PDA

View Full Version : GF Review of Our Frances Stay on the Gold Plan


mousebrat
09-10-2004, 10:29 PM
We got back from the GF Monday night after an unexpectedly extended stay at the GF. This is still a beautiful hotel with the most comfortable beds we've slept in at any hotel. However, we did notice that some things had slipped:

Maintenance

Something that was disappointing to us was the way they have patched the carpet with pieces that don't exactly match. In other places, the carpet was stained so badly that I would be embarrassed if that were in my home. The room was great. Our only problem there was with the hairdryer. It fizzled after only a few seconds. I called housekeeping and they brought a hand-held up.

Lobby Areas

The GF used to have fresh flower arrangements in the lobby of each building. That has been discontinued. HOWEVER, they do have coffee service in the mornings from 6:30 to 8:00 (and not a minute later). That was a pleasant surprise, but be there by 8:00, sharp!

Check-in

When we arrived at 1:15 our room was not ready. That was fine since they aren't supposed to be ready until 3:00. So, off we went to eat lunch after checking in. The front desk experience was okay - the CM seemed a little short with me. Anyways, when we came back to load our room up around 3:15, the room still was not ready! I spoke with a very helpful lady at the concierge desk who inquired about the problem and got us in to a different room that was ready. The only problem with that is we had 4:00 parasailing reservations and this took far longer than expected. (BTW, the trip down was AWFUL and we were delayed every step of the way.)

Landscaping

We have seen another post complaining about the landscaping. COME ON, they had just been through Charley - it wasn't going to be pristing. They have larger landscaping issues (like downed trees).

Restaurants

More in a post on the restaurant board, but we were disappointed with the hurricane special buffet at 1900 Park Fare (the regular breakfast buffet was not that great either).

Gasparilla Grill

The first night we were there, we went by Gasparilla to see about getting a length-of-stay mug. The last time we were at the GF, the mugs were at Gasparilla, so we assumed they would be there again. When I asked the lady at the register (after standing in line), she acted like I was crazy. Finally, she told me that what I was looking for was in the private pantry in the room. There was no mention of the impending closing of Gasparilla. We went to the room, got the mug and headed back. The next day when I went to get a refill, there was a sign on the door saying Gasparilla would be closed for refurbishment! What! I just purchased this $11 mug and can't get the refills??? I went to the front desk and was met with a certain amount of indignation. I explained that if anybody had said anything about the closing, I never would have bought the mug. The CM explained that I could get drinks at Summerhouse until 10:00. That wasn't good enough - they are giving out a can when you present your mug and they are on the other end of the property. I was paying for 24 hour access and fountain drinks and the Summerhouse alternative was not cutting it. After some arguing, the CM checked with a manager and I was refunded the price of the mug.

Hurricane Frances

By the time it became apparent that Frances would hit, there was no way of getting out of Orlando. I explained to the front desk that we would be transferring to AKL on Saturday the 4th. As of Wednesday, I was told that would not happen and that I should prepare to ride out the storm at the GF. I explained that one reason for transferring was the rate I would be paying at AKL. I was told that GF would honor the AKL rate and there wouldn't be a problem. On Thursday, as the storm had slowed, I asked a different CM and was told we would be transferring. Finally, on Friday at 9:00 pm the word had come down that transportation would be closed on Saturday. Soooo, I asked again. This time I was told that we were transferring and that we would have to at the front desk at 5:00 AM! to transfer via van. Just when did they plan on telling us that??? I was told my other option was to stay at the GF for $249 a night. That did not settle well as I would be paying $109 at AKL. Finally, after another hour long confrontation we were told that we could stay at the AKL rate. Apparently that had to be cleared through the general manager of the hotel. I know this was a hurricane, but come on. They knew what they were going to do and had just failed to adequately communicate that to the people actually having guest contact - very frustrating.

Where we were at, Frances was not so bad. We never lost power or anything like that. In fact, it was much like a bad storm here in the Texas panhandle, it just lasted a lot longer. There were box lunches and drinks available in the lobby of the building for a very reasonable price. Drinks were $1 and the meals were $5. People tried to make the best of the situation. We did not have too many problems with restless kids like I have read about in other hotels. Pets were allowed into the building. This didn't particularly bother us, but I can see both sides of the debates that have raged on this board about that subject.

Check-out

The only thing to really say here is that I checked on our account balance periodically because I wanted to pay what I could with our Rewards Card. The gold plan stuff was messed up on several occasions. We were charged for boat rental and two different tours that should have been billed under the gold plan. When I went to correct this stuff I had to wait while the front desk CMs figured out how to fix the problem. Everybody was nice about it, but that was another hour or so wasted.

Final Thoughts

We love the GF and would stay there again (we've been there 3 times now). There are some problems that upper management should address. I hope that management does not continue to let some things slip while counting on the "free pass" they get from some forgiving guests because they are Disney. The GF is still a VERY expensive hotel and needs to be run as such.