Did Hilton Representatives call us “retards?” That’s simply not OK

As a small blog in the travel related blogosphere, we are quite used to getting a few abusive, R rated comments every now and then whenever someone disagrees with our point of view. It comes with the job, and we’re OK with it. But in a first for us, someone from Hilton corporate just unleashed a barrage of insults on us.

Last Christmas, we published a review of a hotel in which we were ‘upgraded’ to what would have been a somewhat boring, run of the mill, aged, expensive room. Don’t get me wrong, the room was definitely not a base room. It was large, and back in the 80s it could have been considered slightly north of mediocre. The one thing going for this hotel is its prestigious name. What definitely made it an unforgettable room though, was the utter filth in which everything was covered. We were moved to an acceptable room later and provided with compensation for the inconveniences, which was an appropriate service recovery.

AC vent

AC vent

We stay in hotels a combined 100 nights a year at a minimum, so we’ve grown accustomed with what to expect whenever we walk into a room. We’ve seen anything from somebody else’s underwear inside the bed, to a used condom in the waste bin, to urine all over the bathroom, to being given keys to someone else’s room. At a glance, this room looked OK. But less than five minutes after we walked in, we quickly started realizing that beyond making the bed and tidying things around, this room had not been cleaned in months.

How do I know it was months? Well, I too was a teenager who never cleaned his room. Had it not been for my mother nagging me to clean up my room, I would have been eaten by the dust bunnies. I’m also in IT and worked as a consultant, having spent months in hotels at a time while my apartment remained empty. Never did I see my place reach such a disgusting level of filth as I did in this hotel room.

What the hell is under this bed

Now, granted. I am a germaphobe and will concede to being OCD any day of the week. But I’m also sane enough to realize what other human being would perceive as having crossed the line from an acceptable level of cleanliness to a HELL NO. Which is exactly why I thought it was rather weird that after posting Jon’s review, we got a whole bunch of comments from readers where they seemed to be diametrically opposed to what we thought.

For example:

Whilst that room is dated and parts of it are dirty, the review is hyperbole and muchos drama. Black mold is rarely toxic and is not the public health hazard the media would like you to think. Go visit some of the champagne cellars that make your favorite first class bubblies or blue cheese caves. Dirty and kinda gross sure, but they quickly rectified it. And compensation? Omg what babies. They gave you an upgrade. Lord!

Our friend here is right about the yeast used in Champagne fermentation or the mold in blue cheese, which are purposely added and monitored to achieve perfect results. Where she proves to be completely bonkers is in attempting to equate those perfectly-safe-for-human-consumption fungi with the same black mold growing inside a nasty mini fridge in a hotel room. What ‘Omg what babies’ here also fails to acknowledge is that ‘dirty and kinda gross sure’ is just not acceptable at all, probably not even at a Motel 6.

GROSS!

Another example:

Are you sure you didn’t spontaneously vaccummed on the carpet yourself from eating drama queen for breakfast and being so upset you forgot a simple spell check of your clickbait review?

Erm… Ok.

But then the comments escalated very, VERY quickly (mind you, very NSFW language to follow):

Hey you retard Amway owns the JW as well

Noted.

You are the biggest idiot I have ever heard of

Disputable.

You are an inbred and probably do not understand how a hotel works

Factually incorrect, on both accounts.

You are the biggest wimp i ever heard of, you complain about everything. They worked their butts off so you could complain. I hope you do not ever return they don’t need guests like you wasting their time.

Now you’re right to wonder why on earth we approved those comments and why I’m including them in this post. Fair question.

Turns out after reading them a few times, it dawned on me that they had all come from the exact same IP address, (XXX.XXX.100.206). Just another troll, I assumed, and as I was about to block them from ever commenting on our blog, I decided to do an IP search. And…

Is Hilton OK with its employees hurling abuse at guests?

Turns out that IP address is registered to Hilton at their Mclean, VA headquarters. A simple google search can tell me that.

But what this means is that there is someone at Hilton corporate who is:

Wasting their time reading our blog during office hours and using their corporate supplied equipment to hurl insults at paying guests?

Or

Tasked with reviewing blog posts and submitting comments that make it sound like the writer isn’t right about their complaints?

Or

Stupid enough not to realize that in this digital age, anything can be traced back to them?

If someone at the hotel in question had called us retards or inbreds in person, I have no doubt their employment would have been terminated right then and there. Given that the internet affords some degree of anonymity and I have no way of finding out who wrote this beyond the fact that it came from a Hilton IP address, I guess we will not find out.

Now, there is a very small chance than all of Hilton’s properties utilize the same IP addressed registered to their HQs, and an even smaller chance that very single comment we got on that post came from a guest that was at that exact time staying at a Hilton hotel while reading the post. I’m gonna put it out there even though I’m convinced it’s astronomically unlikely.

I really hope whoever did this does not work in customer service, or anywhere their views are exposed to clients, as it would reflect very poorly on their employer’s image.

