There’s been a resolution of sorts for the recent kerfluffle at the W Hollywood hotel, which I wrote about two weeks ago. I found out first-hand that guests are not always permitted to use its gorgeous and enviably situated rooftop pool, despite the high room rates they pay.
The scandal made news around the Web, including at The Economist, which proclaimed itself “horrified” about the revelations here on Gadling. (It was indeed a proud day for me: I also got The Economist to repeat my coinage, “douche-tastic.”)
The newly opened hotel hasn’t broken things off with the Las Vegas promoter, Drai’s, which runs its nightspot and organizes the Sunday “pool party” that guests have been told they’re not cool enough for. But as a mea culpa for the unwanted attention, the W Hollywood is bending the rules.The hotel’s general manager, Jim McPartlin, personally wrote me a note apologizing for the policy. “It is inexcusable, and I can assure you that I have taken measures to ensure it does not happen again,” he told me. “Opening a hotel can be a challenge, but developing a strong service culture is something I practice with my team each day.”
His new measures supersede the statement he issued for my first report on the original doucheitude. McPartlin said:
“Recognizing that most people check out by noon on Sunday and check in after 3 pm, we altered the start time of the pool party to 2:00 as opposed to 10 am. Further, hotel guests have front of line status. These two actions seemed to have cleared up our issues, and I will continue to monitor this very carefully.”
Well, maybe it clears things up. It’s not truly a pure resolution if guests are still required to queue up for space at their own pool, particularly if the available space is being taken up by hordes of off-the-street scenesters wearing fedoras with board shorts and jiggling their bikinis as they dance on the sun chairs.
However, the new front-of-the-line policy is now consistent with a number of other hip L.A. hotels’ clubby pool areas, where hotel guests are permitted to join the doucheteria as space permits.
Last summer, I wrote about a similar situation at the newish SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, where hotel guests may still be treated like beggars at the feast, but at least they’re allowed in.
The guest entry situation at L.A. hotels’ pools may not be ideal, but at least now you can’t argue that the W’s policy isn’t consistent with its equally misguided competition. Guests may now use the pool, provided they get there really early and don’t mind cigarette ash floating past them.
I also contacted Drai’s, the promoter that populates the W pool for the Sunday parties, for its policy. It sent me a copy of McPartlin’s original response, now obsolete, but never issued me one of its own.
I also wrote about what you can do as a consumer if your hotel denies you the amenities you were promised. That post went up at our sister site about your money, WalletPop.com.
Would I go back to the W Hollywood? My Speedos aren’t in a permanent twist, and between the lines, I’m getting the picture that the service goals of the hotel’s management are at direct odds with the too-cool-for-the-pool objectives of its contracted partner, Drai’s. I’d give the place the benefit of the doubt, chalk the disaster up to opening turbulence, and risk it again. But I’d steer clear of the pool on Sundays.