One of the reasons I do not take comp’ed trips, or hotel stays, is so I can publish an open evaluation. I pay for all my trips (well mostly on points) and I am happy to get all the upgrades I can get. Now, unlike Delta, we all know hotel upgrades can be a very murky business. That brings me to my visit to the Sheraton Golf Parco de’ Medici Hotel & Resort in Rome.
This stay did not start well but in yet another lesson of the value of Twitter and social media, things went from almost checking out to an outstanding stay and I would stay at the same hotel again. BTW, please, if you are not using Twitter yet for @DeltaAssist and @SPG and others, take the time to sign up and use them!
First off why I chose this SPG location. I hate to admit it but I stress a little bit about departures. I know I should not but I like to get to an airport really early. Next, my wife likes to check in one place and then not move. So this location, with its short drive to the airport, and being outside the traffic jam that is the city, was a good choice for a quick departure.
Then the hotel features. I like Sheratons as a chain. I also liked the fact that for 5 Euros each we could get a round-trip ride into the heart of Rome and the shuttle ran fairly often (gosh I am happy I decided against renting a car). Lastly the trip out to the airport would run just 8 Euros each. All this worked for me.
Since the hotel does NOT run a shuttle to the hotel I requested from the hotel a PVT car from FCO airport to the hotel. I was e-mailed a fixed price of 35 Euros. I felt this was a bit high but I could take this for the peace of mind it gave me. The driver was waiting for us exiting baggage claim and took us in a nice Mercedes Benz wagon and quickly got us to the hotel (my first experience with Roman roads – more to come on Monday). We got there and the voucher said 40 Euros fee. I was dead tired and did not fight it at the time.
Check-in got worse. There are several comments, directly on the SPG site about the attitude of the staff, and I got to see this. The lady checking me told me no suites were available as they were fully booked plus I was told I had already been upgraded (I had not been as I was given the exact same room I had booked online). The room was OK sized and I was put on a high floor with a nice view of the golf course and patio area. But then things went wrong; the room was not clean. The bathroom was even worse.
Also we were given only one bath towel. I then decided to jump online to see if I could book a suite, and you guessed it, it was open to book no problem. Enough! I then got to work with a DM or “direct message” i.e. a PVT tweet to SPG with photos of what I had found in the room. I was in a short time tweeted back that management would get back to me inside 5 days. I indicated I had another reservation the next day (did some nights all points some cash and points) but may now just cancel and move to another hotel in the morning. SPG tweeted me back that I would be contacted by hotel management in the morning.
The next day things changed. SPG’s twitter team is VERY good. They had contacted the hotel management and got things rolling. I did get a call and an apology was offered. No excuses – just a “We are sorry”! That really means a bunch to me. Don’t “you” DARE justify to me in the middle of an apology or I am walking out. They then showed they were sorry as I was moved to a jr. suite as you will see below. Further they adjusted the car bill from the airport to the 35 Euro quoted fixed rate. The staff seemed very aware of what was going on as all seemed genuinely sorry for all that had happened.
We went on to spend quite a bit of time at the hotel the first day after visiting friends in Rome and had a very nice dinner at the hotel. Prices were high but the food quality was outstanding and service was very good as well. One of the days we did try the buffet breakfast and it was nice and service was good. The shuttle drivers were courteous and helpful and on time both leaving and pickup in town. Other than my first night issues, I had just a great time and stay at the hotel and even sent out a public tweet to that fact (who doesn’t like fresh olives & Italian wine)!
So on to our room review. This room was clean and very nice. The living room and desk area had doors to separate the bath and bed room area. I love this when I want to bang away at my keyboard early in the morning while Lisa gets some extra sleep!
The wifi was free as an SPG CrossoverRewards member and a GOLD SPG member (We get to pick both as Delta and SPG elites when wifi is not free as a std hotel item).
The king bed was firm but clean and sheets were of good quality. They advertise “Sheraton Sweet Sleeper® Beds” but were no where near as soft as their American counterparts.
There was a safe in the room and I really like to lockup stuff when away. There were, as you can see, TVs in both rooms and they worked and the channels were clear.
The bathroom was nice sized and had a nice sized shower with good water pressure and lots of hot water
There was a big tub that I did not try but seemed nice.
The sink area was well stocked with soaps and such (we bring our own but nice when you need it).
Other bits. The wifi worked well and had good speed. They had several access points throughout the hotel so you got good signal no matter where you were. It required a password for access so one device at a time. I get why hotels do this, i.e. so you can not share your code with say other rooms, but then if Lisa wanted to use her laptop I had to be off the web.
Overall I had a great stay and would 100% go back to the Sheraton Golf Parco de’ Medici Hotel & Resort, Roma on another visit. I would love to see them move from a CAT3 property down to a CAT2 for rewards. I was pleased with my SPG points redemption for the stay.
Other things for you to take from my stay. Again, please please please, start using Twitter. Also, you may think I was only treated this well due to the millions of views DeltaPoints.com gets. While this may have had some impact, SPG does care about all of us as guests and @SPG will help you. Take the time to comment on the SPG site after both good and bad stays. Beyond that, all hotels care about TripAdvisor reports. If you are not doing your own mini hotel reviews on the site – start doing so. When working for an upgrade or better service, e-mailing your page on TripAdvisor and that you leave real reviews can also have an impact. – René
PS – Be sure to check back
at 1:PM for SWAG Saturday
a ~$50 Amazon gift card on tap!