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!
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.
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.
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