The primary purpose of any hotel, apart from providing shelter, is to ensure a happy and peaceful sleep. But at times, even some of the most reputed chains fail to live up to the expectation and today is one such day for me.
Four Points by Sheraton at Agra is a new property and while I am here on an official visit, I plan to check it out. The property is nice and clean and after checking rates on MakeMyTrip, I speak to the front office manager, Vivek Kumar, who tries his best to up sell me the next category room and goes to the extent of saying that no room is available in the category of my choice. When I tell him that MakeMyTrip still shows availability, he budges and offers me the room of my choice at the same price that is quoted on the MakeMyTrip website.
This is my first stay at Four Points by Sheraton, a property of Starwoods, and I check its brand positioning on the company website and I replicate it as it is below since it is vital for the statements I will be making.
“In over 30 countries, Starwood’s third-largest brand delights the self-sufficient traveler with honest, uncomplicated comfort complete with simple pleasures that matter most: complimentary internet, free water, the Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed, a hearty breakfast, hot & fresh coffee, and great beer with Best Brews, all at a terrific value”.
While making the reservation, I ask for the complimentary internet which is refused saying that I will have to buy it. Since I am carrying both the data card and my 3G enabled phone, I refuse to buy any additional wifi package but again recheck the MakeMyTrip offer. It clearly says that data access is complimentary. When I mention this to the manager, I am offered a 2 hours complimentary access which I do not accept. So dear Four Points, I have my first ‘two points’ here for you – Is your global statement of providing free internet not applicable in India and do you want every customer to keep bargaining for the facilities when they are clearly laid out ?
When I came back at night at 11.30pm, a free internet voucher for 24 hour access was lying on my bed. It was too late by then as I have to check out at 7am the next day and hence I do not use the voucher that came in as a late reaction.
After checking into the room, I go for a shower. The water is barely warm leave aside hot. I complain to the front desk which does not get any reaction as I have to bath again in the morning with cold water. The window is dirty and outside view ensures that one keeps the curtains drawn.
The air conditioning in the room is not effective. I complain to housekeeping and a person is sent promptly. He realizes that the room is not getting evenly cooled and the lowest temperature it can reach is 22 degree Celsius that too where the vent has direct air throw. But he requests me to check for another half an hour if the a/c becomes effective. I am not able to understand the room temperature displays. It says that cooling in the room can be set to 5 degree Celsius. Really ? I have not seen any room air conditioner throughout the world that can bring down the temperature to so low and the irony is that this one barely cools. It is already past midnight and I have the most uncomfortable night with me sleeping without the quilt in that warm room. Wish they at least have fans in the rooms if their air conditioners are failing them in peak Agra summers.
Even other simple things are not taken care of. The room slippers are not in the room and have to be requested for. After the evening bath, bath gel is not replaced during the turndown service and it has to be requested again for the morning bath. The windows are dirty and the outside view is nothing to talk about. In most starred hotels, there is a standard that the TV will automatically switch on at a required decibel and on the home channel as soon as one inserts the light key. Not here. The TV keeps showing that there is weak or no signal. After playing with the remotes for some time and with no energy left after a hectic day, I just switch off the TV to sleep in the warm room.
Breakfast is the only meal that I have here. Staff is very courteous but there is only one person who is manning both the dosa and the egg counter which is delaying things. The cheese platter hardly had any cheese though I am amongst the first one to eat.
I again notice Vivek in the lobby and he politely asks me about my experience. Not to shy away, I tell him about the unpleasant night and obviously he can’t do anything except promise to get things checked.
So Four Points, I have given you overall 2 points (Perhaps I am being too generous) – the balance two you still need to work upon. And dear readers, if you would like to experience something similar, the hotel coordinates are given below.
PS: Its been 15 days since I made the visit but no one has yet approached for a corporate tie-up that was requested when the room was being booked. In a way it is good, it saves me the trouble of refusing.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Room: 1.5 | Ambience: 3.0 | Service: 2.0 | Overall: 2.0
Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: C-1-C-2, Taj Nagari, Phase 1, Fatehabad Road, Agra | Phone: 0562-2333333