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Should I expect more from Sundial Lodge? (long)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I came out to Utah last week with my wife, two kids and mother-in-law, for some late season skiing. My wife, daughter and I drove 20 hours from Wisconsin, while my son flew out with his grandma. We booked a seven night stay in a two bedroom condo-type place with a full kitchen at Sundial Lodge. I think the rate was about $530/night, which included lift tickets at the Canyons.

The first thing I notice when we get in the room is that one of the closet doors was broken and hanging by the top hinge. Then my wife tells me she can't find the coffee pot anywhere (which was critical after such a long drive and another trip down to SLC to pick up her mother and our son). We call up the front desk and report the problems, along with some missing videos, to make sure we don't get charged for something we didn't do. The front desk didn't pick up, so I was transferred to the concierge voicemail. I received a call back from the front desk about a half hour later, telling me I should call the front desk next time I have problems. When I explained that I had called the front desk, they insinuated that I was a moron and couldn't read the buttons on the phone.

Anyway, someone from maintenance came up to check out the closet door and as he was leaving, someone showed up from housekeeping to drop off the coffee pot. The maintenance guy couldn't open the door to get out of the room and assumed it was because the housekeeping guy was on the other side trying to open it up. After getting that figured out, the maintenance guy left and the housekeeping guy dropped off the coffee pot. As he tried to leave the room, he too noticed he could not open the door from the inside. At this point, we need to leave to pick up the rest of our family at the airport and we're trapped in the room with the guy from housekeeping.

I call down to the front desk and explain the situation and they ask me if I'm joking. I explained that I was not and that we really needed to get out of the room, so they sent the maintenance guy back up with an assistant to fix the lock. We then drive down to SLC, pick up the family at the airport and go out for dinner.

When we came back, we found maintenance was still trying to figure out the lock on the door. They ended up working on it for over four hours and didn't leave until 10:30 that night. We were all eager to get a good night's sleep for our first day on the mountain, but the women didn't feel comfortable falling asleep until the lock was fixed, even though I volunteered to stay up.

So we're getting dressed the next morning and my daughter complains about a pain in her boot and I pull out one of the screws that is supposed to be holding the lock on the door. I check the door and find that although we are able to open and close the door, we can't lock it with the deadbolt. I figure no big deal, as long as we've got the top lock. A few nights later, the fire alarm goes off and we spend an hour outside wondering what would have happened if it wasn't a false alarm and the door wouldn't open again. So I get back in the room and call down to the front desk again to have the lock fixed.

Maintenance comes back up, looks it over and deems it beyond their ability to repair, but assured me the locksmith would be in the next day and he has "the midas touch" when it comes to fixing these locks. Well, the next day came and went and nothing has changed with the lock. I call down to the front desk again and get sent over to the conceirge's voicemail again.

The skiing has been excellent and the staff on the mountain has been awesome. I know this place has been beat up all winter long, but I get the feeling that the hotel staff is coasting, waiting for the season to end and could care less about what happens in the last week of the season. When I spend $500+/night at other hotels and resorts, I never get that impression from their staff. I don't think there's any excuse for any hotel to allow guests to check into a room when something as obviously wrong as a closet door hanging from one hinge (which still hasn't been repaired). Is this typical of ski resorts or should I be getting better service?
post #2 of 7
At the very least i would of asked to be moved to another room. Or get a partial refund for the door/ lock Problem.
As for the rude front desk employees, write a letter to the GM and try to provide names of those who were rude to you. Chances are the GM will take care of things. If not,i would complain as loud as you can.
Next time you plan a visit out , may i suggest.
post #3 of 7
With the exception of Sugarloaf, anytime we have spurged and stayed at any ASC lodging, there is always some sort of problem. In Park City, when we went to get a krispy kreme [img]redface.gif[/img] {ok, guilty as charged!} there were some people from the Canyons aggressively trying to sell timeshares, when all we wanted to do was pay for the damn donuts we should not have been eating anyway! I hope you wrote a complaint letter, and I'm glad you at least had a good time skiing! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #4 of 7

That is a real bum deal. The suggestions of LM and TR are great, but I think you might want to use the real power at your disposal. You probably won't get back any of the money you spent on that fiasco, but you can let management know of your dissatisfaction in a way that scares their bean counters to death!!! (This topic, potentially read by 4500 people, is a good point in itself!)