We would welcome someone from Hilton corporate to reach out to us to discuss this more, especially knowing that they’re probably reading us!

 

 

*  “We support the Special Olympics and their fight to end the use of the word retarded. We’re donating to that cause, and if you’d like to as well, here’s a link to PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT to eliminate the demeaning use of the R-word.

Author: Ben Nickel-D'Andrea

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37 Comments

  1. Maybe this was a hotel guest on the wifi?

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    • Yup. Slim chance, but I did mention that on the post. I don’t see why a guest would be so motivated to do such a thing though

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    • Nope. Most of Hilton IP addresses are from outside service providers and very random. Many times AT&T and others. This is corporate.

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      • Yikes. I thought this would be the case… thanks for confirming

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  2. Seriously – you guys really need thicker skin when you’re concerned about the comments section.

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    • Wouldn’t have approved the comments if I didn’t have a thick skin. I just don’t condone that kind of language ever, especially when potentially coming from a corporation.

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  3. Omg some companies really will stoop low! You do have some very abusive readers too but thankfully I’m a fan!!

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    • Thanks, Anne! ♥️

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  4. I read the review and the all caps disgusting and superlatives for a situation they immediately rectified feels out of line for the situation.

    You post lives on in search engines for what was an oversight – you may well have been the first guest in that room in several months

    Disproportionate impact to the hotel and its staff than it ever was to you.

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    • Thanks, but that’s not at all how a hotel works. If a room isn’t used for months, it needs to be cleaned thoroughly before being given to a guest. Also, not addressing the fact they called us the R word, which makes it sound like you’re ok with that

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      • Putting up a post that is visible for years to anyone searching “amway grand plaza review” with the all caps DISGUSTING drives away bookings. You’re frankly hurting the livelihood of every housekeeper and bell person there.

        If they didn’t rectify on the spot that’s reasonable.

        But they did – you got the upgrade you “deserved” when you pointed it out.

        Situation rectified.

        If that room was dirty too or they refused a switch then it’s appropriate.

        But in this case…I don’t know about the n word but I can say brat applies without reservation.

        Keeping that disgusting title up in you’re room isn’t sticking it to the big guy – it’s costing working people tips from guests who book away.

        Even $5 lost to a housekeeper is too much for this.

        Take a look at the broader consequences of how search impacts what young wrote well beyond the scope of this and how you’re hurting people.

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        • Wait wait wait, Greg. Do you live in such a bubble that you would only want to see Happy Reviews of nice places? Our job is to be independent and talk about good hotels AND bad hotels. This hotel should be ashamed of the conditions that their rooms are in, and if it takes a review from us to make the changes, then I’m all for it.

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          • You got one bad room – then moved to a great room. One person probably made a slip during the construction they started in August.

            The problem was resolved for you on the spot. And the hotel is renovating all the rooms in the historic area this year which will stop it from happening again.

            Think harder about those who are much less fortunate like the housekeeping staff. One room night less occupancy is one less tip for that staff.

            If this blog were simply a newsletter read once by readers, and that’s it – fine. But do a search ‘amway grand plaza review’ and you’ll see the ‘DISGUSTING’ headline there, months after the incident – for anyone searching about the hotel to see – and pass judgement without seeing the full facts.

            The issue is long gone from a cleanliness standpoint for you.

            You can easily change the ‘title’ tag of your post to remove ‘DISGUSTING’ so it doesn’t display that way in the search engine, but keep the review intact. Or tell Google not to index it, and just keep it for your readers.

            Your job is to consider the ethical implications of what you leave out on the internet well beyond its initial publication vs your own self promotion and clicks.

          • You seriously think housekeeping lives off of tips? If you’re concerned about their livelihood, you need to support unions who advocate for the improvement of their working conditions. Tips are for a job well done, for going the extra mile, not for disgusting, dirty rooms.

        • People subscribe to a blog such as this to learn, be entertained and to be better informed. The authors put themselves and their opinions out there to elicit conversations (and they appear to thoroughly enjoy what they do).
          Hilton needs to try harder, and Ben doesn’t need to quit sharing his opinions.

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        • Except no, the situation was NOT rectified. Jon and Ben were given a different room, yes, but there’s no proof that the dirty room was then thoroughly cleaned shortly thereafter. That would be a rectified situation. And given the condition the room was in when they first arrived, it’s safe to assume that empty rooms are not thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis when guests do not occupy them for periods of time.

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          • Indeed! If you check their TripAdvidor reviews, the problem has *obviously* not been addressed as each review is more revolting than the next. And there are pictures. EW.

  5. Regardless of the review, it is outrageous that a Hilton employee would post this on an external website. Hilton better come back with a response.

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    • Agreed! But I don’t think they will unfortunately 🙁

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  6. They’re just jealous of you.

    Was it and uncalled for behavior? Incredibly.

    But keep in mind, they’re trying to troll you to get a reaction.

    Besides Hilton possibly firing or reprimanding the rogue employee, and/or an apology, what do you hope to accomplish?

