Hotel In Havana Has Issues; But How Staff Handles Them Shows Effort

From A Guest...

Reserved a room for two nights at Hotel Mecure Sevilla Habane using the online site at  Euros 176.30 (approximately US$193.93) per night for two nights (Euros 340.72) including buffet breakfast each morning in VIP rooftop ballroom.  CUC 184.11 per night for two nights (CUC 388.22).  US$1.00 equals .873 CUC; US$100.00 equals 87.30 CUC.   

In the United States, the appropriate value for the room (given the infrastructure condition) would be approximately US$120.00 per night.  For comparison, the nearby Hotel Saratoga has a rack-rate of approximately US$500.00 per night, but offers the nearest guest experience to a five-star (based upon United States rating system) property.

Arrived to the hotel approximately 12:15 pm; check-in time is 2:00 pm.  The property is managed by France-based Accor Hotels.  

Representative at the front desk shared that every effort would be made to have the room promptly available; the hotel was sold-out the previous night so there were no rooms available for an early check-in.  The guest retired to the lobby to have lunch (CUC 12.00)- tuna sandwich with a small salad and Cafe Cubano and bottled water.  The meal was good and the service was prompt.

The Public Relations/Concierge, Pupo, confirmed dinner reservations for the guest.

Provided with a welcome glass of juice before going to the room.  Room 802 was available at 2:00 pm; on 8th floor (of nine floors), corner with views of Morro Castle and Port of Havana.

Disappointment.  Floor was dirty.  The chain link locking mechanism on the door was broken.  No laundry bag or laundry list document.  Toilet was not flushed.  No bathmat.  No facial tissue.  Did not see the television channel listing (although it was in the booklet describing hotel services; guest did not look for it).  The room (and hotel) needs to be scrubbed and painted and polished.  

The guest reasonably determined that in an effort to have the room available, the housekeeping staff was too hurried; a supervisor may have not given a final check of the room.  It happens.  The guest did not make mention of any of the issues to staff at the front desk. 

The guest departed the room at 3:15 pm and returned to the room at 10:00 pm.  

The next morning, guest left 5.00 CUC in an envelope on the bed for the housekeeper (as all guests should do).  Breakfast was good with a varied selection of items; service was prompt.  The guest departed the room at 9:00 am and returned to the room at 10:00 pm. 

Upon entering the room:

There are matching rugs on each side of the bed.  The booklet describing hotel services is open to the television listing and placed (upright so as to be visible) next to the television.  There is a robe in the bathroom.  Two packages of facial tissue.  Two laundry bags are in the closet with a laundry list for each placed on the respective bag. Floor cleaned.  Many bathroom small-bottle amenities- soap (liquid and bar), shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer.  Door chain lock piece remained broken.  Bed turned-down.  Animal (with little wooden pieces for eyes) created from several towels is on the bed.  A note written in English on paper cut in the shape of a heart with a "smiley face" reads:

"Good Evening.  We hope you have enjoyed your stay in our hotel and we wish you a nice trip tomorrow.  Come back soon.  Your maids. Dranefa and Theresa."

The guest left 10.00 CUC in an envelope on the bed for the housekeepers the morning of departure.

Why should this matter?

The guest had made a list of the issues and placed it on the desk with other papers and items; not so the staff would see it, but so the issues could be addressed in a note to the manager (not posted on TripAdvisor) after departure. 

The guest was prepared to be resigned to an example of a challenged tourism sector where consistency of quality suffers due to a Republic of Cuba government-operated company (Gran Caribe in this instance) which owns the property and, in this instance, a France-based company, Accor Hotels (which manages the property) earning significant revenues in convertible currencies, but making most payments to employees in substantially lack of value non-convertible Pesos.  Thus, a lack of workforce incentives; pride from effort.  The employees know what the guest pays in comparison to what they are paid.

But this instance was different..... In a positive way. 

Did the housekeeping staff read the note?  Do not know; not important really.  What's important is with the exception of one issue (the lock), the other issues were addressed, and in a manner with grace, with style.

Upon check-out, a staff member at the front desk asked guest to please provide a review to TripAdvisor.....  It would be a good review.