Rated 4.1 out of 5 by 208
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by RaghavG Disappointment all around
I have been staying at the Intercontinental Semiramis since March this year (I have usually travelled once every month to Cairo, although the trips have become more frequent with time). It was abundantly clear from the first stay that customer service was generally not a prioritized facet, with grumpy faces greeting you from the minute you stepped in. Nevertheless, I persisted, as I am a regular IHG member and thought I would trade off the generally poor service for the accumulation of points.
My last trip changed my mind.
I had a booking for Monday 22nd to Thursday 25th June but unfortunately, due to a lack of flight availability, I had to travel to Cairo at a godforsaken hour and arrive early Monday morning (around 3am). I had phoned in advance to advise the front desk of my circumstances and had asked them to allow me to check in early. The initial response I received was that I would be charged a full extra night’s stay. I requested that given that I would be arriving at 4am and taking into account my loyalty to the hotel in recent months and IHG generally, I would hope that they could offer me a better deal than that – I had volunteered to pay half a day’s rate instead. The gentleman advised me that it could be dealt with when I arrived but I asked him to note down our conversation and the proposed solution (I made the rookie mistake of not taking his name).
I turned up to the hotel at said godforsaken hour, groggy as to be expected. When I tried checking in, the front desk person advised me that my booking was for the next day. I responded that I was aware of that but had called in earlier to request an early check-in, which clearly had not been mentioned in my booking records. The front desk person advised me that if I wanted to check in at that time, I would be charged a full night. I suggested that seemed unreasonable to me as it was 4am and so I proposed a half-day charge. He advised me that they charge 50% of the rate if a guest is checking in at 7am (interestingly, I had checked in at that time during a previous visit and not been charged anything, which I highlighted to him). He then offered me that if I wanted an early check-in at no extra expense, then I would have to wait till 7am. Irritated, I asked him if he was suggesting that I sprawl myself out in their lobby for the next few hours. Unfortunately, we then fell into an argument and I soon realized that was an error in my part as I try to stay level-headed as much as possible during such situations. Frustrated, I told him that I would just pay the full rate and he should let me check in now. This is when it got a bit farcical.
He retorted that he was not going to let me pay anything – I was utterly confused and so asked him if he was refusing to check me in at this hour. He replied that I could check in at no extra cost at 7am! I asked him if I could speak to a supervisor, which he then told me that he would do instead.
I am not much of an Arabic speaker but I heard two words used together: “hindi” (usually used to refer to a person of Indian origin) and “mushkil” (difficult). I will not dwell too much on this part (as that will likely open another can of worms, which I cannot substantiate) but leave the reader to draw their own understanding from this.
After finishing with the duty manager, he advised me that the manager had agreed to offer me an early check-in… at 7am. I was astounded by the general incompetency and said that I wanted to check in now. At which point, he advised that I would have to pay the full rate – not wanting to highlight that was nothing beyond what I had already myself offered minutes ago, I accepted the offer and looked forward to crashing out.
Unfortunately, it did not end there. He allocated me a room, which was not what I had booked (twin beds vs. single King bed) so I had to go down to ask for a different room. Shockingly, he advised me that was just a preference and as the rate is the same, I could be allotted either of those rooms. I showed him my booking, which clearly indicated a Deluxe King Bed non-smoking room. Clearly not satisfied by our deteriorated bond, he offered me a room on a smoking floor, with the compensation that this had been renovated recently. I asked him if that was a non-smoking room as per my booking, to which he advised it was not! He then advised that there might not be another room available within my requirements – I asked him to double check, which somehow led to a room being available. When he handed me the room key, he made the point of repeating that the room was on the 22nd floor – the suggestion either being that I should be grateful for his generosity in bestowing me a room on a high-rise floor or that I should jump off from that height! Not wanting to drag my pain any further, I expressed my gratitude and went to my room.
I got into the bed, only to realize that the bedsheets had a layer of cigarette smoke. Exhausted, I decided to let my lungs suffer but had to request that they changed the sheets in the morning.
Readers might think that things must have improved from hereon. Not really. The following day I ordered a club sandwich at the ground floor café, which arrived cold – I asked them why an egg, which should have been just fried, should be so icy, I got a shrug of the shoulder.
Another evening, I decided to iron a couple of my shirts. The instant that the iron touched my first shirt, it left a dark stain on my collar. I phoned up housekeeping and they sent someone from the laundry. I asked him to rectify the problem and he proceeded to try to scratch the stain out. I asked him if he thought that was the best way to deal with the problem. He looked at me blankly. I suggested that it might need to be washed, to which (unsurprisingly by this point) he suggested that I would receive a charge for the wash. I asked him if he thought that was correct given that the shirt had been ruined by hotel equipment. He advised me that he would take care of the shirt. Foolishly, I hoped that he might have gone to wash the shirt. He returned after 15 minutes and handed me the shirt with the collar damp!
The hotel clearly needs a makeover and general uplift in its customer service standards – not many friends in Cairo were surprised when I told them of my experience. There might be folks who continue to patronize the Intercontinental Semiramis – unfortunately, I will not be one of them.
July 5, 2015
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by guest72 One of the best hotels worldwide
I like Intercontinental Hotels . Usually they have good rooms and service.
June 24, 2015
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Steven0318 缺憾的美好住处
June 22, 2015