    Hilton giving you points for their possible employee’s behavior? If so, such expectations are not realistic.

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  7. I am really quite shocked by this. As a fellow blogger and fan, I do not see how complaining about mould is ever wrong. Hi wouldn’t allow it in my own home let alone in a hotel

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    • Thanks, Michele! ♥️ I know right? Makes me wonder how those complaining about my complaining live

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  8. If Hilton used this language and does not apologize, then this should live on forever. If the hotel was at first putting you in a disgusting room but later rectifued things that is simply the truth. As they fixed the problem it shouldn’t stop a reasonable traveler from booking there. I don’t overly mind a “tour” of a disgusting room on my way to an upgraded one, or the same one in clean status. And add bonus points and it is no big deal and not going to drive away customers like your overreacting readers suggest. Perhaps they are too wimpy to demand baseline performance from a hotel. The reality is hotel rooms are invisibly dirty (bacteria on phone remote etc) and I sanitize thos myself when possible. Mold filth, dirt, and the like is never acceptable. You really should block your snowflake critics. We subscribe to hear the truth. And Hilton had best apply not just for inapproriate language but for trying to stack trolling comments against you. Keep up the good work.

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    • Thanks, Neil! Glad to see I’m not the only one who expects a minimum level of cleanliness

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  9. If Hilton used this language and does not apologize, then this should live on forever. If the hotel was at first putting you in a disgusting room but later rectifued things that is simply the truth. As they fixed the problem it shouldn’t stop a reasonable traveler from booking there. I don’t overly mind a “tour” of a disgusting room on my way to an upgraded one, or the same one in clean status. And add bonus points and it is no big deal and not going to drive away customers like your overreacting readers suggest. Perhaps they are too wimpy to demand baseline performance from a hotel. The reality is hotel rooms are invisibly dirty (bacteria on phone remote etc) and I sanitize thos myself when possible. Mold filth, dirt, and the like is never acceptable. You really should block your snowflake critics. We subscribe to hear the truth. And Hilton had best apply not just for inapproriate language but for trying to stack trolling comments against you. Keep up the good work.

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  10. Just move on. It’s crappy but hardly worth the time and effort and ink you’re putting into this. Especially as it reads like you’re trying to get someone fired which isn’t cool.

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    • While you could have moved on without commenting, it’s literally my job to write reviews, both positive and negative. And while not interested in getting anyone fired, their performance should absolutely be evaluated based on the sub par job they did. Thanks!

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      • Thanks for the review, Ben. I travel for business on average eight months out of the year. It’s unfortunate, but the majority of housekeeping staff I come across (Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, etc.) are just trying to finish as quickly as possible and move on to the next room. I typically keep my same hotel room anywhere from three weeks to a year, depending upon my assignment. I try to meet the person assigned to clean my room so I can develop a relationship with them. This usually works to get my room adequately cleaned, but not always. Unfortunately, a healthy tip doesn’t always guarantee good service either, as proven out by my current hotel stay. My mom worked as a maid, and I always give housekeeping staff the benefit of the doubt. But poor service is inexcusable. Just do your job. If this is not what you want to do for a living, find something else to do. Reinvent yourself. I’ve had to do this is my career.

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        • Wow, that’s a long time away from home. I agree, especially on long stays tips and rapport can help, but we shouldn’t be ok with receiving a lower than acceptable service if we do not tip. There’s also the fact that a housekeeping supervisor should be checking the rooms before they’re released back to inventory, which in some cases is either not happening or the checks are not thorough enough 🤷‍♂️
          All in all, there was a break in the process and wherever it happened, it’s still inexcusable

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          • I wholeheartedly agree. BTW, I usually get to travel home weekly or at least every other week.

      • They need to be fired of their job was that bad!

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        • Not sure if fired, but someone has got to be made accountable for the crappy job they’re doing, for sure.

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  11. Just because I was curious, I looked at the tripadvisor ratings. If you focus on the 1 and 2 star (poor) ratings, you can see a recent pattern of disgusting housecleaning with similar issues you found. While the overall ratings are “high” this makes me think that there are many faked excellent ratings for this hotel from the same Hilton source you’ve encountered.

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  12. FYI Most black stuff you see in the corners of your tub/shower, or in the your fridge gasket are actually harmless MILDEW — NOT black mold. i don’t advocate this, but you could actually lick mildew with no ill health effect.

    Without getting into the mean-spirited tone of the debate, I do think there should still be such a thing in this world as making a mistake, apologizing for it, and making amends for it.

    Since you say you received re-accommodation in another room plus compensation, it would have been more becoming for you to have accepted the apology you were paid to accept, and leave it at that.

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    • Nope. The right amount of anything visibly growing, be it mildew or mold is zero. I was not paid to accept an apology, I was given the room I had already paid for and didn’t get. It’s called a service recovery and it does not preclude me from talking about it. This is not something you’re going to convince me to change my mind on. I work in the travel industry and I will continue to expect and demand what I know is reasonable. You feel free to continue to expect mildew. Thanks

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