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The Heathman Left Us Hanging

Heathmandone We've enjoyed some nice meals and lots of fabulous drinks (real lemon drops!) at Trellis in the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland since it's opening, but hadn't yet spent a night there.  We were really looking forward to the opportunity and I was SO hoping this post would have lots of raves about staying there but we have to admit that it fell short of our expectations. 

We bought a certificate for a night at The Heathman at a recent auction that we attended.   For Steve's 47th birthday (haha, he's going to kill me) I thought it would be a fun surprise to have my sister watch the kids while we spend the night in downtown Kirkland.  I called the reservation desk, but turns out since it's a gift certificate, I have to book the room through the manager, Chris, whom I left 2 messages for and never called me back.  I was getting a bit nervous as our date was approaching, so finally, when I called the front desk again and insisted someone help me, they apologized and immediately booked a room for us.  Perfect! 

Images21 It's a hot day and Steve was going to meet me in the bar for a drink when I arrived.  When I pulled up, there was no valet in sight (the Heathman has no self-parking) so I proceeded to get out of my car and schlep our bags in myself.   The woman at the desk started to check me in and ask if I needed any help with my bags (I did 5 minutes ago).   I thought it was a nice touch that she actually walked me to the room, but when we got there she opened the door and said, this is verbatim, "OH CRAP!"  Behind her I could see tasseled sheets in a disheveled room.  We decided to walk back down and either wait for it to be cleaned or find us another room.  I told her we'd be in the bar and she could just bring me the key once they were ready (I was told check-in was 3, and at this point it was 5pm). 

After 2 rounds of drinks and a yummy cheese plate, there was still no sign of anyone bringing our keys so I went to check on the situation.  Oh yes, our room was ready!  It was the same room she brought me to the first time, but back in order now.  Except for the handwritten note on the shelf from the 'personal concierge' that was addressed to "Mrs. Wolfe" who clearly is not me or Steve.  We got a chuckle out of how the note spoke of service still 'being an art' because it was growing evident that the art was a bit sloppy in these parts.  The room was nice, though, definitely along the lines of a "W Hotel" with contemporary fixtures and a big fluffy bed and flat panel TV minus the DVD/CD players.  Nice touch that the doors actually opened onto the mini balcony so you could check out what was happening downtown and enjoy a little breeze.  There was also a super cool electronic doorbell system on the room too that you could set for service/do not disturb.  Very George Jetson.

Stevebday_001 We got up at 5:30am to go water-skiing/wakeboarding since it's something we never get to do together (there's the bday boy, photo rt), but still remembered to call for a late check-out.   It's normally at noon, but we asked for a 1pm checkout---btw, most hotels let you do this if you just ask!  They said that would be fine, which I was hoping would be the case so we could get back and have some room service for breakfast and get showered up.  There's a nice coffee press set-up in the room, so we both ordered omelettes and juice to go with it which was all delicious.  Great water pressure in the shower too.  The front desk called at 12:30 asking if we'd like to extend our stay at which point I explained we had called for a late checkout and they realized their mistake. 

Overall, we enjoyed our stay and would never complain about having an evening away by ourselves.  Here's a shoutout to Aunt Sara for taking our 3 kids for the weekend!  But the series of small blunders that we experienced would make me hesitate to recommend this experience to a friend (and you are all my friends now).  Seems like the left hand didn't quite know what the right hand was doing.  The key for me is to be able to deliver on what you promise- and The Heathman prides itself on excellent service.  If I went to a Motel 6 where their motto is "we'll leave the light on for you," then all I would expect is for a light to be on when I got there.   But when you tout personal service, people walk in expecting a higher standard. 

Images26 The kicker was when we checked out, the gentleman asked us how our stay went.   I was so glad he did this, because nothing is worse than having a disappointed customer and not even knowing it.  Now we would put the ball in their court and give them an opportunity to respond- a glimmer of hope for redemption.   Instead, he was empathetic but took no action.  "Wow.  I'm sorry you guys.  I know when one thing happens it's not a big deal, but if a couple things happen that can really ruin the stay."  And that was it.  No going to get a manager.  No promise of a follow-up phone call or a comped breakfast or anything but his recognition that this was a bummer. He did say he'd mention it to his manager, at which point we asked if it would be the same manager that never called us back in the first place when we were making our reservation.  Both he and his counterpart behind the desk found this comment amusing.  So off we went.  Please please tell me you have had a better experience.  I wanted this to be a happy story, but it seems like I should just stick to my lemon drops at the bar. ~j

Comments

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Kirkland resident

Definitely put your review on Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com) and help others who may consider staying there. I haven't stayed at the Heathman, but had a similar issue with the valet being absent when I had a spa appointment one day. I was standing there (8.5 months pregnant by the way) and no one was in sight. I finally went inside and got someone to park my car. Geesh!

QT in Kirkland

Frankly Janice....you should send this post or write a letter to the HQ of the Heathman.

