Apparently “Club Room” Doesn’t Mean What I Think It Does

When you book a club room at a hotel, do you assume that the hotel has a club lounge?

This is the first time I’ve been confused about what constitutes a “club” room, and I’m curious if there are other hotels out there which market rooms similarly. I’m staying at Le Méridien Suvarnabhumi near Bangkok, for my quick stay in Thailand between my Oman Air flights. It’s close to the airport, so seemed the most practical (well, in theory it’s closer to the airport, but when your driver takes you two thirds of the way to Le Meridien Bangkok before you realize he’s going to the wrong place, not so much…).

I actually paid for a club suite, since at the time of booking it was the same price as the cheapest available room (~$140).

Le-Meridien-BKK-2

This hotel sells club rooms, which makes sense, since many Le Meridien properties have club lounges.

Le-Meridien-Club-Room

Well, upon arriving at Le Meridien I was informed I was entitled to complimentary breakfast in the restaurant, free coffee and soft drinks at the hotel’s bar during the day, and two drinks at the hotel’s bar in the evening.

Le-Meridien-Club-Room

As it turns out, the hotel doesn’t actually have a club lounge. And it’s not that it’s temporarily closed or under renovation or under construction. Instead they simply don’t have one. Oddly the welcome letter referred to these benefits being “currently offered at Latitude,” though based on what I was told it’s a permanent arrangement.

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Latitude Bar Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi

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Complimentary coffee at Latitude Bar Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi

In fairness, in looking at the hotel’s description of club rooms, there’s no mention of a lounge, so it’s not false advertising, aside from the things people may mentally associate with a club room:

Le Méridien Club Rooms are located on higher floors, revealing panoramic views of the golf course.

Le Méridien Club Rooms include additional gestures such as complimentary pressing of two garments per stay, late checkout, and complimentary buffet breakfast in Latest Recipe.

  • 517 Square Feet / 48 Square Meters
  • Complimentary Late Checkout
  • Complimentary Laundering + Pressing of Two Garments Per Stay
  • Golf Course View
  • Welcome Amenity
  • Complimentary Local Calls
  • Higher Floor Location
  • Cinq Mondes Bath Amenities
  • Complimentary Buffet Breakfast

This post isn’t meant to be a complaint, as I’m fine with the setup they have. I do like having a club lounge so I have a “space” where I can work during the day and grab as much bottled water as I want, but I also don’t mind working from Latitude for much of the day either. My one complaint would be that service at Latitude was horrible, both in terms of attentiveness and friendliness, which I find to be rare in Thailand. I felt like I was inconveniencing them by being a Platinum guest and choosing to stay at the hotel.

Le-Meridien-BKK-1
Breakfast at Latest Recipe Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi

It’s just that this is the first time I’ve stayed at a hotel which markets club rooms, without the intention of ever offering a club.

Am I the only one who has been assuming all along that “club rooms” give you access to some sort of a club? Anyone know of another hotel which markets club rooms but doesn’t actually have a club lounge?

Comments

  1. I have been at the hotel in August 2015. At this time they told me that the Club Lounge is not ready yet, however the Management is dicussing to completely cancel the opening of the Lounge. It seems that it happened like this.

    You mentioned that only 2 Drinks in the evening are complimentary? This is new.

  2. @ Jay — They do offer the drinks and buffet breakfast, though I don’t believe they market any rooms as club rooms.

  3. @ Steffen — Yep, just two drinks, and no more canapes (even though the sheet specifically says otherwise).

  4. Starwood should internally shame this property. The choice marketing words describing the room are clearly misleading. They sold you a club room and the “club” simply does not exist. Sounds more like a Bangkok bait & switch than a Le Meridien. Along with canapés, goodwill starpoints are due.

    JRL

  5. The other LM hotel in BKK does nearly the same thing, though they cordon off part of the restaurant in the early evening for club guests (I can’t remember if they use the term “club.”) Pro tip: skip the canapes on offer. More specifically, skip the California rolls. Two friends and I became violently ill within the food poisoning window (this was the only common thing we’d consumed). Still rather like the hotel, so no hard feelings.

  6. I always assume that Club Rooms are just usually nicer rooms on a higher floor. I never assume that a lounge accompanies them.

  7. I’ve always stayed at the InterContinental in Bangkok. Incredible club room and lounge. 365° panoramic view, wonderful food that changes daily, fantastic service. One of my favorite places. This looks like a cheap rip-off. Shameful.

  8. @ ORD Flyer – A larger/better room on higher floors would be a superior or executive room, though plenty of hotels call their basic rooms “superior” (go figure.) A club room should mean guests have access to some part of the hotel set aside with seating and drinks and snacks available without asking. Otherwise, why bother calling it a club room?

  9. Would definitely interpret a ‘club room’ to have access to a club/executive lounge albeit I wouldn’t necessarily leave it to chance to find out. I do think the wording/naming of the rooms appears to be slightly predatory or in bad faith however – they could easily have just called the rooms ‘superior’ or along those lines. Incidentally, I most recently utilised fantastic club lounge facilities at the Sofitel So in Bangkok, a sub-brand of Sofitel & thought it was fabulous – very funky! You should check it out when you next stay in Bangkok.

  10. Le Club Accor. Pretty disappointed with their Platinum status benefits and that disappointment is plastered all over flyer talk and the like for Australian hotels and in particular, Sofitels that exclude club lounge access to platinum status members!! Cancelled a paid stay to Sofitel for a nine nights points stay at Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise instead for this very reason.

