What Should You Expect From a Hotel With No Water?

The Hyatt Regency Jersey City has a phenomenal location. It is directly beside a PATH train station, a direct shot into the city, and right on the water looking out at the Manhattan skyline. The views are spectacular.

It could use a refresh in some ways. For instance, the bathrooms are dated. And the highlight of the rooms are the windows, I was really surprised the blinds weren’t electronic. But the bed was super comfortable, and the couch in the window was large (if a bit stained).

I like the public spaces on the property — more windows — and tastefully decorates.

Here’s the thing: a water main broke, and the hotel was without water. I woke up in the morning to this note under my door:

Here’s the bathroom I couldn’t use.

That’s not quite fair. I couldn’t use the shower, but I used the sink, washing my hands by pouring some water over soap to lather my hands and then pouring bottled water over my hands.

And I was able to use the toilet, I got one flush only so I used it… judiciously.

This is how the hotel handled the situation — there were flats of bottled water by the elevator (no signage, but I assumed these were for the taking since they were sort of left there).

My room rate for the night was $359. I sort of feel that for $359, I’m not just buying a bed I’m paying for a shower in the morning too.

This was not the hotel’s fault. And goodness knows compensating every guest in the hotel for the night would be expensive. On the other hand, it wasn’t my fault either and I only got a portion of what I was paying for, a real part of the service was missing.

So what should a hotel do in this sort of situation? I heard second hand (no from from the hotel told me this) that they were comping breakfast for guests, but I got that anyway as a Diamond member.

About five minutes before I checked out I received an email from the hotel:

Thank you for choosing Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson! We hope you have enjoyed your visit.

We would like to inform you that the downtown Jersey City Water Main Break that occurred at approximately 4am this morning has been resolved by SUEZ, the local water authority. While out of the hotel’s control, we understand the inconvenience this may have caused to the start of your day, and for that we apologize . All water related systems and functions are currently operating, and you should not have any concerns about using the water of the hotel

We thank you for your patience and understanding in an event like this, and hope you will return to stay with us again soon!

I never did get a chance for the day’s shower. What would you expect?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I would go ape sh*t paying the sort of money and not having the usual facilities to wash and use toilet jomrwllr.

    It may not be their fault but it’s their responsibility to have adequate contogench plans. Eventual compensation should be considered a risk of business or indeed covered by their insurance.

  2. I would go ape sh*t paying that sort of money and not having the usual facilities to wash and use toilet normally.

    It may not be their fault but it’s their responsibility to have adequate contigency plans. Eventual compensation should be considered a risk of the business and indeed potentially covered by their insurance.

  3. Either 1/2 off the bill now, 15,000 points or a voucher for a stay there at another time. No, it’s not their fault but meaningful multiple choice compensation would go a long way towards building good-will. Free breakfast – which you already get – is laughable.

  4. I would be drafting that letter of complaint to Hyatt and to the hotel manager if you can find his/her e-mail address. I’ve stayed there w credit card free night (before they upped the category) and it’s aaight but no way would I pay $350 to stay there even with working toilets let alone washing my hands and brushing my teeth with bottled water.. Almost Manhattan is still Joisey. I’d expect at least a partial refund or more likely a respectable pile of points.

  5. No offense but I consistently pay $70 a night for “hotel” rooms in squalid conditions in a particular underdeveloped country, showering in buckets and sleeping under nets with permethrin. Our expectations are tempered by our experiences. A decent Marriott is bliss…

  6. “Our expectations are …” set by the pricetag and the prevailing norm. People really need to get over NYC. $350 to still be in B&T group is absurd even if water worked. They should absolutely give 15k points and it shouldn’t require a complaint to get it.

  7. An airport Sheraton that had cost me 3,000 SPG points gave me a free breakfast and 3,000 SPG points when the airport shuttle took 40 minutes at 1am one Monday. I didn’t complain, but the lady ahead of me did. Lucky for me, I guess.

  8. @ Captain Obvious – I wouldn’t be so sure about that. I’ve stayed at a Ritz Carlton before where about an hour after I arrived the power went down for the next six hours. No power, no internet, etc. in 95 degree heat in Miami. Needless to say no points or refund was provided, just a complimentary reception in the lobby with some free food and wine. I realize that’s just one experience, but it was pretty much handled the same way as this was (apology and some free food, that’s it).

  9. Since the hotel is a level 5, they should have given you 20K points. What if you wanted to work out and couldn’t shower before a meeting? Or had to go the bathroom more than once.

    Ridiculous not to give the equivalent of one free night in points.

  10. I would ask for the points value of the night to be comped. I think that’s a fair resolution although I would still be upset about spending that much money and not having a shower or getting just one flush.

  11. Hotel should refund some or all of your money. While it’s not their fault, if the customer knows the water is out ahead of time the customer will go find another hotel with water and thus water-less hotel is out the business that night. Just because it happened during your stay shouldn’t mean much of anything. So yes, the hotel should refund at least 1/2 of your money!

