To Le Parker Meridien, specifically the manager of Gravity Fitness:
I have long been a fan of the Parker Meridien hotel in New York City. As an establishment of hospitality, you guys have your shit together. The addition of the DryBar was an excellent idea, and the neighboring manicure bar? Genius. Throw in a shave and barber shop and you’ve got something for the whole family, kids. When a friend took me to the not-so-secret Burger Joint, I swore I found milkshake nirvana. Who would have guessed it was tucked away in a posh hotel on 56th Street?
So you can imagine I’m little saddened to say, I am not coming back.
It has often been said that, during times of hardship and duress, New Yorkers band together. We rally around each other, offering support as we can. Most recently, during Hurricane Sandy, strangers became neighbors. Power and warm water was shared. Manhattan gained a new neighborhood moniker – SoPo, South of Power. On Friday, February 1st, sometime around 11am, SoPo became SoRuWa – South of Running Water, and this is what the Financial District looked like for the earlier part of the afternoon.
Not pretty, is it. The Department of Environmental Protection shut off the water. Makes sense, right? The best way to curtail the flooding caused by a burst pipe is to stop the water gushing out of it.
I was sitting on the bathroom floor, wrapped in a towel, and patiently waiting for the water to come back. I had an important meeting uptown at 5pm, so as long as the water was restored with enough time for me to shower, dress and commute, I wasn’t concerned. I hope you’ll forgive the pun when I say I threw in the towel at 2pm. I couldn’t wait much longer, so I called the DryBar hotline, begging for a last minute appointment to tame my lion’s mane. The woman on the phone was sympathetic to my waterless plight and booked me for 2:45 at their location in the Parker Meridien. Perfect! All I needed now was a shower.
I called the Parker Meridien immediately and was connected to a desk attendant at Gravity Fitness. I asked if having an appointment at the DryBar permitted me to use the hotel’s gym showers. The attendant spoke with his manager who responded with a quick no. Of course, I was expecting this and so, I explained my dilemma, my day of toil, my extreme circumstances. I explained I had no water. I explained I had a potentially lifechanging meeting. I explained I would already be using services offered by the Parker Meridien so maybe, just this once, you could do me a solid.
I’m really sorry, I explained your situation to our manager but unfortunately he said no. The only way for you to access the gym for just today would be to purchase a day pass for $70.
Now. I understand the thought process behind adhering to policy and procedure. I understand the Parker Meridien caters to hotel guests paying, on average, $240 per night (before taxes) and guests who are willing to spend $1000 on a lobster fritatta. I understand the mentality behind fearing an opened flood gate (too soon?). What if I came back and said, Oh, but I did this before… Or worse yet, what if a friend of a friend came in, saying, Oh, but I know you let someone else do it. Please? This is what I imagine is going through the mind of any manager.
But another scenario could have played out here. Instead, a new wave of patrons could have visited the hotel for dinner or lunch or a manicure or a spa day, each saying, I’ve heard such wonderful things about the hotel. Granted, I’m not saying I am a stronghold of publicity by any means, but I do believe in the snowball effect, and I absolutely believe in karma. In the business of hospitality, hospitality needs to be the factor held to the highest regard, not profit. Imagine what the loss of $70 would have bought the hotel – undeniable gratefulness and undying loyalty. I was already coming to your establishment as a guest paying for a service – was it such a hardship to extend this one kindness?
So thank you, Parker Meridien, for offering me the DryBar’s services, incredible burgers and delicious milkshakes. I can only hope the hospitality you extend your past, current and future guests far exceeds the hospitality you showed me.