By William Wolf


There are complaints galore about hotels. But this is a situation in which a hotel did the right thing to make up for an unfortunate mix-up, and the sales manager deserves special applause for his actions. Someone who works in the hospitality industry once remarked to me that it isn’t what you do when things go right that counts, but what you do when things go wrong. Consider the following situation.

During an August trip to Mallorca, my wife, Lillian, and I arrived near noon at the beautifully situated Hospes Maricel Hotel along the coast not far from Palma. We were greeted in the lobby by a woman who looked quizzically at us when we said we had a reservation. “Do you have your confirmation?” she asked. I showed her the confirming e-mail and she disappeared for quite a while into an office. I lost patience and asked at the desk what was happening.

Finally the sales manager, Juan Segura, with whom our arrangements had been made, came out and apologized repeatedly. He was beside himself with regret. He explained that there had been a mix-up with our reservation. We were frustrated, angry and quite suspicious at first. Had they simply given our room away? But our suspicion abated when Mr. Segura showed us the e-mail paper trail. A number had been wrong in my credit card confirmation, and the hotel e-mailed me to correct it but made a mistake in my e-mail address, which resulted in its rejection. I protested: when I send an e-mail with a wrong address and it is returned I look for right one. Someone in the office failed to do that, and as a result our reservation was cancelled.

The problem that we and Mr. Segura faced was that there were no rooms available—none at all—with no one leaving the hotel. The double room with a sea view that had been promised could not be delivered. No possible upgrade, no anything. We looked at the great view and the beautiful pool set above the picturesque rocks, and we surveyed the hotel with its contemporary, gracious look. We were very disappointed.

At that point, Mr. Segura offered a solution. While we had been waiting, he had already arranged for us to stay in the five-star Castillo Hotel Son Vida, built around the remains of an old tower in the hills above Palma. Furthermore, he said he had arranged it so that there would be no room charge for the three nights we had booked, and all we would be responsible for was whatever we consumed in the way of food and beverages. We were still somewhat skeptical.

But Mr. Segura, who previously had worked at the Castillo Son Vida, personally drove us there, and we had a pleasant and informative chat along the way as he pointed out the highlights of the area, including the golf course to which Castillo Son Vida guests had access. On arrival one could immediately sense the hotel’s quality and grandeur, and Mr. Segura gave us a tour around the premises, showing us the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the main restaurant, the various public rooms and the huge terrace with its spectacular views. It turned out that our large, well-appointed room even had a second bath.

During our stay we dined on good food in a pleasant atmosphere, got to meet some interesting people, and from our strategic location, took a short taxi ride into Palma to explore the city and visit the renowned cathedral. The weather was pleasant, and we thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected experience.

The goodwill left by the way Mr. Segura handled the problem still resonates, and if we ever get back to Mallorca, we would certainly want to stay at the Hospes Maricel, and have been recommending the Maricel to others. So, a salute to the Maricel, which has left us with good vibes even though we never got the chance to experience its facilities, only the memorable hospitality of a manager committed to acting honorably.


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