  11. Same as LM on Surawong Rd and similar to Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit: neither of of properties has a longe/club but makes alternative arrangements to offer those ‘club’ benefits. Some like it, some don’t.
    This property looks nice, but expensive.

  12. @ORD FLYER: Club rooms are just higher floor? Sorry, can not agree. If you do, then let me sell some nice waterfront property. (actually fronts the local sewer plant)

  13. This hotel actually has a club lounge which is nothing short of fabulous – The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans. Club suites are pricey, club rooms less, but they do wonderful things. Breakfast is served in the morning, afternoon tea on weekends, evenings there is a great open bar and food that can easily be dinner, after that they serve desserts, brandy and after dinner drinks. A great hotel.

  14. I once stayed in a hotel near Hyde park in London the Saturday night before Xmas, can’t remember the name but it was part of a small independent, London only chain.

    On their website the standard room was reduced from something like £350 to £70. When I checked in they told me they’d upgraded me to a “club” room. I would have hated to see how small the standard room would have been as the double bed barely fitted in it. Definitely no lounge in the hotel as well. Although what do you expect for that sort of money in central London? Was a perfectly pleasant place to stay however, although certainly not at the supposed “full” price.

  15. Hi Ben, greetings from the Starwood Social Media team. Allow us to express our appreciation for taking the time to provide your comments regarding the recent experience at our properties.

    We are particularly concerned over the level of service you have received at Latitude 13º 39’ during your stay. As such, may we seek your permission to share this with the management at the resort? At the same time, they may be connecting with you to obtain more details on your feedback.

    Thank you.
    Thyetus Lee | Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Customer Contact Centre (AP) Pte Ltd

  16. I’ve encountered the opposite problem.

    Booked a club room at a London hotel and at check in was told there was no club access (apparently that required a different room type, naturally more expensive). I complained that it was misleading. Thanks to my status they granted me club access as a “one time exception”.

  17. I wish I had read this post sooner. I have stayed at Le Meridien Suvarnabuhmi three times and all of the stays have been outstanding. My stays differ from Ben’s in many respects.

    The same $140 price for the least expensive room and a “club” room seems odd. I’ve never paid more than $108/night and often see prices below $100/night for this hotel when searching Starwood properties in Bangkok. If Ben was staying over Chinese New Year that might explain the high cost for the cheapest available room. As a SPG Lifetime Platinum, I’ve always been upgraded to a Grand Suite after booking the least expensive rate without using Suite Night Awards.

    This is a new hotel and is unknown to many taxi drivers. The hotel specifically warns about that in an email. It even provides a map that it suggests guests print and provide to the driver. The Le Meridien Suvarnabuhmi is located inside a gated and guarded residential complex next to a very nice Nick Faldo designed golf course. There are no other hotels or restaurants near it. So almost all taxi drivers are totally unfamiliar with this area. If Ben’s taxi went to the wrong hotel, I don’t think you can blame Le Meridien Suvarnabuhmi.

    The first time I stayed at this hotel it was to be near the airport for an early morning flight and also to check out the golf facilities. When I checked in the first time all of the hotel facilities had not been finished. They explained that there was no lounge presently but that a space had been designated for one to be added later. So I think that there were plans for one when it was built, but those plans later changed for some reason.

    Every time I’ve stayed there I have enjoyed very good service during evening cocktails. I’d say the attendants were as friendly as attendants at other club lounges. I usually sit at the front of the room near the bar where the two attendants work. I recall no limit on the canapes. Having an actual room with a sign on the door that says “Club Lounge” was and is not an issue for me as long as I get the benefits that would be provided if such a room existed. To me, it is the benefits that are important, not a brick and mortar space. However, I can see Ben’s confusion given the fact that he booked a “club” room.

    The best thing about this hotel I find is being next to the golf course. It is a very short walk from the front of the hotel to the clubhouse. This the first and only place where I played night golf. It was fantastic. It is cooler, and I actually see the ball better at night. It is a very nice resort type course although Faldo put in a lot of water hazards. Warning: there is no range. The caddies, local Thai women 20 – 40 years old, are very good at their job. Some have been working there for more than 10 years. They know the course and the greens. The caddies make the course much more enjoyable for those who are playing it for the first time. The lights go off around 11pm. When the lights are on they do not intrude into the hotel rooms. In fact they provide picturesque views of the golf course.

    The only complaint I have about this hotel is its isolation. Being in a gated and guarded community means not only that taxi drivers don’t know where the hotel is but there are no nearby restaurants or shopping — the closest being around 10 – 15 minutes away by taxi. Also, accessing the community seems to require a special permit. So even if a taxi driver finds the entrance to the community, the guards may not let the taxi enter without explicit permission from the hotel.

  18. I’ve stayed at Inter-Con Samui and have to pay for Club Benefits (that is only available if you get a suite and above type of ‘rooms’), and likewise, no dedicated lounge at all. The benefits were stated in a letter like yours; afternoon tea and cocktails at various F&B outlets scattered in the resort.

    Will I pay for it again? Never ever. But I did get a free upgrade from my suite to a villa, so maybe that’s a good consolation?

  19. Mich wuerde interesieren was das Starwood social media team vom GM hoert. I hatte dort die selben Erfahrungen und habe die dem Hotel auch schon mitgeteilt. Thanks for sharing Ben.

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