Rated 3 out of 5 by TradeSpotting Fantastic setting but standards have really slipped at the Moana Surfrider
This was our third trip to the Moana Surfrider and, until now, it has been our favourite hotel and retreat. The Moana was actually my hotel of choice at the end of 2011 to celebrate my recovery from cancer. This particular visit was meant to provide our family with a chance to relax before heading home after a hectic 2 week trip around California. Sadly, though, we were quite disappointed by some of the changes we experienced at the Moana this time.
The first blemish appeared on check in but a number of others followed from that point on. The service level and standards we experienced during this stay at the Moana were a marked decline to that from our previous two stays and definitely not of a standard appropriate for a Westin hotel.
The problems / issues we encountered are noted below:
1. On check in we noticed the carpet in our room was still quite dirty with chips and crumbs etc and there was a large wet and fresh coffee stain.Housekeeping had always been a strong point for the Moana but not this time. I alerted housekeeping on day 2 and this was eventually addressed.
2. I noted the reduced amenity supplies in the bathroom: just shampoo, conditioner and body lotion supplied. No shower cap etc. which, in itself, is not a huge issue but still, at $600 per night, it was noticed. Smaller, 3 star hotels in the Mojave desert on our trip had offered more supplies than this.
3. The next issue we picked up on was at breakfast. I always choose the cereals and fruits from the continental menu. Offerings here previously had been, as one would expect from a 5 star hotel, Bircher muesli, poached and dried fruits, and yoghurt etc. This time I only had packet cereals to choose from. I don't find this acceptable for a Westin hotel. So, the following morning we ate cereal on our balcony, that we purchased from the ABC shop across the road for less than $3, whilst looking over the beach and up towards Diamond Head.
4. Another point we noted and were most disappointed with was the changed bar food menu and this was not a change for the better. The offerings were reduced in variety, fewer and of poorer quality and presentation than we were used to at the Moana. Previously we had chosen to spend many a pleasant evening dining in the Banyan tree courtyard and watching the sunsets. We tried a few bar food items but soon gave up and chose to dine at the 'Royal Hawaiian' for lunch on our last day instead.
There were some other issues we picked up on with some less than acceptable attitude and service from some wait and pool staff which just added to our overall disappointment.
I did present to the Concierge part way through our 4 night stay to inquire whether there had been any significant management change at the hotel. I found it hard to understand how such a broad based decline had evolved in just 18 months. She pressed me for my details and I reiterated I wasn't making a formal complaint but she still asked if it was 'ok' to pass these comments on to the manager. I agreed to her request and said I'd be happy to discuss my observations with them.
One might scoff and laugh at these 'first world' type problems here but when a hotel has a reputation and price point that it trades on then I believe that certain standards should be met. This is just simple business sense. The Moana Surfrider has fallen well short of its previous standards and of that expected by this category of Westin hotel. Prices have gone up about 20% since our last visit but service and standards have gone down by about 50%!
I believe that the Moana is still the most beautiful and grand building along Waikiki and best located for the beach, shops and restaurants. I would dearly love to return here again at some point in the future but I will have a hard time convincing my husband to pay these prices for this hotel again based on this service level.
July 14, 2013
Rated 1 out of 5 by savvygirl No Manager on staff at night...
