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4 Ways This Small Hotel’s Outstanding Customer Service Won Me Over

This little hotel could have lost my business due to noisy guests next door. Instead, it won me over with a great owner and helpful staff.

When I pulled up to the tiny hotel in the surfer town of Leucadia, California, I was excited to check in and settle into my retro-style room. Online reviews were positive, mentioning that the rooms were small but well-maintained. The location was excellent, within walking distance to the beach, along with many restaurants and shops.

The beach town hotel was a throwback to decades past, with three small hacienda-style stucco buildings constructed in the classic California 1920s horseshoe shape, surrounding a small parking lot and a courtyard filled with abundant flowers and other foliage.

I’d booked this hotel because recent online reviews slammed my usual hotel, which had apparently gone downhill. This small hotel was affordable and cute in the photos, with retro hotel rooms painted in turquoise and other beach colors.

After checking in mid-afternoon,, I went straight to my room, eager to sleep off the headache I’d gotten while traveling. I hoped that a two-hour nap would cure my ills before I went out for dinner and a sunset beach walk. But a healing nap was not to be.

About 10 minutes after I went to bed, the guests next door arrived, and I realized that this old hotel hadn’t done much in the way of soundproofing. I could hear every word and exclamation from the guests next door, who immediately turned on the TV to a baseball game at a loud volume. After an hour of failed attempts to sleep, I’d had enough.

I went to the office to ask for a different room, but there was no one there, only a notice on the door that the office was closed for the night and an emergency number to call. When I called the number, I left a voicemail message, letting them know about the situation and that I wanted to check out and stay at the La Quinta down the road.

The owner immediately called back and talked me out of checking out with an offer to move me to a quieter room near the office. That room was much nicer and had empty rooms on both sides so I could finally sleep without neighboring guests talking loudly and cheering every time their favored team scored a home run or filled the bases.

My five-night stay at the hotel turned out to be relaxing and peaceful, thanks to the owner’s quick resolution to my issue. If he hadn’t called back and offered that move, the hotel down the street might have become my new favorite. Instead, I’ll book this small hotel again.

Here are four factors that resulted in a positive guest experience during my stay despite the bumpy beginning.

1. Friendly staff

The man who checked me in wasn’t the owner but he cared about providing friendly, helpful service. Check-in was quick and easy.

2. Local information in the room

The hotel provided a booklet of local attractions and a variety of restaurants, from moderate to fine dining to fit different vacation budgets.

3. Quick attention to my concerns

Honestly, I doubted that anyone would call me back that night, since they may not have considered my concerns an “emergency.” However, the owner called me back right away, listened patiently and showed empathy for my situation.

The new room he moved me to was twice as nice as the noisy room and away from neighboring guests to ensure that I wouldn’t be bothered with noise again.

4. Above-and-beyond service

The entire vacation wasn’t doomed, just the first 24 hours. When I got up the next morning to drive to a coffee shop and then take a peaceful morning walk on the nearby beach, my rental car wouldn’t start, and the cheap rental company I booked with told me I was on my own.

I headed to the office, and the same friendly guy who checked me in came out with jumper cables and started my car so I could drive back to San Diego and return it, trading up to a better, well-known car rental company.

This was probably one of the best things about the stay. The staffer didn’t have to help me but he went out of his way to solve another problem that wasn’t even the hotel’s fault.

I don’t know what my guest experience at other hotels in that area might have been. But I do know that I went back home with a great impression of the little hotel that has the big goal of offering a positive guest experience that will lead me to book a room there on my next vacation.