  12. I’d pose the question as what was the night worth? Was it worth nothing (“give me a free night”) because of no water in the morning? I’d say more than breakfast is due, but the equivalent of a free night is a big hit for a business to absorb for something not their fault.

    Should have had backup plans? I don’t know of many/any places with storage tanks of water that can be switched to and pumped to rooms. People would have been no happier if they had been told an alternate place to shower.

    A lot of people probably showered the night before and their biggest inconvenience was shaving with bottled water.

    Most of the rooms were probably being expensed anyway, so points are pure gravy. That’s probably why people are after points, and not room credit (partial or full).

  13. I would demand a refund. The hotel and the city water district have insurance for this sort of thing. I know as I deal with this in my business.

  14. Hotels in New York typically have water tanks at the top of their buildings which gives a built in reserve in cases like this. I am surprised this hotel does not. Hyatt should compensate you back in points for this.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

  15. I arrived at a Hilton near TPA last spring and they had some sort of issue with the water. Hot only, no cold. Toilet worked but that was about it. They comped the room without asking. This is what HR should have done.

  16. I was in Ireland at stayed at the Marriott Powerscourt (formerly Ritz). It was 35k per night, two nights. The second night they had a similar issue and the water stopped working. My wife was actually mid-shower when it turned off (!!). They comped us the second night of the stay (i.e., gave us back 35k out of 70k points). I thought that was fair, although I could imagine them not comping back the full cost of a cash stay. A refund of half seems fair. It’s not their fault, but it’s not yours either–they can seek recompense from the city.

  17. It must have been a real shock to wake up expecting a hot shower only to find you wouldn’t get one at all! Yikes.

    Because the water main affected all the businesses surrounding the hotel they couldn’t send you anywhere else, but I’d think compen$ation would still be offered proactively from the hotel.

  18. He should get a refund of the night’s cost. The hotel probably has an insurance policy to cover them against loss from issues like a water main break, too.

  19. In a similar situation, I got the points equal to a one night stay (Westin ft Lauderdale)

    If they decline, I’d challenge the charge on my credit card. They have

  20. This happened to me at the Birmingham, AL Sheraton. Super frustrating especially because the Westin that was connected to it was operating just fine, but the would move us over. Ended up with a comped meal from Todd English PUB and 6,000 SPG points.

  21. groan……. so there was no water from 4am to about 11 or 12 when check-outs happen? However do you cope on an aircraft at similar times, or do you fly only EK with a shower?
    Firstly, the hotel should have avoided prefacing every communication thanking you for choosing them for your stay. A tad grating in the circumstances.
    Secondly they should have asked you how they could compensate you for the inconvenience, given it is quite expensive accommodation. I am sure a satisfactory resolution could be reached.
    Given that this was a situation outside the hotel’s control, and presumably a one-off, I am not sure why you have made such a big issue of it, unless you were very, very unhappy with the way the hotel handled it. Shit happens~ at least it was not Allepo!

  22. I have been dealing with the Lexington in New York since Aug. We had a similar situation and even worse. The Air conditioning did not work and it was so damn hot that I was about to have a heat stroke.
    We have been waiting for a refund or some sort of compensation but after so many emails to the Lexington hotel/marriott in Manhattan we have not heard back.
    I believe that hotels should be accountable.
    This Hyatt should have refunded you the entire amount or given you the equivalent of a one night stay in points to your gold passport account.
    Then again, I had a terrible experience with a front desk employee at the Hyatt in Tampa, she tried to get me fired from my company by writing a report to my superior lying saying that I threw the meal at her face.
    It took 2 hours to get a food to go order and I was late to the airport and I left the meal on the counter and requested a refund before check out. The elevators where broken at that Hyatt Tampa that day. Since they were rude to me I asked for the employee’s name at the front desk, of course the manager lied in his report to protect their own job to my company saying that I “Threw” the meal on their face. I requested a copy of the security tape but never heard back from Tampa Hyatt. I was put on the suspension and I eventually lost my career after 20 years of employment and i was fired.
    I can not stand most hotel workers. They have no compassion for people who travel and they are bunch of mean gossip queens just like the waiters and the waitresses in the sky!
    I had to deal with hotel workers constantly for so many years, checking in and out of so many hotels mostly for work and also on my person vacations!

  23. What they “should” have done is what they did. Should the city of New Jersey pay a portion of the rents and mortgages of everyone affected? What they “could” have done is quite a bit different. Ive had Hyatt compensate me a generous amount of points because the valet rolled down my car window and I had forgotten to mention it was broken. A PH staffer broke a camera lens hood of mine and they not only replaced the hood with a cheap version (only one they could get on short notice), they deducted the replacement cost off my bill, sent chocolates, and issued 10K points.
    Of course Ive also had a HH offer just 5K points (free night at that particular location) when my SO cut her hand on a piece of broken glass that was lodged in a couch.

