Ah, the Andaz Singapore. As much as I enjoyed my stay in early October, the hotel has sadly been on a steady downwards trajectory ever since then. Service standards, cleanliness and breakfast have all slipped, and at the current prices, it certainly wouldn’t be on my recommended list.
Therefore, it seems rather par for the course that the Andaz has just introduced a new rate which is so absurd, it’s almost funny.
Andaz Singapore’s new “room-only” rate
The Andaz Singapore is now selling a room-only rate on Klook that prices at a flat S$240 nett throughout December 2020.
“Room-only?” you say. “Fair enough. I’ll just wander around the area for breakfast, come back to the hotel and relax at the pool or workout at the gym.”
Well no, you won’t. Click on the “View all” button on the right of the screen, and the following notice pops up.
In case you can’t see that, it says:
**Kindly note that this package is strictly Room ONLY and does not come with Breakfast and SGD100 F&B Dining Credits. Do note that due to the swimming pool and gym access being fully booked for the month of December, this package will not be provided (sic) both swimming pool and gym access.
So if you book this package, you won’t be allowed to use the swimming pool and gym in the hotel. I have no idea what enforcement will look like in practice, but since pool slots need to be booked in advance and the gym is accessed with a special keycard drawn from the front desk, it’s certainly possible.
But such a move is unprecedented for a luxury hotel, and I can already foresee the issues arising from this. The caveat is hidden away in the “View all” section, and while it’s of course the customer’s responsibility to read all the fine print, you can bet that people will miss this. After all, when you see a “room-only” rate, most will (rightly) assume it just means you don’t get breakfast or hotel credits. That’s the only logical way of interpreting this, really.
So imagine their surprise (and incredulity) when they get turned away from the pool or gym, or how awkward the conversation will be at the front desk when they’re told “oh by the way, you do know your rate doesn’t come with pool and gym access right?” I already feel sorry for the frontline staff who will likely have to bear the brunt of customers’ frustrations.
It’s not even true
But wait. If the pool and gym are already full, there’s nothing that can be done right? That’s what the wording on Klook seems to suggest (emphasis mine):
Do note that due to the swimming pool and gym access being fully booked for the month of December, this package will not be provided (sic) both swimming pool and gym access.
Here’s the thing though- it’s not true at all.
First of all, Andaz Singapore only allows pool bookings to be made within 72 hours of arrival, and even if they bend that rule occasionally, there’s no way they’re letting everyone make bookings willy-nilly up till 31 December.
Second, Andaz’s own pool booking system says otherwise. A few clicks and you’ll see there are indeed slots available over the next 3 days- not ideal timings for sure, but they definitely exist.
Third, the rest of Klook’s packages for December don’t mention the “no pool” restriction (nor does Andaz’s official website). You’d think that if the pool were truly off limits to all new bookings for December, they’d be highlighting that fact across the board. Instead, the verbiage for other packages merely mentions that guests should make bookings in advance.
Learn more about Andaz Singapore’s Pre-Arrival Information and secure your F&B Dining and Pool Reservations in advance before your stay.
The link sends you to a PDF file, where you’ll find information on how to make a pool booking. Again, nowhere does it mention the pool is full for December.
So all I can surmise is that Andaz is testing a new rate that’s truly “room-only”, perhaps seeing whether guests will accept this. It’s kind of like Ryanair floating that “1 Euro to use the toilet” idea, only that never happened, while this is very much real.
Of course it’s the hotel’s prerogative to experiment, but I wish they’d be upfront about it and not try to hide behind a phony “the pool is fully booked” excuse. Furthermore, if the Andaz is offering this rate due to concerns about overcrowding, isn’t it a sign they should perhaps stop selling additional rooms for the period in the interest of overall guest experience? I mean, I don’t even want to think of what breakfast will be like during December, much less the queues for check-in.
As I mentioned at the start, the Andaz Singapore experience has lost a lot of its magic as it’s struggled to cope with staycation demand. Guests are reporting long waits at check-in, bugs in their phone (quite literally), rubbish in their drawers, toenail clippings on the floor, dust on the blinds, and just all sorts of cleanliness issues in general. I don’t see how cramming in more people is going to resolve this, when the staff and facilities are maxed out as it is.
While unbundling may be the direction the aviation industry is headed in, it hasn’t yet happened with hotels, and even if it did you’d think it’d be the budget ones taking the initiative and not a 5-Star property. If the Andaz Singapore can’t give every guest facilities access, it surely suggests they’re exceeding the occupancy rate that allows them to deliver an experience commensurate with their positioning.
I’m also none too impressed by the fake “fully booked” excuse. If you’re creating a lite product, just be upfront about it and make sure the disclosures are highly visible. Don’t try to mislead customers; it never ends well.
On the whole this move smacks of short-termism, given how certain I am there’ll be at least a handful of people caught out by this- hardly the way to get repeat customers.
What next, stairs-only packages?