An unpleasant experience at Orchard Hotel

It might have been due to the (previous) job hazard, that I take┬áservice provided by the F&B / Tourism industry seriously – think Singapore Experience Award.

The last time I was at Orchard Hotel was 11 years ago, thus I had no past experience to compare against. But with the many events I’ve attended in the past years, this must be the most unpleasant one I encountered.

Was at Orchard Hotel last night to attend a wedding dinner. Never did I expect it to be such a bad experience.

Chipped plate

First was this chipped decorative plate I noticed the moment I was seated. While I agree that it is not possible to notice all of such chips if it’s one of its kind, this is not the only chipped plate at the table I was seated at. At least 2 other plates suffered the same fate, one of which had a bigger chip. 30% of the plates were chipped, how difficult is it not to notice them?

My table was seated before the door was officially opened for all guests to be seated. The next thing I knew, was the decorative flowers on the tables being removed BEFORE the door was opened. I thought it was weird, because decoratives are there to beautify / bring up the atmosphere when the guests arrive right? In all the dinners that I’ve attended, such decoratives were removed only when there were at least 40% of the guests seated at the table or when the banquet is about to start. But to be removed prior to the arrival of guests is just.. weird.

When guests arrived, the staff should start serving drinks right? No that didn’t happen. So we waited a while, thinking they are busy (which I think they were since they kept running around). Finally ordered our drinks after we’re seated for a good 10mins. And the drinks took another 5mins to arrive. We had a kid at the table, so we requested for kids’ cutlery and a glass of warm water for the kid. 5 minutes. 10 minutes. Didn’t come. So we tried again with another waiter. 5 mins it still didn’t come. What’s wrong huh? It came only after we requested with a 3rd waiter. And FYI, the door still hasn’t opened at this point of time.

It’s normal behavior for guests to take a glimpse at the menu right? This was what the next table saw.

Dinner Menu

But.. my friends’ names aren’t Elvis & Wendy! I almost thought I went to the wrong banquet. These belonged to the couple next door! How bad can it get? I can make do with the above boo-boos, but this is a big no-no. How can such mistakes be made?

So the dinner started. Service till the 4th/5th dish was pretty much ok – I’ve lowered my expectations from those boo-boos. Plates were changed after every dish (well almost). Then the next hiccup had to occur. All the changed plates were still wet – which was ok, might be fresh out from the dish washer. But the plate wasn’t clean! If I were a demanding customer, I’d have flared by now.

Dessert was sago with mango puree. The waiter was distributing into the individual bowls, while some of us talked about desserts in HK – like how SG’s cannot be compared at all. Suddenly I heard the ladle knocked onto the big bowl and the waiter went off. Maybe he was done scooping but┬áthis was what we saw.

Look at the state of the bowls and the table.

Look at the state of the bowls and the table. The individual bowls weren’t even half filled. Big bowl was still full. Table was.. unsightly. What? What happened?

The dessert wasn’t fantastic by the way.

If the banquet manager saw this post, I can expect the following response from them:
– not enough staff as there was another wedding banquet next door
– service staff are new
– not easy to get part-timers

To be in this industry, service is important. I’m pretty sure the hotel did not receive this banquet request only the day before. It is the hotel’s responsibility to ensure that service is of a certain quality – especially when Orchard Hotel is managed by the Millenium Hotels Group. Where’s the standard? I see none at all.

Pretty sad with this experience, and I know for sure I will not be back again. Nor will I recommend this to anyone who is planning to hold a wedding.