Covid makes traveling and enjoying the world harder than ever. Luckily, in Vietnam, we, the hodophiles, at least have the luxury of traveling within the country. The current situation helps us to focus more on local tourism.
We chose Banyan Tree (more information here) as one of our destinations due to the famous beauty of Lang Co seaside. Banyan Tree is also trusted as the group has experience in the hotel industry for a great amount of time. Despite all the facts and Banyan Tree’s reputation, our trip there surprisingly turned into our worst nightmare.
We planned to have a 3-day-2-night stay at Banyan Tree starting from the 9th of March. The trip started when the resort team did not receive the information of our arrival and we had to call to remind them before we fly. As soon as we complained, we saw the hotel crew’s effort to win back our experience. Big thanks to our villa manager, Ms Lan.
On the arrival day, we had lunch at the restaurant by the beach. It was a beautiful day, and we were all very hungry. We wanted to taste Hue’s special dishes because we had never had the original before. Lunch was served, and the food was okay. We still remembered talking about “Nem Lui”’s taste as it was sour, like the savor of “Nem Chua”. We all thought “Nem Lui” was supposed to be like that.
In the night, my stomach felt funny, and my friends had a stomachache. We did not know what that was, but to be safe, we bought medicine at Hue city, when we visited it the next day. We also bought “Nem Lui” in Hue, but the taste was completely different from the one we had at the hotel. We thought that was just because of the cooking style.
On the last day of our stay, we wanted to try the “Nem Lui” again. We were shocked that the taste of it was not like the one we had before. And then we felt scared because the sour taste meant the food was spoiled.
We reported to the receptionist and how the resort team resolved the situation turned our whole experience with Banyan Tree worse.
The resort crew called our room 3 times to verify and clarify. At the last call, they also explained their process of food hygiene and safety, which I really doubt the effectiveness of because of the real result I got. We were not sure if we got the message right, but I believed what the hotel was trying to say was the restaurant did nothing wrong. When the food was spoiled, and the customers got a stomachache, I was very surprised that the crew treated this issue so lightly.
We were very angry and annoyed by the way the hotel staff handled the situation; we asked for the villa manager and the experience manager. They both came, together with the executive chef, to who we have not properly introduced the name, so please allow me to call him Mr Chef.
Once again, the experience manager and Mr Chef went through the process of making food and keeping it clean after asking us, for the 4th time, what happened. The Chef kept repeating he heard no similar report, and the experience manager kept asking what we wanted. The behavior, the reaction, the way of talking of the manager and especially the chef made us feel we were begging for something. And we did not. We saw no sincere apologies from the hotel.
We asked for a higher position, but they said that person was busy. I am very curious to know what can be more important than your customers' health.
We came back, totally upset. Before the food spoilage discovery, my friend actually recommended the "Nem Lui" dish to a lot of friends, and she had to message all of them to say "Do not take that dish".
Advice for the hotel:
1/ Please show your sincerity instead of trying to explain yourself. If customers received bad results, your process has a problem. So, review it instead of sticking to it and say we do nothing wrong.
2/ Attitude - Attitude - Attitude: Customers just need to see your empathy, and care.