Oct302010

This week in hotels – a wedding, a brothel and a mistake or two

Maldives Wedding Bell Blues, Ireland’s (formerly the Hilton) Limerick Hotel Brothel Bust and St. Regis Mexico City $20 Mistake Rate

Maldives Wedding Bell Blues

This story just makes me sad. Anyone who has traveled to a region where the people speak a language you don’t understand has likely had the feeling of being the fool. This unfortunate Swiss couple renewed their wedding vows with a local ceremony at the high-priced Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort, Maldives.

The wedding ceremony You Tube video with English subtitles has gone viral as the officiant of the ceremony mocks and insults the wedding couple in the local dialect Dhivehi. The amazing part to me is the number of other local people listening to the ceremony who stand by saying nothing.

The video is 9 minutes and includes subtitles in English for offensive language by the officiant. Without subtitles you would not have a clue that anything is out of the ordinary. The story even made it to Huffington Post yesterday.

I imagine the officiant of the ceremony will spend time in jail. There could be a backlash effect for Maldives tourism. The President of the country even addressed the issue of the YouTube video in his weekly radio address.

The Vilu Reef Maldives Resort itself receives great reviews on TripAdvisor and these are reviews posted before the story broke. Rates currently posted for 2011 start at US$230 per night for a Garden Villa and $950 per night for the Presidential Water Suite accommodating four people.

Hotel in Limerick Brothel Bust (IrishCentral.com October 23, 2010 story)

The IrishCentral.com story from October 23, 2010 states this incident happened at the Hilton Limerick, however, this property went independent as the Strand Hotel Limerick in September 2008 and has actually not been associated with Hilton Hotels in over two years.

Delving into this story a little deeper I find the actual brothel event occurred in July 2008. So why is there a confusing IrishCentral.com story with 16 comments from the past week?

Bad reporting.

The truly fascinating discovery I made with this brothel story is a paper discussing the rationale for why the Strand Hotel Limerick decided Hilton branding was not in its best interest in the decision to go as a hotel independent in Limerick, Ireland. Local branding seemed more relevant to this hotel than global name recognition. The removal of the Hilton brand occurred just two months after this brothel story broke in July 2008.

Strand Hotel Limerick website.

 

St. Regis Mexico City $20 Mistake Rate

October 22 at 4:22 PST (California Time), there was a post on FlyerTalk for $20 per night room rates at the St. Regis Mexico City. Dates throughout 2011 were available at the $20 room rate.

This hotel normally publishes rates in the $300 to $400 per night range.

In less than two hours this deal was gone and the rate mistake was fixed. Who knows how many hundreds of nights were booked?

The $20 rate switched to minimum rates around $379 per night.

The St. Regis responded to the lucky $20 guests with an email later that day. The hotel agreed to honor one night at $20 (+19% tax), but additional nights would be $189 per night plus 19% tax. Potential guests were given until October 27 to accept or reject the offer.

Starwood Lurker even clarified the issue with a statement that the St. Regis would honor the first night at $20 and additional nights at $189 in the Grand Deluxe room category  originally booked with breakfast included at the hotel restaurant.

Quite a reasonable outcome. I missed this deal by about 30 minutes.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. First, it was good to meet you at the ORD DO. We had breakfast on Sunday morning.

    Second, in regards to the St. Regis, I was able to book 3 nights and immediately booked a reward ticket to use those nights. The manager of the hotel honored my rate of $20/night because I sent proof that I had already booked my airfare. Might work for others as well.

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