I'm sorry, this is a little out of chronological order...
Over President's Weekend my husband and I went to Chicago. We got a wonderful rate on a suite at a gorgeous new hotel, Public. It's a new Ian Schraeger and the service is just so incredibly bad, that... well, I really have no words but they are giving us the same suite for free when we go over Memorial Day Weekend (which we are only going because we have a free room).
I left a message for the concierge who took three days and much insisting on my part to call me back and when he finally did he didn't apologize or explain why he never called. From talking to the lovely Front Desk Manager who acted as my concierge, I already knew the concierge was off on Monday's and Tuesday's, but he never offered any explanations. When I asked him why there was no out of office message on his phone saying that, his answer was a very nasty, "that's against company policy". Wouldn't the company policy be to have good customer service and to manage expectations? I guess not.
We had lunch with friend at the hotel's restaurant, The Pump Room, which was so wonderful, including the service, that we wanted to go back for dinner, even though we had reservations already for Sunday night. They were very sweet and squeezed us in. I had asked that front desk manager, weeks before if we could and should dress up for the restaurant and she said we could wear anything from an evening gown to a t-shirt but that jeans and a jacket was the popular look. She was so OFF!!! Almost all the women were in cocktail dresses exccept me. I AM NEVER UNDER DRESSED! EVER!!!!!!!!!! I'm always the most dressed up person in the room and that is just how I like it. I was uncomfortable and I was angry-but the restaurant was just as wonderful at dinner!
Saturday morning we asked for directions to The Chicago History Museum, which we were given but they were also "off". If we didn't ask for directions from a passing stranger we would still be walking around that lake!!! We went to Chicago because there was an exhibit there I wanted to see, Charles James. He was an important designer through the 40's and 50's, American, educated in England, and alternating his shows between Paris and New York every few seasons. The museum did a lovely job. The curators did CT scans of each piece and became so fascinated with the construction they found that they created muslins to display each section so that the visiting public could see and understand the construction. Each piece's ID card had a photo of the Chicago society matron in her dress and it told each dress' story. My only complaint was that the room wasn't big enough so there was not enough to see! :)
Charles James holds a special place in my heart as in 1983 there was an hisotrically improtant exhibit of his work at the Brooklyn Museum. I was in college then, Pratt Institute for Fashion Merchandising and a group of my friends and I were asked to be docents for the opening night party. They took over the Number 4, a NYC subway train, painted it white, inside and out, had a cocktail party at Grand Central, got everyone on board and went to the Brooklyn Museum (the 4 stops right outside the front door). We poured champagne for the guests before our docent duties began. Who were the guests you might ask??? Perry Ellis, Mary McFadden, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera to name just a few. Betsy Bloomingdale and CZ Guest were just a few of the society ladies who were on that train!!! And Perry Ellis told my friend Larry he liked his look!!! Larry was wearing a vintage shawl collared tuxedo jacket with woolen plaid pants, Converse high tops, and had a dinner napkin in his pocket instead of pocket square. Sorry, I had on a simple Ralph Lauren evening gown-black silk cut on the bias, one shoulder, not nearly as quirky. It was quite a highlight of my life, that night!!
We took a taxi back to the hotel, dropped off our gift store purchaces and then wandered off to Michigan Avenue. We had a tres charmant lunch and then went looking for cocktail clothes for our Sunday night dinner at The Pump Room. We found beautiful things at H&M as we always do! We went to See, our favorite eyeglasses store and discovered the joys of Forever 21. We went back to the hotel and changed for our dinner at Roka Akor, same owners as the Roka we loved in London a few weeks before!!!
We left the hotel at about 8:45 and saw a couple getting out of a taxi, waited till they go out and started to get in. Some horrible blonde man in an over coat came running up to me, shoved me over and slammed closed the door to the taxi, saying, "ma'am there is a clear taxi line here and I expect you to use it!" I came out of my shock and turned around. I asked him, with a long sweep of my arm, where is a clear taxi line?? And, I said, "I really don't care what you expect, anyway, we are guests here and you work here-let's decide who gets to tell whom what to do, shall we'? By this time my wonderful husband commandeered us a taxi across the street and off we went. We had a marvelous time, the awful concierge had decided to try to make it up to us, and he made the reservation for us. When we got there they knew we were "his" and greeted us by name! He had also included an appetizer for us, though to be honest, I don't like that he chose it, even if we were at a Japanese restuarant, not everyone eats sushi! But he tried and I applaud that.
Getting back to into the hotel was an equally horribly ordeal. We got our of our taxi and walked to the front door where we were again, bodily stoppped from going in and our room keys rudely DEMANDED. I argued a bit and finally gave in and showed the key. We stomped over to the front desk and demanded the hotel manager-I really had had quite enough of this horrible service by this point. They kept treating us like criminals not like guests of a glam boutique hotel. Guess who was the night manager? They fool who wouldn't let us in. He did beg us to let him explain. I said he could but at the same time nothing he could say would make me change my mind or feel better. They restaurant was so "hot" that there were so many people waiting, they had to ask for room keys so that bar guests wouldn't sneak in. I said that I could think of many better systems for that than the one they were using, that their restaurant capacity problems were not my problem. I turned back back to the front desk and insisted they have a real manager call me in the morning and swept us upstairs. Livid at this point.
Sunday we had a lovely day wandering round and a marvelous dinner again. Of course the manager didn't call. We went home on Monday and he called a little while after we got home. I had calmed down by this point and offered my frutstrations with all the serivce and made suggestions on how they could handle that hotness of the restaurant. He knew how to offer correct serivce and promised changes and offered us the free suite. When we get there in May we'll invite friends in for breakfast! I don't expect much but it's a free suite and then I will be done with the place for a long time, nor will I recommend it.