8 Suites Tagaytay by Fat Jimmy — Good hotel, nightmarish service, horrible food
Its just too bad that 8 Suites has followed the direction that most local hotels / b&b take: let’s overprice and underdeliver. It’s sad because I think the location is great if you came out of Manila for some R&R — secluded, high up, romantic and surrounded by greens. However at 7,000 a night average (weekend), 8 Suites is waaay overpriced especially when you consider how their staff are like headless chickens running around bumping into each other.
The rooms were great. The bathroom was great with the bath and the sliding doors which afford you to watch the flat screen TV or take in the view outside while in the tub. One huge wall though, was bare. It could use some artwork really. We were happy with the view, content you may say, not knowing about the mini-nightmare about to unfold before us.
I should’ve known, the restaurant was Merk’s. Seriously, how could I have expected anything more from a resto owned by Richard Merck. There is a reason why this restaurant is a joke.
We ordered crispy tadyang and pancit bihon that night. Lo and behold, the food was cold. Fine, alright we can live with the food because it was too much of a hassle to take it back. The ribs were dry, and my pancit seemed like it came from the fridge, stuck in the microwave and heated for 40 seconds. Some bits were hot, some were cold. I don’t understand since it took them 30 minutes to deliver our food and as the hotel’s name implies, there are only 8 suites. 8 suites = 8 rooms. Get it?
Ok this is where it starts: after the meal I ordered hot chocolate (from Tanauan supposedly). When it came, it was thick and goopy and just overall gross. I decided to drink it anyway because it would’ve been a waste of 120 pesos. A few gulps into it, i bit onto something chewy that tasted grossly similar to onion. Have you tried onion with chocolate? Didn’t think so.
I couldn’t finish it. I gave up halfway.
The next morning we were waiting for breakfast. H reminded me to call them to remind them to heat the food properly because he doesn’t want to eat cold eggs. I called again, asked nicely to heat the food and not let it be like last night, to which the guy replied, “yes man, yes mam, yes mam”.
After five minutes, I realized I should have the pancit bihon leftover reheated so I called again, and this time a girl answered “yes mam, yes mam, yes mam, breakfast will be served in 10-15 minutes”.
more than 20 minutes whizzed by and no food. I called to follow up. Then I called again. After more than 30 minutes of waiting, the food comes in.
THE FOOD WAS F-ING COLD. I could feel the blood rising up in my face. The bihon was not there. The coffee tasted like shit.
I was so mad that H had to take over (and he’s usually the hothead). We called reception and asked to speak to the manager. No manager. Just send anyone!
Finally kitchen OIC and the girl who took my order came in. We spelled out our complaints and about how they basically did the total opposite of what we requested. I said “didn’t I call specifically to ask that the bihon be reheated, and it’s not here, the food is cold after I called to ask that it be heated properly.” The kitchen OIC has the gall to offer an excuse: Tagaytay is cold and the food get cold before serving. What, do you cook the food then leave it out in the veranda before serving them? This is no excuse. Do you hear me Richard Merck and Fat Jimmy? That is no excuse.
After being told off by H about how its unacceptable that theyre charging an exorbitant amount, this is the service they give, they apologized and headed out to reheat the food. I said could you please bring salt & pepper and a couple of glasses of water when you come back.
She came back with the salt and pepper and asked if I needed anything else, to which I blankly replied “water.” Un-believ-able.
The eggs were still cold. H gave up and just ate the bruised banana with a toothpick stuck on it. We paid 7,000 for the goddamn room.
The thing is you have no choice but to eat here. You cannot get away from the bad Merk’s food at 8 Suites, because the decent restaurants are about 20 minutes away.
We checked out and I let him handle the talking because I would’ve cried at the reception area. He wrote a survey form demanding an apology for having ruined what was supposed to be a special day for us. He left his contact number, email address to at least give them a chance to redeem themselves. To this day, nothing. No reply whatsoever. It’s the equivalent of management sticking their fingers up at us saying we don’t give a flying fuck about your feedback.
Before we left we settled the bills of course. It doesn’t end there. When H checked the calculations, they shortchanged us 500.00 and they had to give it back after H threw the change down at the counter saying “this is ridiculous, you couldn’t even do the change!”
The worst thing about this whole experience is that they really just didn’t bother to offer any sort of formal apology, even after we practically begged for it. I’m led to believe that this group of hotels don’t have a marketing team, or worse, they have baboons on that team. I found out about 8 Suites online, and decided to stay here because T House and The Botique had bad reviews. Now this too has a bad review, and they dont seem to realize the power of bloggers to bring or retract business.
BTW, there was an annoying constant water dropping sound by the aircon which we chose to just ignore for the rest of the morning. And a door kept on slamming somewhere in the basement. And a loud undisciplined kid kept on screaming next door. How’s that for a vacation, 8 suites?
Verdict? Stay away from this hotel. You’re probably better off at Discovery Country Suites or Taal Vista.
UPDATE: 8 Suites owner personally sends signed letter of apology
Because of my frustration for not having heard from 8 Suites even after our request fromt he front desk for feedback, I went on a witch hunt to try and get in touch with the owner or anybody from upper management. I was able to get the manila office number for Fat Jimmy’s and the reservations officer gave me the e-mail of the owner for feedback and concerns.
My e-mail was short and succint: I just said that I thought the management should know what’s going on in their hotel, and posted a link to my blog.
A week or so later, I got a call from a representative from 8 Suites. She asked for my home address so that they could send a personal signed letter of apology from the owner. She also informed me that they are also overhauling their breakfast service, and instead of Merk’s (blech) handling the breakfast, they already have an in-house kitchen taking care of it. Moreover, they are also constructing a breakfast deck where guests can have their meals. If i’m not mistaken, I think they’re also re-evaluating their relationship with the restaurant. I said I was glad that the issue has been addressed and that an apology and acknowledgment of the mistake was all we were really after. I thanked her and gave the address.
When H came back from the UK, I wasnt really surprised that the letter has not arrived yet, because I kinda knew that the maid hadn’t dropped by so there was nobody in to receive it. I texted 8 Suites to inform them that I hadn’t received teh letter yet, and the girl said that she would be informing her boss right away.
Saturday morning, I was being a proper slug in the living room when the doorbell rang. It was the hotel owner personally dropping the letter. I was able to chat with him a bit about the situation and I let him know that I thought it was a wise move to be taking responsibility for the breakfast themselves. He said that there have been numerous complaints about the food service that he had to pull breakfast out from Merk’s. Although it somewhat soured his relationship with the restaurant owner (which is a family friend), he said he had to protect his investment.
And I would have to agree. It’s always tricky to be entering business partnerships with friends because sometimes the liberty can be abused. Just because you’re friends with you’re business partner doesn’t give them the right to be lax in business practices, especially when there’s somebody else’s name on the line.
Anyway, the visit was greatly appreciated, and it showed me that the business does care about what their guests have to say, and that they actually did something about it. I showed H the letter and he said, “well that’s it really, now i’m willing to give it another chance.”
A simple apology goes a long way.