It is a little used tactic anymore, but perhaps directing your review to the 'top guns' of the hotel in writine may receive a response and some recompense. I would give it a try since you've already done most/all of it here.

I was shocked when the girl at the front didn't just send you a few drinks on the house- one per hour you had to wait after arriving there. Pretty underwhelming I would think-especially for the prices.

The Heathman Hotel

Janice, thank you for sharing your experience. We do apologize that your stay was diappointing and have addressed your points specifically with our colleagues. Customer feedback is critical to our success, and we believe that this in combination with ongoing training will eliminate future disappointments. We would welcome the opportunity to turn this into a positive experience and to demonstrating our belief that "service is still an art".
The Heathman Hotel

CS

The valet was absent when we showed up at the Heathman too. And when we were ready to leave, it took forever to find a valet to get our car. I generally hate having to valet my car anyway, but at least if the service is friendly and quick I'll put up with it. But being forced to valet, and then having the valet experience be bad, is totally unacceptable.

We didn't have any problems with our room, but every interaction with the staff moved slowly, and they didn't seem to care much. We travel quite a bit and usually stay at nice hotels, so we're very familiar with what the service at a good hotel is like (and how it can go wrong). The Heathman doesn't really live up to the category of hotel it claims to be in...

K-town Girl

It might be helpful to know that the rumor (!) on the street today is that "Chris" was let go... I have no idea if it's because of the recent negative comments but I have a feeling that any issues that have been occurring lately will be resolved shortly. I've always received excellent service at the Heathman, whether in the restaurant or hotel - but knowing a little about the business and also that they have been open for less than a year they are probably still ironing a few things out. I just hate to see them be "slammed" in a public forum when they have been a true asset for our downtown. Has anyone noticed the (needed) increase in tourists lately? Don't write them off quite yet!!

Henry in Kirkland

I also have had very positive experiences at the Heathman. I will NOT count them out and will continue to support them!!

I will not assume the employee was let go because of this article - there is no proof of that. I do, however, hate that this forum has now and previously called out people by name when doing reviews. It's one thing to do a review on a hotel, restaurant, etc., it's another to call out an employee by name - it's just wrong.

Janis

We are also fond of The Heathman and will continue to support them as we are glad to have a downtown hotel to call our own. Nobody is 'slamming' anybody- we simply shared our experience and noted there's room for improvement. I am confident that they will get the kinks worked out! As for the names, Henry, you'll notice we didn't mention any names from our stay except for the first name of the manager, b/c that is someone that's in a position of accountability and is a representative of the hotel in the eyes of the public.

michelle

Janis's comments were very gentle and humorous. But I find the post signed "The Heathman Hotel" very vague. What do they mean by "We would welcome the opportunity to turn this into a positive experience and to demonstrating our belief that "service is still an art". ?

I wish they had contacted Janis and made a gesture, such as inviting them to dinner. May be I am missing something and they did contact her directly.

Recently I decided to treat myself to a single lunch at the Heathman, choosing to sit at a table in the bar. I really felt like I was treating myself. Well, it was a disaster. The waiter was inefficient and distant. I waited so long for my one dish (an omelette), seeing other people having arrived after me eat and leave, and not a word from the waiter. Finally, I got up and asked a staff member walking by, then found out they had cooked the wrong omelette but had failed to tell me. I still waited an incredible amount of time and my excitement at going to the Heathman by myself had, by then, turned into disappointment. They did comp me as the person who I asked happened to be the manager. Still, I would have preferred to pay. The waiter did not say a word the whole time. Sorry, but this is not what I expect. For service, the old Olympic 4 Season knows what it is.

Still, I am glad they are there and love to see people sitting outside. It gives life to Kirkland

The Eastside Sun

Virtually all of our experiences and email reviews of the Heathman have been positive - other than they can't find a copy of the Sun after the 10th of the month!

Can't argue with success, we'll just need to quit being so stingy & drop off more than 50!

Trellis is awesome and The Spa will be reviewed in September - we'll let you know what we think.

John

Downtown Kirklander

Like Janis, I expect excellent service from a high-end place such as The Heathman, while I have much lower expectations for Motel 6. I would have felt very much the same as she did at each trouble point throughout her stay.

It is quite nice to offer valet parking, but if they are going to leave people waiting until they deliver their babies, they'd better have a sign out there telling them to leave their vehicle in the loading zone in front with their flashers on and come inside to the front desk.

I have dined at Trellis. It was good, but there are better restaurants for the money in downtown Kirkland.

Corbett Holt Properties is still involved in the hotel. Perhaps they should be informed of the problems.

traveller

Janice,

I agree with all of the above that you should report this to the company and also put your review on travel sites. I have been a frequent traveller myself for a long time and have found that any brand of Marriott Hotels makes you feel special. What you have expected are all standards for Marriott hotels and if you want high end try their Renaissance and Ritz Carlton Brands.

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