What about ZERO stars? That's what Marriott gets for how they've handled my concern with BED BUG BITES that emerged on my back, on the 4th day of my stay at the Marquis on 4th Street in San Francisco. As those of you who've looked into the unseemly subject of bed bugs know, the classic pattern of bites is a cluster of three, known in the argo as the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" pattern. Further, it takes several days after exposure for bites to show up (perhaps accounting for the national
epidemic, as most folks leave a hotel before 3 or 4 days and so don't know if they are transporting bugs home). As noted, I was at the hotel for five nights, and the bites emerged on the morning of the 4th day, in exactly that cluster of three and identical to the many images of bed bug bites one can find on the web..
So, as I was busy in my meetings, and I knew I would be leaving the next day - and though my mind registered the possibility of imminent disaster when I first noted an itchy area on my side - I repressed the thought and kept at my business. It was only when I awoke back at my own home on what would be the 6th day since checking in that the bite pattern had fully emerged, and I realized I was in trouble. I called the hotel, and got a call back from a claims agent later that day.
As anyone trained in customer relations would understand, someone who is facing the possibility of an infestation of bed bugs in their home, from the possibility of having transporting them back from a hotel, would be upset. I was. Polite but persistent, I pushed for urgency in their investigation, and noted I had all my clothes in my suitcase in the basement, and needed to know what to do. From the moment I got on the phone with the claims agent, she was inflaming. She spoke over me; refused to offer any information; suggested it might take 30 days to complete the investigation; and virtually sneered at me, literally laughing as she said "goodbye" when I had had enough and indicated our conversation was through.
Now, I've just received her call of "good news," wherein that unctuous agent indicated their investigation found no bugs in the room. I was not surprised by the news, as I only had one patch of bites, suggesting that the room and bed were not heavily infested. I had braced for the possibility they would find no actual bugs. To my great surprise, however, she informed me that no, they would not share the investigator's report, and she talked down to me in explaining the meaning of "proprietary." No matter what I said, she flatly refused to consider the logic of sharing a negative report. In her grating, syrupy sweet but unsympathetic voice, she went on to refuse to provide me the name of the Vice President of claims for Marriott, or the name of the Vice President of Customer Relations. When I stated I am now facing the dilemma of whether to spend hundreds of dollars to have all my clothes cleaned, or run the risk of an infestation in my home, still, she lectured me about the fact one can get bed bugs in places other than hotels (DUH), that my assertion I have bed bug bites is either mistaken or if true, acquired elsewhere.
Read the rest of the reviews for this hotel on Yelp and Trip Advisor. One finds reports of bed bugs every few months. One also finds evidence of a surly, dismissive, and inflammatory style in personnel engagements with customers. See especially below the case of the people who were charged for smoking in the room. Though they deny being smokers (and if they were not being truthful why go to the trouble of posting a review on this site?), the hotel personnel clearly handled them like liars or derelicts.
The location of the hotel is great. The rooms are fine, so long as you request one high up. The lobby is freezing and loud. And the wifi in the room costs $16/day (forget about parking a car, which costs nearly $60 per night). Still, I would overlook all the drawbacks and proffer a positive report if the company had the common sense to hire claims investigators who know how to speak with understandably upset customers, and agreed to share negative reports from pest control investigators. After all, if a pest investigation leads to a positive finding, shouldn't the company be willing to admit that and readily agree to remedy? And conversely, if the findings of a pest investigation is negative, why in the world wouldn't they put a customer's mind to rest by sharing that? As is, I am left with the sneaky suspicion that Marriott will deny all assertions of bed bugs, and rely on their deep pockets to fend off any suggestions of legal recourse.
Marriott has lost my confidence entirely This chapter has left me with a nasty taste in my mouth and a dilemma on my hands. It could have been handled differently, and a previously loyal customer retained.