Last weekend we took the breathtaking journey to Canada’s true west coast – the western side of Vancouver Island. We went to the small village of Ucluelet and checked into the beautiful (and incredibly expensive) Black Rock Resort.
The hotel room was among the best I’ve ever stayed in. The view was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, the customer service by the front desk staff bordered on embarrassing.
We arrived at 1pm, and walked up toa counter with 3 employees, and no other customers. After 10 seconds or so of being ignored, one of the staff looked up and asked if she could help. She took my credit card, looked at her computer, told me that our room would not be available until 4, then just stood there looking at me. No apologies, nothing. I waited for her to say something else, but apparently that wasn’t going to happen. Finally I said, “so what do we do now?”
She told me that she could go ahead and book us in, and directed us to a person who could recommend some activities for us. So we did. But unfortunately, the activities person was even worse. It was as if -in this area of zillions of hiking trails, whale watching tours, abandoned beaches, hot springs – we were the first people to have ever asked this question. In truth, even if she didn’t know what to recommend, I’d have forgiven it all if we had at least gotten a smile from someone.
We all kind of walked away looking at each other, wondering what just happened. Then it got even stranger.
After a couple of hours of hiking and a hearty lunch, we returned to the front desk to collect our keys. There, behind the desk, was a man in a suit, and the activity person who was seemingly now a front-desk person. When we walked up, she showed no sense of recognition whatsoever. “Can I help you?” she asked. “Yes,” I said, “We just wanted to pick up our keys for our room.”
“Do you have a reservation?” She asked
“Um, yes. We were here a few hours ago and checked in, but our room wasn’t ready,” I prompted, hoping for the light to come on. But this just seem to confuse her.
“So you’ve already checked in?”
“Yes, but we need to get in our room now.”
“Oh, you’ve lost your key?”
<<beginning to feel like I was in a Twilight Zone episode>> Um, no. We were never given a key. The room wasn’t ready when we got here.
A giantlook of confusion enveloped her. “Um,” she said hesitantly, “Um, what is your name?”
I told her.
She looked at the screen, then seemed to brighted a bit. “Here you are,” she said, then held her hand out and said, “Can I just get your credit card please?”
“I believe this part was already done,” I responded. “We just need the key.
I really shouldn’t have said that, because the look of consternation on her face was frightening.
“Um, well, I need your credit card and piece of id…” she said again, holding out her hand.
I wasn’t going to argue the point. At this stage, we all just wanted to get in our room.
The room, as I said, was beautiful, and the view overlooking the Pacific Ocean wasat the same timepowerful and serene. We actually watched an eagle sitting on a rock outcropping while the waves crashed around him. Very cool.
But, still- for ahotel that charges$650 a night for a room, you’d think they’d do a little customer service training for their staff….