March 25, 2013

The Deauville Beach Resort: Just Say No…

deauvilleSo much can be said of the hotel I just stayed in for a conference…sadly, none of it is good. I mean, what does one call a hotel where the AC in the conference room has two settings–on and off? You call it, The Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach, FL (that I will never again go to in life).

Honestly, I don’t know where to begin. When one of the conference speakers tells you that the hotel you’re staying in is crap, and he’s flown in for the day and hasn’t even been on the elevator, let alone a room–that’s saying something. Yes, he really said the hotel, and it’s website, were crap. Of course, if he had gotten on the elevator and stayed in a room, here are some if the things he would’ve experienced. (No names have been changed because there is no innocence to be protected here.)

The ‘executive room’–and I use that term loosely, as in looser than Jennifer Hudson trying to wear her Dream Girl’s movie pants post Weight Watchers–was deemed such because it had one of the first Vizio flat screen tv’s ever made and a blue frosted bathroom wall. The bathroom by the way had no soap dishes and no towel rack. But then who really needs a towel rack when the hotel has run out of wash cloths the last two days you’re there. Guess not enough people were drinking the 16 oz., $6.00 bottle of water left in the room and they couldn’t afford more small towels. Or comforters for that matter, because all you were supplied with for bedding were sheets. If you really needed warmth there was always that thin fleece blanket in the non-closet to wrap up in.

But really, you weren’t going to get much sleep anyway because the Latin dance party in the room next to you started at 4am and 5:23am each morning–complete with DJ. The walls were so thin it was like they were in the room with you. Of course, in the case of one of my fellow conference attendees, the people in the room next to her tried to come into her room by jiggling the doorknob on the adjoining room door. Since this ‘luxury’ hotel was sold out, she proceeded to put a chair under the knob just to be safe. Speaking of safe, when your firm offers to move you to a hotel that costs 2x the allowable company budget to make sure you’re safe, take them up on it. (But then the fodder for your blog post would be limited.)

I’m sure the attendees whose rooms the Deauville accidentally gave away in the middle of the day, which was only discovered because their room keys didn’t work when they tried them on a break, would’ve appreciated my company’s room relocation offer. Seriously, they had to spend 45 minutes convincing the staff to let them stay. I’m still shaking my head at that one. Which is not to imply that I’m not shaking my head at the ladies who only had one light source in their room in the form of a floor lamp, or the woman who tried to check in early and was told no, with no further explanation, no offer to hold luggage, and no direction on how to find a bellman to ask herself. And certainly I’m still in awe at the woman who went to happy hour with the group and was asked to prove that she had only had 1 of her 2 for 1 drinks and could still get the special price.

But all of that aside, you could argue that at least the conference was worth it, right? The conference where the moderator could only stay for most of the first day because he had to fly back to Los Angeles at the last-minute because of a client emergency, leaving us without an MC. The conference that didn’t order enough coffee and ran out both days. Coffee. It’s a hotel with a restaurant in it, how do you run out of coffee? Then again, a shortage of coffee was the least of the organizers concerns considering 3 of the speakers didn’t show up. Gee, I wonder why…

Thankfully, when all was said and done, the speakers that did show were great and provided a wealth of information. The opportunity to network with the speakers and attendees was invaluable and they were all good-natured and wonderful people. The spring breakers literally running through the halls couldn’t detract from the 70+ degree weather, especially since it’s 20 degrees with snow on the way here in MD.

In the end, all you can do is keep a good attitude (including a healthy sense of humor), learn what you can, enjoy the people you’re with, and blog to warn others.

Stay tuned…steps to finding the perfect conference are on the way. (Clearly, I have a vast amount of experience in this area on what NOT to do.)

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