What happens when a five-star hotel that runs over $1,000 night doesn’t have any food or beverages? That’s what happened at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City (and still is…).
One of my best Award Expert clients took her granddaughter from upstate New York down to New York City for a couple days. She offered to take her granddaughter anywhere in the world and she chose NYC and the Plaza Hotel, an iconic hotel with a rich history in American culture. She wanted to eat in The Palm Court and Oak Room.
At check-in at 2pm, they were informed their room was not ready. They went out and returned about 7pm. In addition to their room key, they were handed this letter:
Summary: no food and beverages on the premises.
They promptly checked out. The stay was ruined.
Culprit: Labor Issues…in Canada
I called the hotel this morning and asked if food and beverages were still unavailable. Still no food. I was told simply that “hopefully” the “issue” would be resolved in a few days. What issue, I asked? The agent I spoke with said, “Well, to sum it up: labor.”
Indeed, the Wall Street Journal reports this morning that The Plaza has turned away most guests over the last week due to an ongoing labor dispute.
But here’s the interesting thing. The Plaza is part of the Fairmont hotel chain. Fairmont is encountering labor unrest at its Royal York property in Toronto. The New York labor action was initiated to help resolve the Toronto dispute!
Per the WSJ:
The hotels got into trouble after members of the New York Hotel Trades Council union who work at the Plaza and Sofitel raised health and safety concerns related to staff training and other issues, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
By raising health and safety issues at the New York hotels and disrupting their business, the unions hoped they could apply additional pressure on Fairmont to reach an agreement in Toronto, these people said. Fairmont is owned by the Paris-based hotel company Accor, which also owns the Sofitel brand.
Note that the Sofitel New York, down the street from the Plaza, is also encountering labor unrest.
My client requested a refund and was issued one today:
Sad that her special trip to New York was ruined due to labor issues in Canada…
I’ll follow-up on this post once the issues at The Plaza and Sofitel have been resolved.