Does a Puerto Rico Hotel Owe You Anything When Their Usual Amenities Aren’t Available?

Thirteen months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has been slow to recover. Houston’s hotel rates and occupancy are down compared to a year ago, but aid workers are still in Puerto Rico. While the effort there is one of the largest the Federal Emergency Management Agency has ever undertaken, less than half of the money allocated still hasn’t been distributed.

On the one hand Puerto Rico needs normalcy and they need recovery in their tourism industry. On the other hand hotels there certainly get something of a pass.

I was struck by the Condado Plaza Hilton’s approach to guests at this time. They’re informing customers with reservations that they will not fully re-open until May 1, 2019. They are accepting reservations until then, but service levels are limited:

  • Housekeeping every other day (daily December 22 – January 4)
  • No hotel laundry
  • Limited food and beverage options

Condado Plaza Hilton

A reader tells me the hotel informs that Diamond breakfast will be a $7 per guest credit at the on-site Dennys or Starbucks.

They explain they “are hosting mostly government travelers and recovery groups while offering limited services and amenities.”

Customer options are:

  • Re-booking somewhere else, at whatever rates other properties charge
  • No penalty cancellation
  • Accepting limited service (and that there will be no compensation)

The hotel is not offering discounts on room rate despite not delivering the usual service. In fairness that’s no different that Boston, San Francisco and Hawaii Marriotts.

I don’t think there really is much to complain about. Everyone in Puerto Rico has struggled. The only thing that does concern me though is the hotel’s website continues to solicit business without explaining the May 1, 2019 return to full service.

The only warning they provide online is that there may be noise during the day due to renovations:

We are excited to announce the renovation of our stunning, ocean front hotel that will be focused on our guest rooms, function space and some food & beverage outlets. While we will always ensure that the impact to our guests will be minimal, it is possible that you may experience some intermittent noise during the day and temporary dry wall in some of our public spaces. Thank you for your patronage, loyalty and patience as we enhance our hotel for your future enjoyment.

The Condado Plaza Hilton says the impact to guests will be minimal, but doesn’t explain that impact includes housekeeping and food and beverage venues.

What’s the right thing here?

  • they get a full pass because of Hurricane Maria?
  • they should really highlight their limited amenities on their website so guests know about it when booking?

My own view is that I’m glad they’re reaching out to guests in advance, wish they’d also post online so people know what to consider when making plans, but also suggest they’ve got some good rates right now that are actually worth considering for peak season.

Indeed December weekend rates start under $200 a night and there’s oceanfront availability for the Christmas and New Year’s period for under $350.

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, 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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  1. My take is that they are really happy hosting those that need to be there and are not price sensitive. This might include Government that pays less than we do but has negotiated rates or discounts. The Hotel does not want to start a cascading effect by lowering rates.

  2. They should really have that up on the website.
    With advanced notice I think it is fair.
    It’s a place recovering from a disaster after all.

  3. Deceptive despite the tragedy of the storm
    Lack of disclosure is unacceptable

    And last but not least a 7 dollar credit is an insult anywhere in the world for any top tier
    program elite member
    I won’t go before or after the recovery till they learn what a reasonable continental breakfast is with or without a coupon so count this Hilton Diamond out forever
    Sheesh I thought 10 dollars was stingy at the Hilton Boston
    Funny because Hilton’s overseas do a great breakfast for Diamonds

  4. I went by the San Juan hotels in late September — and I was shocked that so many had apparently not been repaired yet.

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