My stay at the Le Méridien Angkor started out wonderfully. It then devolved into the most surreal and downright terrifying experience I've ever had at a hotel. When I later met with the general manager, he commented that in his 22 years of working in the industry, this was an incident he'd never even heard of.
I arrived at the Le Méridien Angkor around early evening, and was immediately taken by the beautiful lobby area. The high ceilings and modern, yet stately, architecture really made for a good first impression. Check-in was smooth, as I was asked to relax in the sitting area while they prepared the paperwork. A cold welcome drink was also served.
I was very satisfied with the Le Méridien Angkor throughout the four-night stay... that is, until the day prior to my departure. I had arrived back at the hotel early, after the last day of touring Angkor Wat, and I had planned on spending a quiet afternoon reading in my room. It turned out to be anything but.
I took a quick shower first, and was still completely naked in the bathroom when I suddenly heard a loud knock on my door. At first, I didn't bother answering since I remembered putting the privacy hanger on outside. However, a second, even louder, knock followed immediately. At that point, I managed to yell out, "I'm in the bathroom, come back later!" But before I could even finish my sentence, the door swung wide open and I was face to face with a male hotel employee.
Of course, I instantly covered up my privates with my hand as best I could, and just sort of stood there shell-shocked for about three seconds. The next couple of minutes are now just a blur in my head, but I do remember shouting out a few sentences resembling "What the hell are you doing?!" and "Get out of my room!" Logically, any hotel employee faced with this type of situation would have backed out immediately and shut the door right? Well, that's not what happened. In fact, he proceeded to yell back "I need to check mini-bar!" and barged straight into the room, while I was standing in the bathroom - naked.
All I remember was screaming at him to get out, but he just kept walking into the hallway towards the bedroom and yelling back that he was going to check the mini-bar. I was now becoming hysterical, throwing out all sorts of curse words, but nothing was working. This guy would not leave. Next thing I knew, he appeared in front of the open window between the bedroom and bathroom, staring straight at me while I was still covering my privates with my hands. I literally screamed at the top of my lungs, "I'M NAKED, GET THE #@*% OUT OF MY ROOM!" Yet he just kept pointing at the mini-bar, saying he needed to check it.
Maybe it was the sound of my ear-splitting voice filling the entire hotel floor, or perhaps I looked like I was about to clock him in the face, but the employee finally started to walk himself back towards the front door. I was able to get a towel wrapped around me and made a beeline for the telephone while telling him that I was calling security. My heart was still pounding at this point and my hands were shaking, but I picked up the phone and dialed the front desk.
The employee still had not left my room and was now standing at the entrance with the door propped open, begging me to not call. I screamed at him to shut the door at least three more times before it finally closed. After someone picked up the phone, I let loose a profanity-laced stream of consciousness that probably sounded more like someone having a psychotic episode than a guest making a complaint. But I eventually got the fact across that an employee had barged into my room while I was naked and had refused to leave. I demanded to speak with the general manager immediately, but I could tell she became nervous very quickly. She said she would call back in ten minutes.
Ten minutes passed and nothing. By now, I was still shaking from the anger, but I had regained a bit of composure. I called back and was resolute in demanding to speak to the general manager. I felt like she was playing games, saying that she was still trying and that she'd call back later. Right after I hung up, there was a knock at the door. When I opened it, a female employee, most likely the floor supervisor, started apologizing profusely. Perhaps if another hour had passed and I was in the right state of mind, I would have just let it go. But the adrenaline was pumping and I was still furious with what happened. Again, I demanded to see the general manager.
After a few more minutes with no sign of a phone call, I decided to go downstairs to the lobby and make my intentions clear. However, before I even reached the stairs, I ran into a large group of employees huddled around a senior-looking gentleman in the midst of a discussion. He stopped me and introduced himself as the assistant general manager. I firmly recounted the situation to him and stated that it was simply unacceptable for something like this to happen at any hotel, let alone a Le Méridien. Unfortunately, his response infuriated me even more, since it in no way resembled anything close to an apology. In fact, he proceeded to state that there needed to be an investigation to find out what exactly happened. Seeing that I was getting nowhere with him, I told him if he wasn't going to help, I would go downstairs and demand to see the general manager instead. Which is exactly what I did.
I charged down the stairs, with an entire contingency of hotel employees and the assistant general manager chasing after me. I went straight to the front desk and said in a loud and clear voice that I would like to see the general manager. Not wanting to cause a scene, the assistant general manager assured me that he would immediately ask the general manager to come out and see me, but that he was "injured" and would need some time. To be frank, I didn't believe him.
About ten minutes later, an older gentleman in crutches came hobbling out to the lobby, and I genuinely felt terrible about it. Maybe at that moment, I was knocked back into a sense of reality and my hot temper was finally diffused. The general manager's demeanor also helped immensely. He was calm and collected, with his first words to me being that he had heard about what happened, and no matter what the reason, there was no excuse for the hotel employee's behavior. I think that one remark set the tone for the entire conversation we had afterwards.
He listened intently while I detailed exactly what had transpired, and only stopped me at the end to say how sorry he was, and that he fully understood how violated I must have felt in the privacy of my own hotel room. Sensing that I was still a bit unsettled from the events, he suggested that I head up to my room to rest for a little while, and that he would meet with me at the Angkor Royal Cafe later in the afternoon. I agreed.
About two hours later, I went back downstairs and had a long and engaging chat with the general manager over coffee. He was extremely cordial and empathetic throughout the conversation, and I actually started to feel slightly embarrassed about the huge commotion I raised earlier. I even apologized for forcing him out of convalescence from his recent foot surgery. Finally, I told him that I certainly didn't want to see the employee fired for what happened. I understood that there was a misunderstanding, and he had simply entered the wrong room. The room whose mini-bar he needed to check was actually one floor directly above mine, and obviously nobody should have been inside at the time. In any case, he told me that the employee in question would clearly need to be retrained, and may be transferred to a different position for the time being.
Before I left, he offered to take care of the bill for my entire stay, including all meals and incidentals. Not only that, he would return the Starpoints I had used for my cash and points redemption as well. I was absolutely floored by his offer, and I felt a bit uncomfortable accepting it. He was emphatic about this resolution, however, so I thanked him profusely for the kind gesture.
I wasn't exactly sure how I should feel after returning to my room. Uneasy would probably be the best word I suppose. I began to realize how absolutely surreal and absurd the whole situation was. I simply could not believe something like this had just happened. On the bright side, I had perhaps the best hotel story of all time to tell my friends once I returned home!
And despite these crazy events, I would still recommend the Le Méridien Angkor in a heartbeat to anyone visiting Siem Reap. If anything, my positive experience with the general manager just solidified this view.