Review: Weekend At Clark Marriott Hotel (Elegant Interiors, Bad Customer Service)

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[This review has been recently updated]

Last weekend, the husband and I celebrated our 3rd year anniversary. Initially, we wanted to go to the beach but Damien is still too small to travel so we had to celebrate nearby. We didn’t really want to go on a 3-hour drive to Manila for the celebration so we booked a weekender at the Marriot Hotel in Clark.

It’s our first time booking a stay in Pampanga and we really didn’t know what to expect. Clark Marriott is a new five-star hotel in Pampanga and it shows (we’ll get into that later)

The grand lobby and the interiors are gorgeous, everything looked chic and the perfumed air smells delightful.

The floor to ceiling windows are intricately frosted with these eye-catching patterns and the effect is no doubt luxurious and elegant.

The seating area looks uncomfortable – and it is – but it’s a work of art.

Guests are greeted with fresh blooms in every corner of the lobby. Overall, the interiors are fabulous.

We stayed in the executive room, which gives us access to the executive lounge. The room itself is thoughtfully designed, the bed is fabulous, the pillows, not so much.

The bathroom is okay, it’s clean and it has all the essentials but not really worth writing home about:

We were greeted with a chocolate bar, it was a nice gesture. The view from our hotel is gorgeous.

We hung out at the executive lounge shortly after we arrived in our room. Our room is literally just a door away from the executive lounge, which is cool.

We had a couple of cups of coffee then waited for a bit before heading to the pool area. The pool area is nice although the views were ruined by buildings being constructed all around. In the angle below, you cannot see the construction sites but the other side is chaos.

We also checked out the casino on Clark Marriott Hotel’s sister hotel, Widus. We didn’t really win anything, heheheehe!

Gorgeous Hotel, Bad Customer Service

As you can see, the Clark Marriott looks every bit a 5-star hotel. No expense was spared to create these gorgeous interiors, fabulous works of art, cozy ambiance. It’s a nice hotel. But the customer service, I find lacking and this is the reason why I am writing a separated review for the customer service.

Bad Customer Service

The minute we walked into the hotel, I felt that I had to keep my expectations low. We parked at the back of the hotel and we had to walk for a bit to get to the entrance. No was there to offer assistance with our bags. When we got into the hotel lobby, no one offered a hand with our bags.

When we got to the front desk, I asked if our room has a bathtub because I saw a bathtub in the booking.com pictures for our specific room. We were told that our room has no bathtub. I was surprised and disappointed that there is no bathtub. The rep was like, “Oh, I will let our marketing team know that the pictures were all wrong.” I didn’t mention that we were celebrating our anniversary na and just let her confirm the booking but I knew we’re in for a shitty time and I was right.

We were also expecting a complimentary high tea but again, the girl said it was not a part of the room perks. I was, again, surprised because I checked booking.com’s list of inclusive incentives and I could’ve sworn that high tea was a part of it. Again, whatever.

So we got to our room and headed to the executive lounge to have coffee. The snacks and coffee were all complimentary and are available all day. When we got there, no one was there to assist us. Literally, the staff members were just floating around or looking at the computer screen, not minding the guests.

When a family of foreigners came to the lounge, they were all over the whites like freakin’ hyenas in heat. I’m being very specific with female staff members. We felt discriminated, honestly. It was actually my husband who noticed all these, I was drinking my coffee and busy with my phone. No one was minding the guests until the foreigners arrived. And this happened to another Filipino couple too, they were simply being ignored while the whites were getting five-star treatment, it’s hilarious and sad.

We saw an old white guy sitting beside what looked like a GRO (Google to know what this means) and they got better treatment than us. Not that I’m shitting all over/judging the GRO’s hustle but she got better treatment at an executive lounge because she’s with a white guy? Come on.

You cannot make this shit up.

Bending the Rules

Kids aren’t allowed in the executive lounge and yet, the whites’ kids are welcome to run around. In the pool area, teens (foreigners also) were running around in the shallow parts of the pool. No one was there to warn them to slow down. One of the teens inevitably slipped, almost split his skull in the process and ended up sitting out the rest of their time in the pool. Yan kase.

Inexperienced Nurse

Got a bit of a stomach ache at around 3AM and asked for meds, the staff won’t give meds because “they are not allowed to give meds.” My husband asked for a nurse so we could get a fucking buscopan and when the nurse arrived, she just stood by my side, asked me to describe the pain (which I did, thrice), and was just saying “Aaah,” everytime I describe the pain. Convo went around like this:

Nurse: Panong sakit po ba? Nangangasim? (Can you describe the kind of stomach ache you’re experiencing? Is it acid-induced?)

