This is an almost verbatim transcription of our typical check-in procedures at any Starwood Property around the world.
Desk clerk: OK, Mr. XFE, we’ve put you in a lovely garden room with a view of the park. It’s not ready just yet, but if you come back in an hour, we’ll get that ready for you.
XFE: Hmmm, ok. Oh hey, I’m a platinum member who stayed at your properties about 65 billion times last year, which means I’m eligible for an automatic upgrade. Do you have any suites available?
Desk clerk: (immediately). Oh, no, sorry, I’m afraid we don’t. You see it’s Mardi Gras/Gay Pride/Prom/multiple weddings/dingo took your baby/other excuses weekend and we’re fully booked. There’s not a single suite available in the entire hotel.
XFE: (who has been looking at his phone during the exchange) Well, according to your Starwood app, there are several suites available at this very property in three different categories, including executive and terrace suites.
Desk Clerk: (after multiple keyboard clicks) Well, they’re not showing up on my system. Perhaps the online booking system hasn’t been updated to reflect actual current hotel conditions?
XFE: So if I were to click this little ‘book now’ button, pay full price for the suite, and show you a confirmation number, you would have to tell me that that room that I just booked and paid for is in fact, not available?
Desk Clerk: Hold on a second. (several minutes pass, including lots of keyboard clicking, mouse scrolling, telephone calling, walkie talkie exchanges, more squinting at the screen. Meanwhile a line is forming behind us). Ah, ok, we do have a suite available that I can put you in. It will be ready in a couple of hours.
XFE: Much obliged.
Dear reader: there are always suites available. But we literally have a variation of this conversation every time we check in to a Starwood hotel. Usually it involves leaving and then coming back and speaking to a different desk clerk, who maybe, just might be less of a pain in the arse.
Just once I’d like the desk clerk to say: “Mr. XFE, I see that you are a platinum member. Thank you for your loyalty. We’ll be automatically upgrading you to a suite, per our programs clearly stated rules. Please have a seat while I make the necessary arrangements. May I offer you some lemonade?”
OK, I know that’s not realistic. But it would be nice if every check in didn’t result in a Mexican standoff.
As for revenge, I will be stuffing my bags with toiletries. Take that, Starwood.
No sharks yet here in Australia, but I will tell you about some other crazy vermin we saw and ate (separate vermin. We didn’t go hunt and eat or anything) here in our first day in Sydney in my next post!