  24. For those of you who expect to have the night comped, do you truly believe that if you are without water for 6 or 8 hours, you have received absolutely nothing of value? Seems to me that you are actually trying to take something for nothing. I certainly agree that free breakfast doesn’t cut it (and do you really want breakfast in a place that has no water?) but there is a long way from free breakfast to free stay. A quarter to half of the points for a night’s stay seems fair to me.

  25. I think that you should compensate the hotel. It has become very unusual for you to have content that differs from one mile at a time, surely that is worth four hundred dollars.

  26. A bed to sleep and a shower are the minimum expectation I have of any hotel I stay at and if the hotel can’t provide that, I wouldn’t pay the bill or dispute with the credit card company. I might have lower expectations in a third-world country and would forgive a few hours without power or water, but New Jersey doesn’t qualify for that….

  27. There has to be some sort of compensation for this. Apologies and updates, timely as they are, unfortunately does not suffice. Water is an essential need during your entire stay. Yes it’s something unforeseen and they cannot have refused guests during that unknown period of time of water shortage but they do have to compensate you

  28. I assume this isn’t your own money, since I do not believe people with your level of hotel knowledge actually pay $359/night to stay in Jersey City. If that is indeed the case, I’d ask Hyatt for some points. I think they should give it to you. Having no running water for a lengthy period of time is certainly not what you were paying for.

  29. It’s hard to stomach that price for no shower, but I advise letting it go.

    My metrics are “was this IN ANY WAY within their control” and “could the hotel have reasonably done something better”? Could they have let you know before the stay about the outage? No. Could they have let you know at check in? No. Could they reasonably be expected to have a backup water source? No. Could/should they have picked a more reliable municipal water supplier? No. Could they have arranged for you to be able to shower elsewhere (e.g. another hotel, or a gym)? It sounds like the outage was widespread enough to say “no”, but you could poke on this one more.

    Unless you can name something that they could (reasonably) have done better, I don’t see a case for making the hotel suffer for it.

    (Compare: with a planned outage, it matters if/when they warn you. With a localized outage, they should offer to walk you. With an electrical outage, they could reasonably be expected to provide flashlights (buy them by the case!) and glowsticks, have a generator to keep the elevators running, and have some way to get you checked in and into a room, even if it involves escorting you to your room and letting you in with a master key. But I don’t see such opportunities for contingency planning here. It doesn’t make sense to wake you up in the middle of the night to walk you, especially if you’re being walked to another town.)

  30. I had a similar situation at the Aloft in Rancho Cucamonga, California, except the construction that affected the water supply was planned. I could shower with a small amount of water that still trickled out. I still a gave it a casual mention at the front desk and received 2000 Starwood points, so I was happy.

  31. For a property of this size/stature, they should have contingency plans for water/electricity shut offs.

    I remember couple of years ago when the water was shut off at the Sheraton Gateway LAX during one of the FTUs, I got 10K+ SPG points and free breakfast for 4 people as comp.

  32. Those of you raising Aleppo? Kindly shove it up your ass. 1) not our problem. 2) just because something is happening somewhere else doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem to deal with here. Liberal wankers.

  33. Lol Fred you pathetic child.
    There isn’t a problem to deal with. Water mains went down for several hours, some individuals missed their shower that morning.

    Entirely out of hyatt’s doing… they did the right thing. Not really worth much more, if any, compensation.

  34. Not their fault, but still sufficiently serious that, given advance warning, the typical guest would have relocated to another hotel with working water, even at some distance. And that’s my test for whether a room should be comped (or equivalent points value awarded – best to give guests that choice).

  35. Had the same situation in a CLE Hotel a while back and it did suck in the morning. It seemed to me the real concern was for a water supply to the fire suppression sprinklers in the building. Management was clueless as to the source and if there was a backup of some sort. A high rise with no sprinklers? Not where I want to be at all.

  36. “This was not the hotel’s fault. And goodness knows compensating every guest in the hotel for the night would be expensive. On the other hand, it wasn’t my fault either and I only got a portion of what I was paying for, a real part of the service was missing.”

    There’s a coverage called Business Interruption Insurance. It can be endorsed for “service interruptions” like the water interruption, and the hotel can further pay for coverage to waive the waiting period which is 24 to 72 hours, typically
    If they have not done that, they should not be charging you. They should eat the loss.
    There is also coverage for “guest relocation” available.

  37. Alan Louganis should talk to Captain obvious. There is certainly something wrong if that Marriott did not reimburse you. Not to mention, your issues seem to go way beyond hotel workers. I hope you’ve found a new career.

  38. This recently happened to me. Stayed at a hotel for 4 nights. On 2nd day lost electric and water for 35 hours. We were in a rural setting for an event so all other hotels were full. They gave everyone 1 bottle of water and no compensation. 800+ people at the resort with no working toliets and no one washing their hands. Yuck.

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