Lately there has been a lot of talk in the Points and Miles community about Kimpton properties. Seemingly in the mad rush for points at all of the big hotel chains, the Kimpton loyalty program has been largely overlooked and undervalued. I’ve been a fan of Kimpton ever since I stayed at the Hotel Monaco in Portland a few years ago, but I haven’t had the opportunity to stay at a Kimpton property for awhile. So I was excited to book a weekend trip at the Hotel Vintage Plaza in Portland with my good friend Hottie (not her real name, of course).
Since I’ve got high-level status with several hotel chains (easier than you think – I have status due to automatic “enhanced” status via credit cards with Hilton and Starwood, a status match with Club Carlson, and I’m going for the Hyatt Diamond challenge), I decided to email Kimpton (GuestLoyalty@KimptonGroup.com) to ask for a status match in time for my travel plans. I attached screen shots displaying proof of my status with the other loyalty programs and explained that I was planning on staying at a Kimpton property for the weekend, plus I had a few upcoming trips that I would like to book with them.
A rep responded within hours of my request with this email:
Thank you for providing the information needed to complete the process. We are very pleased to be able to extend the Inner Circle status to you. This will be good for all 2013 and will expire on Feb 16/2014 giving you the remainder of this year to earn the Inner Circle status for 2014. As you may know it takes 15 visits or 45 nights to earn the elite status.
If you have any upcoming reservations please let me know so I can make notes for the hotel to let them know that you are now an Inner Circle member?
In looking into your profile, I see that you do not have any special preferences listed, such as favorite beverage or special snack you love to enjoy. If you could send me a list I would be happy to add this to your profile. You can also do so online at www.kimptonintouch.com .
Given that I received the email first thing in the morning, I wasn’t fully awake yet, so I turned to Josh for help. “What do I like?” I asked him.
Without looking up from his coffee, he replied, “single malt scotch, barbeque chips, chocolate and caramel, artisanal cheeses.”
I dutifully entered that information into the form and sent it back to Kimpton. Since we were arriving that day, I had a feeling that my preferences wouldn’t be noted before I arrived at the hotel. However, I was interested to see what kind of amenities we would receive, because Hottie had booked a room using a special travel industry code. Sure enough, when we arrived at the hotel, we were warmly welcomed by a super friendly woman named Cindi. Turns out she was the hotel manager, who happened to be working the counter that night. She happily told us that it was her pleasure to offer us an upgrade to a King Spa Suite. Of course, we happily accepted. She then detailed all the amenities we would receive simply for being Inner Circle members (as I suspected, my preferences weren’t yet noted in the system, so she was referring simply to the amenities available to all Inner Circle members). We got a $10 coupon to “raid the minibar,” complimentary wireless internet, and $30 off in-room spa services. She also informed us that there was a nightly wine reception in the lobby, and a daily coffee and tea service each morning.
Our room was great. We decided that we were fine sleeping in a King bed together (we’ve been friends since fourth grade), but just in case one of us needed her own space, there was also a pull-out couch. Another fabulous feature of our room was a huge jacuzzi tub (yay! love a long soak after a busy day).
As soon as we walked into our room, the phone rang. It was Cindi from the front desk. Was everything okay up in our room? Yes, we loved it. Just to let them know, however, once of the lights next to the bed was flickering in a strange way. Not a big deal for us, but they might want to have that info.
Within seconds, an engineer named Mike was knocking on our door. He quickly and handily fixed the flickering in a super-thorough way: moving our bed away from the wall, inspecting the wires, checking the base of the lamp, and finally replacing the bulb. He then asked us what kind of wine we preferred, as he was having a complimentary bottle sent up to our room “for our trouble.” We actually laughed out loud at this offer, because it had really been no trouble at all, but he insisted, so we asked for white and invited him to join us for a drink. (He declined as he was still on the clock).
In a flurry of fabulousness, the bottle of wine arrived, we got another phone call reminding us of the wine reception downstairs, and as filled our glasses and toasted the start of our weekend, I decided that Kimpton really is “all that.” In other words, Kimpton’s “boutique” branding is genuine and well-deserved, and they treat their guests like guests. So far, every detail of our stay has been top-notch, and I would pay cash to stay here versus at a big hotel chain where I could stay for free.
So I’m just wondering – am I just late to this party, or has Kimpton always been this amazing?