Mumbai Rains: InterContinental Hotel Allegedly Throws out Guests

The hotel management told aggrieved guests point blank that it was about earning extra revenue.

Updated01 Sep 2017, 12:03 PM IST
3 min read

Even as Mumbai drowned on the night of 29 August and reports of Mumbaikars lending a helping hand to each other abounded, guests at the five-star InterContinental Marine Drive Mumbai had a very different story to tell. Adjunct Professor at Columbia Journalism School, Yogi Trivedi took to social media to share how he, along with some others, were thrown out of their rooms by the hotel management to make place for four politicians and their retinue.

The guests had no choice but to spend the night in the lobby with the hotel refusing to even provide them with sheets or towels. When Trivedi confronted the management, the General Manager told him point blank that it was all about revenue and that this was how the InterContinental Mumbai operates. Check out his post here:

I rarely use my social media presence to complain about my otherwise privileged life and travels. Never, really. Today I speak, however, because I am surprised by how natural it is for humans to go back on their word to make an extra buck. When the entire city of Mumbai is floating under water. This fine five star institution and it's management is double-booking and pushing out its guests to make a few thousand rupees on some rooms. It is making room for local politicians and government officials who are looking for an excuse to use taxpayer money in a time of calamity And when I called out the General Manager on taking advantage of us and other guests, he said, "That's how it is. It's all about the revenue. I don't care what my staff promised you, told you. That's not how it works. We have given your rooms away. It is how we make a buck. You can sit in the lobby and have a coffee. I don't know what else to say to you. I am sorry that you feel that we have strong-armed you. This is how we function." His staff stood there looking at me in the eyes and lying in front of their boss to save their jobs. On his orders, they refused to offer the students a pillow or a blanket. Heck, not even a towel to cover themselves as they slept I can appreciate how we are a lot better off than many folks in Mumbai and Houston. I am grateful, we are. So why complain? No, not complain, but to reflect on the human condition One human being made the decision to make others suffer, to deceive, so that he could put a penny in the pocket of some rich tycoon who probably doesn't know his name. More than a dozen people decided to support that lie for it secures their present and future. How easy it is for us to look out for ourselves even if that means that others will misread our community, people, and nation. I also learned about human resiliency and journalistic passion. It's not all about five star hotels and yummy meals. My fellows responded exactly how I expected them to--with dignity, courage, and tolerance. How easily the tide turns--from the sea view suite to the floor of the main lobby. #intercontinental #ihgrewards #mumbai #marinedrive

A post shared by Yogi Trivedi (@thelifeofayogi) on

Veteran journalist Vir Sanghvi tagged InterContinental Marine Drive on Twitter asking them to respond to the allegation. The hotel has not responded yet. Sanghvi also shared how the hotel had done the same thing during the 2005 Mumbai floods.

The Quint reached out to Hotel InterContinental via e-mail seeking their response to Trivedi’s allegation. Here is the reply:

The city has experienced a heavy downpour since early hours of Tuesday, and like everyone else in Mumbai, our hotel has also been affected. Under the current circumstances, safety and comfort of our guests and colleagues is top priority for us. Our team is working persistently to make sure all our guests feel safe and as comfortable as possible. We can confirm that no politicians were staying at our hotel during the night in question.
Spokesperson, InterContinental Marine Drive

This was what happened according to InterContinental Marine Drive.

Mr Trivedi and the accompanying guests had a great stay at the hotel during the week of the 22nd of August. On the 29th of August, he amended his check out till 10 pm of the same date, which was accommodated. Upon check out the guest paid the due charges, including the half day charges for 29th August which he had used, and was given a receipt for the same. Unfortunately, the train services for the guests’ onward journey were suspended when he reached the railway station. The guest and his colleagues came back to the hotel, at which stage, the hotel was genuinely sold out and could not accommodate rooms for their stay. We have confirmed that there is no reservation confirmation or record of commitment stating that rooms had been booked for the guest again, post their check out. While there were no politicians that were accommodated last minute that night, it was not possible to remove sleeping guests from their rooms to accommodate Mr Trivedi. Given the weather outside, the hotel staff tried it’s best to accommodate all the guests in the hotel’s lobby overnight, and made them feel safe and as comfortable as possible. The guests were also offered refreshments in the lobby, on a complimentary basis. At 8 am the following morning, the guests were offered a complimentary breakfast and a complimentary room thereafter to freshen up before their departure from Mumbai. We hope this clarifies the situation.
Spokesperson, InterContinental Marine Drive

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Published: 30 Aug 2017, 10:56 AM IST
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