- Ms. Kangaroo
- 10 years ago
- Wedding: July 2009
I thought about whether to write this post for a few days because I don’t want to come off sounding like the wedding guest from hell and overly critical. One reason I decided to go ahead and post it is because I would want someone to warn me if I was the one planning an event at this hotel. The fiancé’s cousin got married on a Sunday evening at the Carlton Hotel (also known as the Madison Carlton) at 29th and Madison in New York City. Another reason I wanted to write all this up is so that if you are planning an event at this hotel, you are able to possibly anticipate and solve some of the problems ahead of time because I honestly think this hotel could be a lovely place to have an event when they are on their game. Clearly in this case as you will see below, they were not.
We drove up from a city about 4.5 hours away and the first problem came when we pulled up outside. Not only was there no good place to idle the car, there were no hotel staffers to get the bags or direct us as to where we could check in. Granted it was very cold on this particular Sunday and I wouldn’t have wanted to stand outside, but Future Father-In-Law had to get out of the car, go inside, and inquire with the front desk what we should do with the car. He was informed to just wait and that someone would be with him within the next 10 or so minutes. This meant we had to hang out with the car outside until the one working parking attendant returned from getting another to get our car.
Our hotel room was nice. There was a big bathroom and lovely complementary robes which I appreciate. The wedding was Sunday evening at 5 in the ballroom downstairs. Upon arrival to the ceremony room, we noticed there was something wrong. Apparently the entire hotel was having trouble regulating their heating/cooling system and the room was like a sauna. The cocktail hour was then held in the hotel’s restaurant lounge which was closed to the public. While there was plenty of space, the hotel only provided 2 waiters for 100 people and both entered from one side of the room. Therefore those closest to the bar did not get any appetizers because the waiters never made it past the halfway point.
Onto dinner . . . the first course was lobster ravioli dish. Mine was completely undercooked and pretty much inedible. Fiancé’s had a piece of shell in it and multiple whole peppercorns so his teeth were less than happy. After the appetizer had been cleared the entire wait staff was just kind of standing around and were doing nothing. About half an hour goes by and the bride ended up having to go up to the head waiter and inquire about what was taking so long to serve the chicken dish.
(This next part is not exactly the hotel’s fault but I thought I would share it for comedy or tragedy depending on your view.) Along with his sister and her husband, Fiancé and I were sitting at the awkward everyone who doesn’t fit in anywhere else table which had some real winners. The people next to him started eating the food in the glass vase that was the center piece. Ok fine, I would possibly see how that’s forgivable if you’re starving and it had been 10 at night and we hadn’t already had a cocktail hour and first course. But these folks started chowing down on the grapes and then started cutting up and eating radishes. You could have picked the four of our jaws off the floor. It was ridiculous.
Back to the hotel, apparently the kitchen did not make enough dinner plates and they were waiting until they had enough to start serving anyone. Our table was one of the last to be served and one of the guests was in the restroom when the waiters finally came around. He very nicely went up to the waiter and said I believe you forgot to serve me. The waiter very rudely said well you weren’t at the table and we are out of food so you will have to wait. No apology, no scrambling to fix their mistake, nothing.
Once dinner was over, the dancing began. At some point, someone in the hotel exited the wrong door and set off the fire alarm. We did not have to evacuate but the alarm kept going off for the better part of 2 hours with strobe lights and blaring sirens. The DJ overcompensated and turned up the music so it was incredibly loud and nobody could talk to each other. Additionally, while the fire alarm was going off, guests were not allowed to go up to their rooms. Fiancé and I were not ready to leave, but by this time his parents and a lot of the other older guests had eaten their cake and had danced and were ready to be finished. The hotel staff, instead of informing us about the fire alarm restrictions yelled at Fiancé’s parents as they tried to go up to their room. Additionally, it was the hotel engineer who was trying to fix the fire alarm. They neglected to call the fire department until an hour after the alarm started going off.
Overall, I feel really badly for the bride and groom. They worked so hard to plan a nice family and friends oriented ceremony and you could tell how much effort went into them trying to make sure everyone had a nice experience. Each one of these malfunctions independent of each other would have probably been ok, but when combined together they equal a big fail on the part of the hotel. I sincerely hope that the bride’s family gets some sort of major compensation.