IHG vs. InterContinental Osaka – Why IHG Service Sucks

Before anyone starts reacting immediately to this post, the staff at the InterContinental Osaka are wonderful beyond belief. This is a post for IHG’s customer service and how crappy their Twitter service is.

This is our third night here, and as part of the crazy nice Cathay Pacific package we booked so we could get business class seats, we were in a deluxe (entry level) room at the InterContinental for the first two nights. Unfortunately, due to the booking systems all we could book was a ~HK$6,500 suite for the other three nights.

The entry level room was amazing, way past my expectations.

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InterContinental Osaka Deluxe Room

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InterContinental Osaka Deluxe Room Bathtub

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InterContinental Osaka Deluxe Room Bathtub

Yesterday was the switcharound day from room to suite, and we were expecting fireworks. We left our luggage in the room as instructed, went out and played with some deer at Nara Park

We found two problems: the suite felt really cramped, especially compared to the original room, and there was no club access (club rooms and suites only – we were a “residence”, their excuse was), which we weren’t expecting for the price we paid.

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InterContinental Osaka Two Bedroom Superior Residence Living Room

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InterContinental Osaka Two Bedroom Superior Residence Bedroom

As the InterContinental Osaka is rated the best hotel in Osaka from TripAdvisor (which I don’t usually take lightly), my dad took up the first issue with the hotel, and I took up the second issue with IHG.

1. The hotel does wonders with the booking

We went down to the bottom, and upon asking how our suite was, my dad said that it wasn’t spacious enough, especially coming from one of the best entry-level rooms that I’ve seen anywhere. For an expensive country like Japan, the deluxe room was just “WOW”, and the suite was rather disappointing.

The lady at the front desk first asked if we wanted to switch back to our original room, but because of my sister, we declined (she just likes to run around, so we didn’t want to disappoint her).

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InterContinental Osaka Lobby

We asked for any bigger rooms, and she offered the Deluxe Residence for JPY 15,000 per night, then after some hesitation offered it to us for JPY 8,000 per night and allowed us to have a look at one of the rooms. She explained that our room would be a smoking room but the smoke would be cleared before we entered, at the cost of a few more hours (we would be out anyway, so this didn’t affect us).

Even if I were to pay the JPY 8,000 difference (which I could, but it would’ve cut my allowance this week by a quarter), I would have done it – changing to the deluxe residence was beyond a no-brainer.

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InterContinental Osaka Two Bedroom Deluxe Residence Living Room

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InterContinental Osaka Two Bedroom Deluxe Residence Entryway

It wasn’t as glam as the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore’s One Bedroom Millenia Suite – we still liked that much better – but this definitely wasn’t too bad, even for my dad’s standards. Thanks to the person at the front desk – you helped immensely.

Disappointing IHG customer service

While I wasn’t expecting the offer for a bigger room at a reduced price, by asking IHG for lounge access I kind of was internally expecting at least an explanation. I mean, if suites have access, I’m not sure why residence suites wouldn’t. Or, in Jason’s words, puh-lease.

Through DM, I asked,

Hello from the InterContinental Osaka. We are in your Superior Residence suite and very disappointed that our rate didn’t earn us club access for our stay.

Through a public reply, IHG replied,

I DM’ed them my confirmation number, thinking that this would lead me somewhere. Unfortunately, all they said was:

Really? I booked one of the highest level rooms, and that’s what you give me in terms of explanation? I wasn’t happy with that, so I said:

IHG tried to cover up, which didn’t work:

Right at this point, my mother told me about the suite dilemma and how nicely the hotel resolved it, so I decided to go on a tangent and thank the hotel desk for helping us.

IHG ruined the pride with this:

Really? I felt like I was talking to a brick wall, and not IHG service. We ended on the note that club lounge access was at the discretion of the hotel, as it went on a bit longer than that.

Bottom Line

This isn’t to prove that club lounge access should be available to suites – I’ve debated that before with the Sheraton Macao. This is to prove that some hotel chains really need to chime in on an effort to help. The InterContinental Osaka was helpful, friendly and just amazing, while IHG Service was just lazy, indifferent and unhelpful.

I’d continue to stay at IHG properties, but now I know exactly how much their online Twitter service helps.

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