Does a Room Credit Trump a Bad Hotel Experience?

Yup this was breakfast

Ok let me start off by saying in the grand scheme of things my issues are minor at best. But when you travel too much like I do, you’re sensitive to wanting a good night’s rest and a good start to the day.

Also in this case the hotel immediately gave me a room refund once I complained. So for that I’m happy, but did it really make me happy?

I had a one night stay at the aLoft Ontario/Rancho Cucamonga this week. I specifically stayed here to take advantage of two sweet Starwood promotions that I could achieve in a one night stay. One was the 2500 Starwood points for using keyless entry and the other was 2015 Starwood points in 2015. For me to earn these points I needed a stay at a hotel that had keyless entry. This hotel fit the bill, but was 80 miles roundtrip from where I was working. But for 4515 extra points it was worth it, or so I thought.

My issues started when I could not get the keyless registration to work on two mobile devices. In both cases it kept saying waiting for room assignment. This persisted for over two hours, and was still in this loop when I got to the hotel. My understanding, to earn the points you have to use your mobile device to check in and open your door. Well since I couldn’t get a room assignment, I had to check in the “normal” way. The receptionist was a fill-in from a different property and didn’t know what to do, but said that mobile check in and keyless entry didn’t always work there. Strike one. There was no one else that could help me at check in, so I’m crossing my fingers I didn’t waste my time driving here.

The next morning I went to take a shower and there was no hot water. It took over seven minutes of running the shower to get some. Ummm were in a fourth year of drought people, this is just not acceptable. And then when it did get hot the water was trickling out of the shower head. I could get more water from the sink. Strike two.

Can you imagine trying to wash shampoo and soap off your body with just a trickle of luke warm water? Needless to say it was a crappy shower. Uugh, I hate starting the day out this way.

They apparently had a plumbing repair scheduled the day before and at had left a note about it in the room, but this was almost 24 hours after it was completed. I expected and assumed it would be fine and not disturb my morning. I was wrong.

The last and somewhat insulting thing was the breakfast offering. Or really lack thereof. As you can see from the pictures ,there were literally two sad looking oranges, two pieces of bread, two scones (they were nasty) I tried one and three bran muffins. Oh and whatever was in this box, that was now empty. I was pissed. After a bad shower and hope of a warm breakfast this is what I get. The lobby was empty at 7:30 am, so if there was a rush that took all the food I missed it. aLofts don’t have an amazing breakfast but I’ve never been left angry, hungry or disappointed until today. Strike three.

Only in LA would air be considered breakfast

After this last occurrence, I went and asked for the manager and explained my concerns. Before I even finished with my first complaint about lack or water he immediately offered me a credit. It didn’t make me happy. Don’t get me wrong that’s a great offer, but if he leads with this I have to guess I’m not the first one to complain. He did apologize which I appreciated, but why was I not satisfied? I then pointed out the pathetic breakfast and he said “oh we were busy earlier” for some reason I don’t believe him. I pointed out that all the food was junk too, nothing really healthy and as a regular guest at this brand I find better options all the time.

In any event I’ve been trying to think why I’m still angry. And I just don’t know why. He gave me a refund, and apologized. What else could he have done?  I thought I did the right thing by saying something, they need to know what’s wrong. Did I even want or expect a credit? No. I just wanted my damn shower and breakfast damit.

Anyhow what would you have done or said?



  1. If you haven’t already, I would complain to Starwood corporate. Sounds like this hotel might have systemic issues that could tarnish the brand. It only takes one bad experience to sour a potential customer for life. My family had a bad experience with a Marriott in 1991(!) and we still avoid them unless there’s no other option.


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