You might want to consider sending them a letter showing your discontent, after you have had the time to do some reviews on the internet; and copy that bad PR to management in your letter. They know, deep in the devious recesses of their financial plan; that you won't be returning, but they are really afraid of your spreading that discontent to a vast audience via the internet. I have used that option a time or two, and each time I saw what looked to me like a REAL concerted effort on the part of site management to appease my complaints. (Just do a search on skiing sites, and you will have more forum options than you need.) ....None of those guys you dealt with are morons, and they consciously prioritize their responses based on the percieved needs of their financial plan.

I do hope you see something done, that in some way rectifies the anguish you and your family were put through. [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ March 31, 2003, 04:11 AM: Message edited by: feal ]
post #5 of 7
I work for a property management company here in PC (we don't have any properties at The Canyons) and I would recommend an approach along the lines of what the other replies have mentioned. We try to be proactive in these sorts of situations and attempt to come to some positive solution prior to the guests' departure, but it sounds like you have already left! I would definitely write to The Canyons and ASC management, but another good approach is to drop the local Chamber of Commerce and SkiUtah! a copy of your comments as well, as they are definitely a good help for resolving "visitor issues".
It was great to hear that otherwise you had a good experince and we certainly hope to see your family back in Utah some time soon.
post #6 of 7
Actually, if you look at the top of this page, there is the option to email this to a "friend". May be a good idea to email this thread to Sundial Lodge!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your input and feedback, it is greatly appreciated. I actually sent an e-mail regarding our problems through the Canyons website after we first checked in, but never received any response. I also called the front desk periodically throughout our stay to try and set up an appointment with a manager, but my calls were always re-routed to the conceirge voicemail (maybe they knew I was calling to complain and didn't pick up on purpose).

On the final day of our stay, we returned to the Sundial to find the gate closed on the parking structure underneath the building (free underground parking is one of their selling points). Puzzled, I drove up to the entrance and inquired at the front desk as to why this happened. I was asked if I was a guest at the hotel and said I was. Then I was told to use my room key to open the door. I asked where I should put it, since I hadn't noticed anything for a room key and she told me right outside the door. Then I asked left or right side and she said left in a manner that I felt was condescending. I returned to the entrance to find a guy in a Suburban on the other side of the gate unable to get out and I could not find anything that looked like it would open the door with a room key.

I returned to the front desk again, where I was informed that the door I had been using all week was actually not the entrance, but another access area that was being used, because the entrance door was broken all week(so how was I supposed to know to use my key then?). The girl at the desk said that since the door had been repaired, they closed the other gate to prevent unauthorized vehicles from parking in the structure.

The actual entrance had a height limitation of 6'8", which I told her was too tall for my SUV, unlike the other entrance that had a clearance well over 7'. She then told me the clearance was the same everywhere in the garage (I'm 7'1" and I know she's wrong) and then she told me I would have to park my truck in the outside lot if it wouldn't fit in the entrance. I then asked her why this was even an issue, since all vehicles are supposed to have little tags on their mirrors, I had been using the other entrance all week and there were always tons of spaces available. I said, "it's not like the World Cup or Sundance is going on, this place is empty!" She then kind of rolled her eyes at me and said she'd call maintenance to see if there was anything they could do. Maintenance came down and as it turned out, although it was a little sticky, the rolling gate didn't even have a lock on it anyway and the guy from maintenance raised it up for me. It would have been a good idea to post some signs informing guests of the change before they closed the gate.

On our last night there, I went down to the desk and asked to speak to a manager. She connected me via phone at the desk to the manager at the Grand Summit and I set up a personal meeting with him. I went through these problems with him and he seemed very understanding and apologetic. I asked him if he ever went on the Internet and he said he did and I then asked him if he ever researched what folks had to say about his resort and he said he didn't. I encouraged him to do so and listed several of the complaints my wife found when researching the Canyons before we even stayed there. He said he was aware of those problems (including the way they suggest that ammenities at both hotels are available to all guests even though that's not the case) and said they were working to correct them. He took notes on our conversation and said he would be forwarding my concerns to his immediate supervisor and he then gave me a 10% discount on our room for our entire stay, which he said was all he was authorized to do.

I then received a fax this morning from Lizzie Offret, who is the assistant front office manager. She was also very apologetic and reduced our room rate by an additional 10%, which totals a little over $600 for the entire trip. While I certainly appreciate that gesture and won't turn it down, I'd rather pay a 20% premium on a vacation for a 150% effort, than a 20% discount for a half effort. Just because they've refunded us some of our money doesn't mean there won't be any problems if we stay there again, but I'd like to think our name would be red-flagged in their computer system now. My wife plans all this stuff anyway and she thought the children's programs were good enough to warrant considering the Canyons again, given their 20% discount. I guess that means we'll still look at other places next time, but won't rule out the Canyons.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Should I expect more from Sundial Lodge? (long)