Reviewed By Hilz
A smart long envelope arrived from Amsterdam the other day – intriguing! Although I had been expecting a Hotelgift voucher to arrive, I didn’t expect it to be international and was impressed by its speed. Upon opening it revealed a black sleeve embossed with the gold Hotelgift name and logo and the tagline ‘memories last forever’. Inside this was a full sized gold coloured doorhanger – the type that you would have to hang outside your hotel room on the door to say things like ‘do not disturb’,‘please make up the room’, ‘champagne and croissants for breakfast please’! The door hanger also has a map image in relief upon it, which inspires happy thoughts of travel. On the reverse are the inviting words ‘checking in to new memories starts here’. Then on mine there is a photo of an American red truck with a Christmas tree in the back driving home through the city with Santa Claus and his reindeers flying through the sky above and in addition to that a personalised note as well! –
‘To Hilary, enjoy the gift of making memories
Love, the experience gift team x’
Underneath this lower down are details of the voucher code, where to redeem it and then a note that it’s valid for two years after purchase. Plus the amount that the card has been loaded with in GB pounds. The gift voucher can be personalised with your own photo and own wording. It can also be sent as a printable PDF or eGift- both also personalised if preferred for speed etc. The Hotelgift company pledges to provide 1,000 L of clean drinking water to families in poverty overseas for every gift voucher purchased. This is quite impressive and simply adds to the feel-good factor. It came at an opportune time for us as we were planning to visit family for Christmas Day, about an hour and a half travel away, and we thought it would be nice to stay in a hotel which we know which is only five minutes taxi ride from them. It’s a Marriott hotel and I had noticed immediately that this was one of the many brands advertised as being available on Hotelgift. I went online onto the Hotelgift website and tapped in my voucher code. I was then invited to put down details of where I wanted to go and what dates so I did. A small number of hotels came up as available but not the Marriott one which we wanted – which is the only one close enough to make it worthwhile. So I went on the Marriott site to double-check if there is availability for Christmas Day night and there is so this caused me some confusion. I tried again to find our Hotel, specifying it, but still no joy, so I looked for help. On the website there is a ‘contact us’ facility and so I typed in the details of my query explaining that I wanted to book that Marriott for that night and that I knew they had availability and waited for a response. I had an email immediately saying that they were onto it and that I would hear back from somebody within 24 hours and interestingly saying ‘happiness guaranteed’ – sounded good! It took them about 12 hours to get back to me, which was the middle of the night, but I got the email first thing the next morning. It explained that they are a third-party agency and do not have access to all the hotel rooms available. It was a pleasant and helpful email, but possibly not written by someone for whom English is their first language. Not that this is usually a problem, but there was one phrase in there which was a little bit too ‘business-like’ rather than ‘friendly and helpful’ . So we were disappointed
I had also asked whether I could also use Marriott rewards points to make up the difference in the payment needed – this query was not answered which again was a bit disappointing even though I then assumed it meant that no we could not do that. Another issue on the website is that each hotel came up with a price in Euros not pounds. I tried to find somewhere where I could change the currency but initially there seemed to be no option on the website to do it – at least I couldn’t see it – so I emailed them about it . Turned out that there is an option to change the currency but my phone view meant that I couldn’t spot it for ages. This could be the case for other folk too as lots of us use our phones for everything and not tablets or laptops . As we don’t have any other trips coming up soon and unfortunately restrictions seem to be closing in right now I don’t have another hotel night to book that I can attempt to use the voucher for before submitting this review. However, as an overall assessment of the voucher, bearing in mind my disappointments with the specific hotel availability and the simple currency glitch – I would still thoroughly recommend this product as a gift. I expect that if I hadn’t needed to be so specific and could have chosen one of the other hotels that it would have been a smooth process. I certainly know that it was an absolutely lovely experience to receive the voucher in the first place and expect everyone would feel the same. I generally dislike giving vouchers because they seem so impersonal but this one is very different –
A personal message, a personal photo, and the sort of wording that gets you excited and anticipatory about a lovely trip away
I would recommend this as a great Christmas gift for him or her or indeed for any occasion!
Rating: Four stars out of five
This product can be purchased from Hotelgift.com here.