After arriving at Riga international airport (RIX) with airBaltic this December I made my way down into the old town of Riga to check-in at the Pullman Riga Old Town. I booked the hotel with my LeClub points as a short pre-xmas vacation, since I have never been to Eastern Europe I thought it could be nice to check it out.
Prior to arrival I requested the hotel via email to quote airport pickup for me, I never received a reply from them which turned out to be the start into a stay with one of the most terrible experience I ever had at any hotel, let alone a 5* accor property.
When I brought up the missing response to my airport pickup request they told me they never received an email, while such technical errors are more unlikely as technology is very reliable nowadays I accepted that first and gave them the benefit of a doubt. After my stay and seeing the way this hotel treats its guests I believe it is more likely they simply forgot to reply or worse just did not bother.
The check-in process was identical to all accor properties and a breeze. Front desk staff was polite and informed me about my upgrade from a superior room into a premium superior room as one of my perks as a LeClub platinum. As well I received a drinks voucher for the bar and after registering my CC for the deposit I was handed 2 room cards. Unfortunately the staff did not offer any help with my luggage which I would have expected in such a hotel, so I had to drag my heavy bag all the way from lobby to the 6th and highest floor. To make this perfect my room was the very last one from the elevator, it took 2 minutes to walk there – no kidding.
Upon arriving at the room I had to notice that the door was open, apparently the closing mechanism did not work properly and housekeeping did not manually close it. I called the front desk and they sent someone to briefly check if everything is where it should be, I would have appreciated at this point if a room change was offered but it wasn’t. I wasn’t feeling so well and just arrived from the flight so I decided to not bring it up myself now in order to avoid more stress.
The room featured a king size bed – which I realised later were in fact 2 single beds put together, something not unusual for Europe but not at all standard in a 5* property and personally I find it pretty cheap. There was also a drawer with the mini bar, a coffee machine and water heater as well as some space for cloth. Next to it was a small table with a chair and opposite the bed was a rather small flatscreen TV.
While the furniture was featuring the Pullman brand style it was also all rather basic and did not seem to be of specifically high quality. Also the room was small, a lot smaller than expected and since I was upgraded it should have been bigger and more nice than what I booked – this room was more of a downgrade. In fact I would say it is the smallest and most basic room I have ever seen in a Pullman hotel.
Behind the door and left in the corridor was the bathrom in a separated space. There was a small and separated booth for the toilet that was connected to the basin at which the shower cabin was as well, again separated by glass walls.
While the bathroom was nice and clean and I’d say the size was decent it lacked some essential amenities, for example no toothbrush and no scale.
Likewise the room was not only small and basic, it also did not have a safe deposit box, there was no shelf to place luggage on (even though there was enough space for such shelf), there was not even a trash bin in the room itself.
As one of the very few positive things in this hotel I’d like to highlight the very professional and safe setup of the wifi, as well as the amazing internet speed. There was a public wifi with login through a captive portal as usual, but then every room had its own secured wifi network that had a unique password which could be found in the smart TV interface of the rooms TV. I loved that since it adds another safety layer into the network and shields your devices from the ones of other guests.
I did unfortunately fall sick pretty soon after check-in due to the very low temperature and therefore had to stay in the room most of my stay. This also was the reason why I did not manage to bring up the issues with the front desk right away.
Throughout the first day more issues started to become clear with the room, for example the mini bar fridge was broken and made noise all the time, which was fixed the next morning when I managed to go for breakfast.
The breakfast spread consisted of cereals, salad, scrambled eggs or omelette with bacon and sausages as well as potatoes and juices. It was super basic and I have seen ibis hotels with significantly more choices. At least the amount of food was decent and the service was alright as well, they served tea or coffee at the table but you could also take it yourself. Besides that the breakfast area was a bit too small for the guest count so it got pretty packed every time I was there. What I did not like is that, while the service was mostly friendly, they started to clear the buffet always right on time and in one instance even 5 minutes too early. That just’s just unnecessary. As well there was no a-la-carte service or any distinction of the service between normal guests and members – again that I have seen better in several ibis properties as well. There was also no executive lounge or club in this hotel.
During the time I was resting I requested once for some squeezed lemon and hot water because I wanted to boost some Vitamin C to recover faster. It came after 40 minutes and they charged me EUR13.50. While room service is absolutely a paid service and there is no issue with that I can’t help but to feel that it is not right to charge guests and especially members that amount for something so small that would be included in every 5* hotel with a lounge for example. I have had 2 other times in accor properties where I got sick and the staff there was just too amazing with trying to support my recovery, sent constantly tea and other things as well as checking on me from the exec lounge – for no charge. While the front desk later waived those charges when I brought it up I still feel quite shocked it even came up in the first place.
I used the room service another time after this for a club sandwich at EUR16.50. While the charge is alright the quality was once again bad, fries were cold and not completely fried. I do not understand how you can manage to mess up french fries as a hotel…
Another issue with the room was that is was right above the trash place of this hotel, so every hour or so staff would dispose extremely noisy and clearly without concern of the guests trash there – including vast amounts of glass bottles that shattered etc.
On another instance renovation works with drilling and severe noise impact were carried out in the room next to me – without notice and on a Saturday afternoon.
With all the issues with the room by now I am pretty sure that this is some kind of off-market room which the hotel gives to guests they don’t value too much (like point redemptions). On my second last day I was finally fit enough to bring up those problems and incidents with the front desk and requested some kind of refund given the huge gap between what I could reasonable expect from my booking and what they delivered. They promised to check with the manager and get back to me, which they did after some hour informing me there is nothing they can offer and I could fill out a feedback card.
This is the second big problem with the Pullman Riga Old Town: while the service is friendly it is not really helpful and they don’t seem to care for guests and their experience. I presume this is what they get from their management style given that I voiced out pretty serious complains and the manager did not even bother to get in touch and rather had the front desk call and suggest a feedback card – incredibly unprofessional.
It was for sure the worst and most shocking stay I had at a Pullman or any other accor property and I intend to bring up these issues with the LeClub support and requested for compensation, I will update this article once I receive a response from them.
UPDATE: After check-out the general manager of the Pullman Riga Old Town proactively contacted me via email and asked for some feedback in regards to the problems I experienced – apparently the front desk staff forwarded my complaint. We managed to settle this incident in a fair way and I was promised the hotel will take necessary steps to prevent such things from happening again, including revised promotion material for the room types. Given the professional response from the hotel management I am confident measures will be taken and I will be giving this hotel an other stay, should I visit Riga again in the future.