Me: No, parang cramps, basta masakit sya pero hindi ako nangangasim. (It’s like muscle cramps, it’s painful but it’s not hyperacidity)

Nurse: San po masakit? (where does it hurt?)

Me: Dito sa tyan bandang gitna. (right here in the middle)

Nurse: (didn’t look where my hands were placed) Dito po ba sa may taas, baba…? Banda po saan? (Is it the upper abdomen, the lower abdomen…?)

Me: Miss, literal hawak ko yung part na masakit, ayan o *sabay turo sa part na masakit* (I’m literally holding the part that hurts, points to the part that hurts)

Nurse: Aah, dyan po ba? (Oh, that part) *Nakahawak sa hot compress, not offering it*

Me: (takes the hot compress) Akina na lang nga yan. (Just give me the hot compress.)

The nurse didn’t give her recommendations, no suggestions for meds, she was so fucking inexperienced it’s as if the hotel didn’t know how to handle basic things like this. We ended up phoning the front desk out of frustration and asking their staff to get us fucking buscopan. And they did after 30 minutes, sana umpisa pa lang sinabi na nila na pwede naman palang magpabili.

To Sum Up

Essentially, the bad customer service, the weird discrimination we received, the initial disappointment with the bathtub, and the subsequent experience with the inexperienced nurse totally ruined what could’ve been a fun weekend for me and my husband. We stayed at a PHP15K a night room and honestly, we got better treatment at GO! Hotels (a budget hotel for travelers). We overpaid for such crappy service and the room isn’t all that either. Wasted day, wasted money, wasted time celebrating an important life event.

Never again.

[Update] A Word from Clark Marriott

So a rep from Clark Marriott got in touch with me to address the discrimination that we experienced at the hotel. I won’t be posting the entire response because it addressed some other things that aren’t really as important as the preferential treatment that the staff members have shown to white guests:

Likewise, we apologize that you and your husband felt discriminated during your stay. If you could allow me to share, apart from being a leisure venue, we mainly operate as a business hotel. Having said that, we do receive a lot of corporate repeat and extended stay guests, both of local and foreign nationalities. I can imagine that you might have noticed that there is a certain familiarity with certain guests amongst our associates and I can understand how this may be perceived negatively in comparison to the interactions they have with other guests. We definitely see this an opportunity for improvement and will be addressing this to all our associates accordingly.

Here’s my response:

“Familiarity,” between guests and hotel employees is not an excuse to show better treatment to other guests, Charmaine. We all paid equal amounts of money for our time at the Marriot and deserved equal treatment.

It’s quite coincidental that the majority of your hotel staff members are so nice to the foreigners but are quite neutral to local guests. You are working at a 5-star hotel, not a guest house.

My husband stayed at the Marriott Hotel in India and was so embarrassed by the way your hotel staff treated local guests. Literal daw na parang baby sila sa India pero dito sa Marriott PH, may discrimination kasi hindi sila puti. I mean, seriously Ms. Charmaine, there’s no justifying that. Medyo nakakahiya kayo sa mga kababayan natin.

Your staff is bending the rules sa mga foreigners, even sa executive lounge but are ignoring local guests. Your staff is providing better treatment for foreigners. I’ve been to nicer hotels and I can see that Clark Pampanga is not ready to provide the level of customer service that the Marriott brand is known for, so sad and disappointing.

I know your marketing team and no doubt, your hotel staff members have read my review on my website. Take that review as a sign to re-train your hotel staff members so you don’t end up ruining the Marriott name even more. There won’t be a next time, unfortunately.

Just goes to show that there was preferential treatment at the Marriott and it was not just us. It must be so easy to forget that you’re working at a 5-star hotel, interacting with all these repeat customers and all. Gurl, you treat everyone with the same level of service and courtesy, hindi lang dahil kilala mo.

Here’s a tip next time you get the same complaint (which I hope you won’t) write this instead: It is truly with great regret that we were unable to provide you the experience you expected, rest assured that we will be addressing this to all our associates accordingly. We sincerely apologize.

Ganun ka-simple, none of the excuses, none of the fluff; go straight to the apology for a crappy customer service.

I rest my case.

Tina Lee

Tina Lee-Almazar is a writer with an insatiable appetite for all things bright, shiny, and beautiful. She's a beauty junkie, a shopping connoisseur, a book collector, a purse addict, and a budding mom-tepreneur. Tina has a long-standing (and well-documented!) but one-sided love affair with cats. Special talents include: the ability to eat again an hour after eating, shopping at 3 different malls in 1 day, and taking a 3-hour power nap every day including weekends.

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