I first stayed at a Kimpton several years ago and fell in love. I loved how hip the decor was and how comfortable the beds and bedding were. I loved the clean, a bit fruity room scent that was not over powering. I loved how welcoming the staff always was and all the efforts they made to make you comfortable. I loved the happy hour – great for business travelers to get a bit of free wine and chit chat with others in town for business. I loved the free speedy wi-fi and the “raid the mini-bar” credit you get when a member.
It was just a big lovefest….. UNTIL….
My assistant booked a non-refundable fee for a three night stay that I had to cancel. I called the Kimpton manager for the hotel, and asked if he could just apply those nights to a future stay that I would for sure be doing in the near future. He dug in his heels – absolutely not. Dude would not budge an inch. He did not care that my trip was cancelled because of an unexpected health situation that prevented traveling; he did not care that I was a frequent Kimpton user and Kimpton club member; he did not care that I talked up the hotel to everyone and encouraged all to stay at Kimptons – he just shut me down. He stated you bought non-refundable, you are now cancelling – you do not get your money back nor do you get a credit. BOOM – he was done with me. I was out about $1000.
I WAS FURIOUS! I broke up with Kimpton.
I was so sad because I did not want to dump them but being treated like this did not outweigh all the stuff I loved. Plus, it made me feel that all the loving Kimpton gave its guests was a mirage and in the end, sadly they really did not care: when they so warmly welcomed me, helped me get good dinner reservations, give me wine and chocolates the time I was their guest of the day during a stay – did not really mean anything because, when things got rough – they tossed me out. Rather, then telling me that although they were upset that I bought a non-refundable stay and now wanted a refund; they understood and would give me at least one night stay in the future. Something – anything. I got nothing except a cold, rudeness from the manager.
So… I went on in my life without staying at Kimptons, I quit going to Kimpton restaurants and bars in my hometown, and I started telling friends not to stay at the Kimpton.
I was booking the trip I am now on. I got on line – intending to stay away from Kimptons. Unfortunately, there were limited places to stay for me; and I reluctantly booked at a Kimpton. But, I promised myself there would be no re-commitment to Kimpton instead – it was going to be a one and done – a moment of desperation.
I was warmly greeted by the doorman and he teased me about the homeless guy hitting me up for cash. Then, the front desk check-in took less then five minutes (I cannot stand those hotels where it takes so long to check-in. You stand there, the clerk is typing furiously into the computer, typing what, who knows; but you stand there and wait and wait.) And, in that five minutes, when I asked for a room away from the elevators, the clerk smiled warmly and said, no problem because we have upgraded your room. WAIT – WHAT? An upgrade?
I zoom up to my room – its gorgeous and I am back in love with Kimptons.
The Kimpton Chicago is stylish and clean, it smells fresh but not sickeningly so. The room scent is so relaxing it smells like a spa. My room had two rooms. One with a great couch, desk and TV. The other with a bed with fabulous sheets and pillows. In fact the pillows were so over the top comfy that I bought two just before writing this. The soaps and shampoos are lightly scented and plentiful, not little thimbles of acidic smelling bath supplies like some hotels.
The best part – a huge window seat with great views out over the street and of the river. I sat there and did my work – it was so relaxing. I loved it so much that I took photos so we can replicate it when we build our house.
Then, of course, I had my Kimpton $10 raid the minibar money and the excellent speedy wi-fi. No wine and socializing this time -too much work to get done.
But, on my way to dinner, the staff was warm and engaging.
I have forgiven Kimpton. Just because they had some jerk as a manager for one hotel, does not mean I should leave them forever.
I am back in love with Kimpton. And, so, you should try a Kimpton. The Kimpton in Chicago – Hotel Monaco is nothing short of spectacular. (See my post on Airbnb – I really needed this. ;))