The first weeks of any trip are fulled with mixed emotions. You are anxious, sad, happy, stressed, and everything, just because you are completely out of your comfort zone. This is a hard decision for everyone, and the first weeks are the trial to see if you will be able to fight or flight. During this time, I learned many things about China’s luxury hotels. I had the opportunity to stay at a Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel, and to visit a Ritz-Carlton property here in Tianjin. The expectation was very high since the design of the hotels were nicer than in America.
The Castle Hotel Dalian is one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever seen. Located in Dalian, an oceanside city in Northern China was built in a mountain facing the ocean, and it was just like a Disney castle. In the hotel, the rooms where very big and the bathroom was very unique. It had a speaker so you can listen to whatever you were watching on the TV while showering, the toilet had an automated system where you sit and it automatically warms the seat; it flushes automatically; and it has a drying system to make you feel clean and fresh.
Moreover, this hotel is part of the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio which means there are certain standards and procedures that have to be followed to give the same experience to their guests worldwide. Things like the 15-5 rule where the associates have to greet or smile to the guests, wasn’t a thing at this property. To be a castle, the hotel has a lot to improve but the location and amenities can make a balance between the service and experience provided.
I also wanted to explore the Ritz-Carlton. A famous worldwide brand where Ladies and Gentlemen are serving Ladies and Gentlemen. The Ritz is one of the brands that can maintain a high quality of service no matter the location.
At this property, my expectations weren’t the best. We went to have lunch at the restaurant, and because it was after 2 PM, the variety was very limited due to local traditions of having lunch between 12-2 PM. I ordered a regular pork sandwich and a pomegranate sparkling juice. The food took a while to arrive, and the service was very unpleasant. First of all, only one server spoke decent English, so it was very hard to communicate. In addition, they never showed interest in our satisfaction. They never followed up and the worst part was my fork was dirty. I was shocked when I saw that I was experiencing that kind of hospitality at a luxury hotel. Days after, I understood that it is not in their tradition to keep checking on our table to make sure everything was ok. Also, I understood how hard it is for employees and companies overall to deliver the same experience at all properties worldwide. Moreover, this has to be improved because the success of a hotel company is based on the loyalty of a guest and the experience they can share with others.