Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Kempinski Julaia'a No More: Sea Shell SUCKS

The Kempinski resort in southern Kuwait, Julaia'a is now the "Sea Shell Resort formerly the Kempinski".

I don't know what made the Kempinski chain pull out of the property, but I can guess that yet again another international hotel chain was not satisfied with the quality of the management. This has happened numerous times here: Hyatt Regency, Marriott (years ago), and others decided that the quality of services offered at their hotels were not up to their international standards.

Isn't that typical? Invest in a business, bring in top level staff to manage it; have that staff train lower paid people; fire the top level management; keep the lower paid people with the assumption that they will be able to maintain the level of service. This is the local business model.

Anyhow, I had the displeasure of one of the worst customer-service-related calls EVER with the duty manager at the Sea Shell, a socially-stunted individual named Waheed. Obviously, the resort is only a shell (if you will) of the Kempinski's former glory.

The property has always had a policy that if you are not a registered guest, you must park your car outside the main gate and walk up their hill - regardless of the weather - to get into the hotel. They don't offer any shuttle service. Why would a hotel choose to put their guests in an uncomfortable situation? Perhaps someone doesn't want to invest the money in the screening equipment that say the SAS or the Hilton has so that cars can go through. In our case, it was really cold outside, there were zero incoming/outgoing cars (no business) and we wanted to get a price sheet without having to park too far away. okey dokey, so it is their policy, but come on.

I called and asked for the duty manager to tell him why we were there and he had no intention of listening. Sometimes you can give an individual one singular task and there is no fluctuation or reasoning; he/she is a robot and must perform that one singular task. You can ask questions, you can try reason - it won't work. Why? Because those with lower intelligence don't question or rationalize.

Case in point: Waheed shouted over top of anything I had to say. Obviously, he doesn't care what position someone might be in to be able to give them business (and on what level). He didn't listen to a single thing I said: He was intent on one singular function; making me park the car, get out and walk to their office. My argument was that they should cater to their customers. It if was a matter of security, the guard could take my ID (especially since there was NO other customer within miles). He didn't listen to what I had to say - only shouted that I was wrong and "wasn't obeying their rules". I explained to him that it is a stupid procedure - especially since many of us give them repeated business and the security guards immediately treat customers as if they are criminals. He ranted. He shouted. And then (get this!), he threatened to call my embassy and tell them that I wasn't obeying rules. What tha fuuuuuuuuuuuu???? I offered to give him the number if he didn't have it. Go ahead - call the US embassy. I suggested that perhaps he should make it into an international incident and have his embassy (Egypt) contact my embassy and tell them that I "wasn't obeying rules". Yeh! Were laws broken??? Did I crash the gate with my car? Further, at the point when I called him to complain about the way I was treated at the gate, I was already miles away down the road going to check out another resort property. Waheed never apologized for the way we were treated. In fact, the only time this "manager" came up for air and let me say what I had to say was when I told him that I was recording our conversation to send to the hotel owner.

So, if you want to be treated badly, go to the Sea Shell Resort (formerly the Kempinski). If you have the scoop on why Kempinski no longer manages the hotel, feel free to dish it here. If anyone has the contact information for the owners of the Sea Shell, pass it along to me. I'm sure they are losing business on a daily (if not hourly) basis.

They just lost 2 customers today. I will NEVER go there again.


Harry Kane said...

When I checked in at this place, I discovered that the card that opens the front door wasn't working. To make a really long story short, I had to change the card 3 times, but the door still wouldn't open. Then they decided they would need to change the whole damn door and asked me to wait. I already waited an hour and half to get the cards sorted, so I told them the hell with that. Finally, after 3 hours of negotiations, they checked me into another chalet. Never again!

forzaq8 said...

i think you just answered your question about why they lost the chain name :P

guys like waheed here

this is a big problem with the mentality of business here in Kuwait

most business know that however they abuse you , you and others will be back , Coffee gone up 40% in the last two year ? you will still drink at that chain

and examples never end , not to mention there are a lot of international companies that do not care what their agent do in Kuwait

Evil Knievel said...

Last time I been there was actually quite nice (spring 2008).
I had to deal with them years ago for a possible conference and had a great time with them. But as far as I know the management which I dealt with at this time left (surprise surprise). I remember this german chick working there who was not only really sweet and hot but also really good in what she was doin! I think she went to Abu Dhabi to the Emirates Palace Hotel (also run by Kempinski).
The guards in "the shell" are really not the most friendly and definitly should be tought some manners. Rules are good and important but there is exceptions to every rule... :)

i would love to help you in your quest to find the owner... but I have no clue who it is...

In the mean time I will tell the American Embassy what a bad bad person you are !! :)

psytrance said...

i never knew a gal could cause so much destruction in the desert


Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear what happened to you. you can reach the owners at Tel 24843244. Ask for Mrs. Nada. P.S: Kempinski didn't pull out, the owners pull them out for the Mis- Managment and Negligence despite repeated reminders and warnings from owners side.