Our Compensation Clinic case this week brings us to the Alila Bangsar Kuala Lumpur, where I ended up having a very disappointing and brief stay earlier this month.
This particular property has been open in KL for quite a while now and ever since Alila was implemented into the Hyatt family of brands, I wanted to try staying here as a regular visitor to KL.
I’m familiar with Bangsar, but this is a really weird area for an Alila hotel as the brand is usually quite upscale and just doesn’t fit into this rather run-down neighborhood, but that is just on the side.
I arrived at the hotel at 1:45 am after my very late arrival with ANA and a one-hour Grab ride from KLIA. The room was assigned previously, and I checked in through the app. once I boarded the plane in Tokyo.
The first thing that greeted me upon arrival was a broken elevator:
They only have two elevators, and the reception is located in a sky lobby very high up so this one broken elevator already created a mess for the arrival and departure day as the breakfast restaurant is on street level as well. It was a disaster!
After waiting for a while, a front desk associate joined and checked me in. No word about the room type (for good reason obviously), but she explained internet access and breakfast benefits.
When I inquired about the room, it turned out that there wasn’t even a single category upgrade assigned. It was the same room I reserved, so not only was there no suite but not even anything else. The hotel claimed they were full, which wasn’t the case when I checked it the same afternoon.
Before even going to the room, I called Hyatt and opened a file against the hotel because I’m not participating in their little games. If the property doesn’t want to upgrade a Globalist member, then notify the guest in advance via email so there is ample choice to cancel and go elsewhere.
As I didn’t want this to drag on endlessly, and it was already 2:30 am at that point I decided to handle this matter the next morning and went to the room.
Additional problems with the room amenities followed promptly:
- Air Condition wasn’t set to 18 degrees as I informed them before arrival via email (it was at 22C);
- The temperature minimum of the air condition is 20 degrees celsius, which is simply not cold enough for a tropical country such as Malaysia;
- No minibar, only an empty fridge. Beverages were only available through room service;
- The batteries for the tv remote control were empty, and it was impossible to shut off the bright TV;
The air conditioner was rather noisy, so I put it on full blast and left the room for a while, then returned and slept for four hours (not very great sleep quality in this warm room.
In the morning I got up, left the room, and explored the hotel a bit. The architecture is actually quite nice and I wish the hotel was in a better area.
After breakfast (ok but very limited selection, unlike the other Alila properties I stayed at) someone from management made herself available to investigate the case, offering another night free of charge or an airport transfer, but I declined as I would rather go to the Element which is one of my favorite hotels in KL.
Later on, I spoke to the Director of Rooms, who offered 5,000 World of Hyatt points as compensation, to which I agreed. He also sent an amenity (bottle of wine and Alila bathroom amenities) together with an apology message to the Element, which was a really nice touch. Maybe the properties have the same owners?
It was a week, but the points still didn’t show up on the account, so I sent another email, after which they posted within 24 hours.
Maybe I give this hotel another chance next year if I have a stay that’s a little longer and I don’t need to move around a lot.
The Alila Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur was not a very good experience this time. This surprised me as I have only found Alila to be a very solid chain until now. I stayed at several of their properties to date and never had an issue with either.
I think this is another case of a lukewarm property in Malaysia that isn’t fully in tune with brand standards. On top of that, the location is rather awkward for a supposedly upscale hotel. I wonder why the owner chose this location and brand, as it’s simply not in tune with each other.
The air conditioner temperature limitation is completely ridiculous and needs to be fixed. I also found the upgrade situation strange. Why wouldn’t they properly pre-assign upgrades for Globalist members?