I booked a stay with my starwood points last minute as I was not able to make the last connecting flight to Maui. When I arrived at the hotel 20 minutes after booking the front desk person (Grant) could not find my reservation even though I showed him on both my ipad and labtop the confirmation...he said he could not check me in as it was not in their hotel system and he was not a manager to override that and did not want to get into trouble the next morning by the manager for doing something he was not authorized to do. I called the corporate starwood number on my cellphone to see if there was a way the reservation could be pushed through and she asked to speak with Grant on my cellphone (he did not offer to call her direct or give her the direct number) who told her the same thing he could not do anything to override the system...she finally asked him to get his manager but unfortunately there was no manager on staff that night so he called the sister property across the street to have the manager come over since he was in charge of both properties and authorize my stay with my reward points. Unfortunately again after waiting over 45 minutes no manager came over so finally Pierre stepped in to help and said he would just book me a room on my credit card and by the time I check out the reservation should come through and it would all be taken care of in the morning. Unfortunately the room I was given was not clean and after bringing my luggage up to my room with huge disappointment I had to call down to Pierre to let him know and he said he would have a new room for me once I came down and he did. I finally got to my room 2 hours after arriving at the hotel and finally in bed in the room I originally booked online. After 5 hours of sleep I checked out of the hotel and ended up having to pay for the night with my credit card as the reservation never came through to the hotel. At least Pierre was still working and he assured me that I would be credited back my points that were never used and unfortunately again as of today (5 days later) I still have not been credited the points. I spoke with Cheryl from corporate customer service who was the most helpful out of everyone I encountered with the unfortunate experience and still she was unable to complete having my points credited due to Charolette the manager who said she needed to investigate this before crediting me the points. Charolette did finally contact me after investigating and apologized for all my troubles and was able to credit me the points back but I still have never received the points for my stay as I did ended up paying with my credit card. I have never been so frustrated and disappointed, however, I am so thankful that I only had to stay at that hotel for 1 night.
October 4, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by THawaii Buyer Beware: Even the Moana Surfrider has its warts
After several trips to the Moana Surfrider and excellent stays, we were very surprised and disappointed to have had a quite different experience on our last stay over the holidays. We were given a room in the 'historic' Banyan Wing which, one could believe, was very close to the original condition when the hotel was built in 1901. Sure, there was a Heavenly Bed and the Westin towels (no room for a Heavenly Shower, though), but this room was severely cramped, the shower was very tight and things were in general very worn (the window in the bathroom, an ancient sash window with chain(!) mechanism to make them open and close, would not even close all the way!). The walls were very thin, and on several occasions we clearly heard the person in the neighboring room having a great time talking to his smart phone and hearing it talk back to him – nice at 2:00 am!
Each day we inquired at the desk for a room change, but owing to the busy season, shortage of rooms in our ‘category’, and (I believe) the fact that we were using a lot of points for our stay, the staff – who I must say remained very supportive and friendly and helpful throughout – were unable to do anything for us until the last 2 days of our stay. They moved us to a spectacular room in the Tower Wing at no extra charge – what a difference this makes to an overall stay. We went from dreading coming back to our ‘cell’ to sleep each night, to feeling like we were having the experience we had expected all along at this hotel (and the kind of experience we had had on 3 previous stays).
Hey – we like the history and the location of the Moana Surfrider, it’s one of the best attractions of this hotel and the charm of ‘old Hawaii’. But, whether you’re shelling out $400+ or 16,000 point per night, you expect more in comfort than the ‘innovations’ Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weismuller experienced in 1927. A hotel of this price category and carrying the Westin name can’t have rooms like this and not expect some disappointed guests when they are unlucky enough to draw these rooms for their stay. Unsurprisingly, as the front desk finally was able to move us into the Tower Wing, the staff member mentioned to me archly “Wow, sir, you are REALLY going to like moving to THIS room…” Yes, they all seem to know a lemon for what it is. (And he was right – we loved the new room!)
One last thing: the Resort Charge of $25 was an unwelcome surprise for us checking in. This seems to be a grouping of a number of ‘throw-in’ services for the hotel or things they have had a hard time selling to their guests, that they’ve decided to bundle into 1 mandatory fee for everyone, claiming that guest feedback has indicated that this would be a ‘great value’. Maybe – but for us, we literally did not use anything on the list – after several discussions where I was told firmly that the fee would not be waived, we did use wifi internet in the room for the heck of it, since we were paying for 5 nights of it anyway – but we would not have spent our time overlooking Waikiki Beach playing on the internet otherwise. Seems pretty clearly like a pure profit grab by the hotel with a whole bunch of items that are sunk cost to them – and not much value to the guests. It’s not a deterrent from staying at the hotel – but it’s a bit of an irritant and rubs me the wrong way as a guest.
I guess we’ll try – warily, mind you – the Moana Surfrider again – but not if our only option is being consigned to the ‘historic’ Banyan Wing again. It’s a question of two different vacations – really painful versus living the dream – and it’s not worth the flights and expense to be disappointed. So as in many things – buyer beware! – make sure you know where in the hotel you’re staying, and you should be fine!
January 3, 2013