils. Finally was we were getting ready to go back to the room he put out some cinnamon rolls. I was not impressed.

4) Then, at 9 a.m., housekeeping just walked in on us, even though I had the sign on the door that said quiet please. She said she was just checking to see if we were still here. This seemed strange since I would think hotel staff would know that we had not checked out already.

I did mention these problems to the front desk as I checked out, and the clerk apologized but didn’t offer anything. I would like (at least) a refund of the 15,000 points that I used for this stay, as the experience was not acceptable (and, thankfully, not consistent with my typically positive experiences at Holiday Inn Express stays with my family)

The aftermath

I am quite sure that there are people that are going to get on my case about “whining”, so if you feel that it should have not been mentioned or handled in a different way, I’m curious to hear how you’d have done it.  It is my belief that what I’m paying for (in points) is a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast, and I feel like we didn’t receive either of those in this stay, so it should be addressed with hotel management.

UPDATE: Holiday Inn Express responds to my complaint letter – here’s why they’re wrong

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