Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
101 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, California
My Rating: 44%
Price Rating: $$$$$
Summary of Stay: While I will be the first to say I enjoy historic hotels, I’ll also be the first to admit that in the past I have shown loyalties to certain hotel chains and travel companies. That being said, Fairmont Hotels have always taken extremely good care of me and I in turn rewarded them with business. So I was looking forward to several stays with Fairmont in California on a recent trip including San Francisco, Sonoma and Santa Monica. This was to be my first time at the Santa Monica property - and clearly my last.
After departing the Sonoma property I called the Miramar Hotel and confirmed my arrival time as the hotel chain guarantees my early check-in because of my loyalty status. They confirmed that it would not be a problem and they looked forward to seeing me. When I arrived, the bell staff were friendly and courteous. As I made my way to the Presidents Club check-in, I was totally ignored. Waiting and waiting as two young clerks joked with each other as I stood saddled down by LV luggage. As silly as it sounds in this day and age, I feel I often get ignored because of my age. I stood patiently - and finally when I was greeted, I was told that my room would be ready momentarily. They suggested I have a drink by the pool and that they would come get me when it was available. After checking my email and having a glass of champagne by the pool, I noticed 45 minutes had elapsed, so I checked back at the front desk. Ignored again until they told me the room was still not ready yet.
I pleasantly left the desk and went over to the concierge desk. Here a lady in her fifties demonstrated everything a concierge shouldn’t be. She did not listen. She was not aware of what was going on. She did not know how to use the internet. She could not make a phone call - which after twenty minutes of investigation - was because her phone wasn’t working. I took out my international cell phone, dialled the number and made the reservations myself. What a waste of time.
By this time, I noticed I had been waiting for my room for over 2 hours and it was past regular check-in time. I went back to the front desk - my room was not ready and this time I was told that the guest had no checked out and they had no idea when that guest would be leaving. Their tone clearly said that the other guest is more important than I was - and I should just shut up and go away. At this time, I asked for a manager, who happened to be in a meeting. I walked to the lobby armchair - unloaded my shoulder bags - and dialed the hotel 1-800 reservation line and expressed my concern to the phone operator. She guaranteed me that she would look after it. Within 5 minutes, they called me back to the front desk saying the room was ready. Insert long pause. When I asked for the room keys, he said he couldn’t give them to me because a supervisor had not double checked my suite. Another 20 minute wait. I don’t know about you - but I don’t travel to great destinations so I can wait around in the hotel lobby. Finally, the front desk clerk, with the snottiest attitude imaginable, personally took me up to my tower suite. Upon entering the suite, he went on about how exceptional it was - all I could think was how tired and overpriced it was. After a few more sour events, I wrote a strongly worded email to the manager and the regional manager. I did get a call from the manager asking “Well - what do you want?” to which I replied “A respectful and relaxing stay.”
Three weeks later the regional manager finally called and apologized for everything. Needless to say, I cut my stay short and only spent the one disappointing night at the Miramar.
Highlight of the hotel: The location - perfect for exploring the pier, the beach or 3rd Street Promenade. It also has access to a private beach club that is a nice added perk.
Highlight of the stay: After being treated so rudely by the majority of the staff, I had a better than average breakfast at Fig Restaurant on the property.
Drawbacks: Staff, customer service, accommodations, price and just about everything else. A simple apology could have erased a lot of wrong-doing but apparently the hotel does not seem to prioritize customer service.