I'm not being dramatic but staying at Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway was honestly the worst staycation I've ever had. It's a pity as the hotel's location is fantastic, pool view is gorgeous but the service lacks professionalism. Sure, I've stayed in a few new hotels which had some teething issues and that's understandable but my experience at this hotel was really less than ideal.
In conjunction with Digital Fashion Week, the hotel hosted an Instagram contest to give away complimentary room stays for the two most creative photos taken at Hotel Jen or Orchard Gateway. A few friends and I took part in the contest so we could use the rooms to celebrate our friend's birthdays and we were thrilled to find out that we won both rooms. However, that's where our happiness ended.
Our instagram entries for the contest.
The complimentary hotel stay was only valid for 3 Nov - 4 Nov, and friends took the day off from work so they could enjoy the hotel's facilities. Once we arrived, the guest relations person told us that we had to make reservations for our rooms which we were not aware of since the hotel stay was only applicable to that particular date. We assumed that the two rooms would have been kept aside and that was a mistake on our part. After numerous calls and 20 minutes later, we could finally check in. We requested for double beds but were told that the hotel was fully occupied and that they only had twin beds available. The front desk staff didn't even tell us where the breakfast location was, and only shared when prompted by my friend.
After the lengthy check in process, we went up to our rooms and were really shocked by the view from the room. The room was facing a large compressor and basically that's all we could see from the room's window. It's completely understandable that the views from certain rooms won't be as great as those proudly emblazoned on the website and since we weren't paying guests, we didn't get a room with a nice view. When we sent friends photos of the view from the room, they joked and asked if we were in jail. Well, I guess you should pick the Superior Room City View or get ready for the Superior Room Shitty View.
|View from the first room - amazing skyline of Singapore|
We updated our DFW contact person about the situation and she requested for a change of room for us. The view was much, much better and we were thankful as we did not have to face the large ugly looking container. We went for grocery shopping and when we came up, the new key cards didn't work. We then had to go down to level 10 to get our keycards replaced.
|View from the new room|
Our staycation package came with complimentary breakfast, and we woke up early enough for breakfast. A lady (who was in a floral top and jeans / not in the red Jen shirt) asked us which rooms we were from and we told her. While taking our food, another staff came over and told us that our room did not come with breakfast and we had to pay for it. We told them that it was stated on the voucher. When we sat down and were eating our food, the same lady came over again and told us that she checked with front desk and that our voucher did not include breakfast and that we had to pay for it. I was pretty sure that the voucher stated that we were entitled to breakfast, and had to ask the lady if we could finish our meal first before settling the issue. After breakfast, we went to the front desk and the guest relations officer said we didn't have breakfast included. I requested for him to find the voucher we gave yesterday and he said that it was no longer with them as they had sent it over to finance. He then told us to 'sign for the meal first and we can settle this after' - and why should i sign for a meal I'm pretty sure I'm entitled to? Shouldn't you first check with your team internally on what the package entails before disrupting my breakfast several times? We then had to call our contact person again, and she had to communicate with the hotel that yes, we did indeed have complimentary breakfast. When we checked out, the guest relations officer said 'Regarding your breakfast, it's settled.' It would have been nice if you had apologised after you and your colleague's constant insistence that we had to pay for our breakfast. To me, it's really not about paying for breakfast, but it's the customer service.
After we checked out, a friend shared with us that she had left the phone charger in the hotel room. The first time she called the hotel, she left her number and was promised that she will be updated. After a while, no one called her back so she called the hotel again. A different girl answered the phone, and once again took down her number, promising to call her back. My friend was smarter this time and asked for the girl's name. But once again, my friend did not hear back from the hotel. When my friend called the hotel for the third time looking for the same person, she was informed that the girl she was looking for had left for the day. The person on the line checked on the issue for my friend immediately, and found out that the phone charger was already placed at the front desk all along. The communication between staff was obviously lacking, and no one had bothered to call my friend back. It took three calls over the span of an afternoon for her to retrieve very simple information.
The quality of service by the staff is really the one sole factor that led to my less than ideal staycation. It is really quite a pity as the hotel location is great, with a fantastic price point. The service staff either need to buck up on their service standard, or the hotel will lose potential guests to other boutique hotels in Orchard Road such as Quincy Hotel (which has fantastic service by the way). It is surprising to find out that the hotel is under the Shangri-La group.