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To begin, I’d just like to mention how thankful I am about being loyal to Starwood and Hyatt. It is hotel stays like this one that remind me why Starwood and Hyatt are industry leaders and why Hilton absolutely sucks and is at the absolute bottom of everyone’s list. I think it is mostly safe to say I won’t be staying with Hilton anytime soon despite having Diamond status with HHonors.
I was in New York City a few weekends ago with a friend and we wanted a convenient location and a nice price for the weekend. Sadly Starwood hotels were going for $200+ a night and since we weren’t going to be staying at the hotel much, I decided to try out my HHonors Diamond status and book The Millenium Hilton for about $120 + tax per night. I figured with top-tier elite status I would be treated like a king, and I don’t think I could be any more wrong about that.
We took an uber from JFK to the hotel and it cost ~$40, which I think for New York is a great deal considering that a taxi normally goes for $100+ to/from an airport there. The Millenium Hilton is located next to the WTC, so in a very ideal and convenient location for us as we had some planned activities around in the area.
We arrived a bit early, ahead of the check-in time, and waited in line for about ten minutes before being helped despite there being other staff around… but it was early and I didn’t want to be the “do you know who I am” guy:
Anyway finally after waiting, the lady working at the front desk informed me that our room wasn’t ready and it would be still quite a while as apparently they were sold out (false; their website still stated all kinds of rooms available). She said to wait in the lobby and would call me when a room was available. Not a word about my Diamond status.
Some time later, despite being seated about two metres away from the front desk, I get a call saying the room is available. I had originally booked a king bed, but since I was travelling with a friend, I wanted to switch to a double bed room and I figured that as a Diamond there wouldn’t be a problem (and there were still double bed rooms for sale). I asked the lady this and without even checking she tells me they’re sold out – to which I replied “I guess I’ll have to sleep on the floor, then”. I pull up the website and show her every type of room is still available for purchase, to which she replies that her system is not accurate…
Thirty minutes later we found ourselves in a double bed room, which was a standard room. No upgrade, no special amenities, nothing. She did mention that as my “upgrade” she would give me a double bed room… great. It still blows my mind the check-in process took so long and my Diamond status was not mentioned once nor was I thanked for my loyalty. I know I status-matched, but I highly doubt the people working there can see that. She did hand me my breakfast vouchers in an envelope, but again, no mention of HHonors loyalty.
The room was.. standard… boring, and typical Hilton-like. If Hilton were like an airline, I’d compare it to Alaska.. boring! (Although to be fair, Alaska has super nice agents and great customer service… Hilton has none of that).
Perhaps the only other positive aspect of the room was that it was a bit bigger than your average room and we had a nice view… the cemetery below. The room (as you can see) was super dated and it looks like this hotel hasn’t been remodelled in a long time (despite them stating it was).
The bathroom was fairly clean and contained the usual Hilton amenities and some additional items.
Okay, maybe the room wasn’t that bad, but still… quite horrible when comparing to Starwood or Hyatt.
The staff weren’t friendly at all, especially the lady at the front desk who was checking us in, she lied to me a few times (about nothing being available, no upgrades, etc.), and not only that – she became rude after I showed her there are in fact available rooms for sale. I don’t think I’ve ever been treated like this as a top-tier elite.. not to mention that she didn’t even acknowledge it despite seeing my Diamond card.
The breakfast buffet was included for up to two people per night, as a Diamond benefit (though I hear this varies from hotel to hotel). It consisted of cereal, muffins, waffles, bread, pancakes, fruit, yoghurt, warm breakfast items, etc. Virtually all of the food was inedible and tasted horrible, I think I ate only a bit of each thing I could grab and decided to call it good.
Either the food was overcooked or super dry; the service in the restaurant wasn’t the best either. We weren’t proactively offered tea, coffee, or water like some other guests.
All in all, I’m disappointed but not surprised. I know Hilton sucks and I just wanted to “confirm” that fact, and the fact that they suck the same even when you have top-tier status with them. Perhaps my experience was one of a kind, but I assume that this is how guests are normally treated at Hilton hotels. The only good thing about the stay was the location and the cleanliness of the room, everything else somewhat sucked.
For the future, I’m booking Starwood or Hyatt. I don’t care if it is more, it is most definitely worth the premium service and the extra valuable points. I mean even IHG treats me so well as a top-tier Spire elite… but Hilton… you’d think as one of the most recognised hotel chains in the world they’d be top quality, but that isn’t the case.
What’s your experience as an elite with Hilton?
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