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Warning - WinkingFrog guesthouse Phnom Penh

  • worldnomad

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2005
    Posts: 5

    What rates as absolutely terrible customer service and hotel stay?

    How about being woken up early in the morning by construction that is shaking the walls and so loud that you can't even carry on a conversation? How about no running water in the room? How about the owner of the hotel just shrugging and saying it doesn't matter what you think?

    There is a fairly new guesthouse and pub in Phnom Penh called the WinkingFrog. It has attractively priced budget rooms and is located near the russian embassy - but you might want to think twice about ever staying here.

    My friend and I checked into two rooms at the WinkingFrog, planning to stay several nights. But were woken up the next morning by the sledge hammer construction down the hall that was shaking and jarring the walls. My friend couldn't even hear me knocking on the door it was so loud, and it was difficult to even talk to each other.

    We walked down the hall, crunching over cement dust and chips, past some lounging construction workers and made our ways downstairs. The owner was in the pub working at his computer and we broached the subject of some inconveniences with our stay...

    Wall rattling construction, no running water in the rooms, no toilet paper or soap (not that it mattered as there was no water)... He really just didn't care, just shrugged and barely looked up from his computer and told us we would find the same at any guesthouse in town??!! Which was a laughable thing for him to say.

    But, he had saved the best for last... When we told him that we had a terrible stay and we would tell everyone we knew not to stay there - he again shrugged and said "It doesn't matter, we get new travelers in here all the time - it doesn't matter what you think."

    Our jaws fairly dropped! Hopefully it does matter and by getting the word out hopefully there won't be an endless stream of sheep filling his coffers.

    #1 Posted: 3/10/2009 - 17:30

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  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
    1st March, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 563

    Construction is normal in hotels and guesthouses. No one shuts down for renovation, work begins at normal working hours and lasts a normal day. This is all regular stuff.

    Being upset works to your disadvantage, I would have found out where the hot water was in the place, taken a shower, and gone out to find a bowl of soup for breakfast.

    Another day in South East Asia.

    #2 Posted: 3/10/2009 - 19:37

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Well done worldnomad. If more people like you posted like this there would be a better attitude by some owners who take people for granted.
    As regards this being normal in asia!!! ?????
    Sure every business has to expand and this can involve construction but it is normal to receive some sort of apology and help to overcome the difficulties, even in Asia.
    I always check around first to make sure there is no work afoot.If there is ...there are plenty of other places.

    #3 Posted: 3/10/2009 - 20:28

  • williamtayl-
    or

    Click here to learn more about williamtaylor
    Joined Travelfish
    9th June, 2009
    Location Japan
    Posts: 29

    "It doesn't matter, we get new travelers in here all the time - it doesn't matter what you think."

    Apparently this guy is completely ignorant of the power of the internet.

    #4 Posted: 3/10/2009 - 20:36

  • Thewinkingf-
    rog

    Joined Travelfish
    5th October, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Worldnomad as to your comments you were told that there was building work going on for one day they started at 9.30am and it was finished at 4pm the room they were working in was all covered up so your commets are as false as you are and i did say sorry to you i think you should do a search on the winking frog and see the comments left by other guests that have stayed here,as to the water and toilet paper it again must have been only you as the other 29rooms seem to be ok and some of the guests have been here for months,

    #5 Posted: 5/10/2009 - 11:23

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'your commets are as false as you'
    nothing like the assurance of good old customer service.Sounds like you've hit a nerve worldnomad.
    ...and he charges 3 dollars for a bowl of bobo!

    #6 Posted: 5/10/2009 - 14:32

  • jfxberns

    Joined Travelfish
    15th September, 2006
    Posts: 3

    Ahhh. Interesting replies.

    I am the friend that stayed across the hall from World Nomad.

    Here's my take on the situation...

    The noise did indeed start at 9:01 sharp. I remember looking at the clock and thinking "Who on God's earth would let construction workers wake their guests up at 9:01 in the morning when they are on their vacation?" Honestly I expected somebody to rush upstairs and tell the construction workers to stop... but the pounding just went on and on and on...

    And it was not trivial noise to be sure. It was sledge hammers swung at full-strength to take down dividing walls. It literally made the floor bounce.

    To be quite honest, it was not the noise that bothered me--it was the attitude of the innkeeper that made me pack and leave.

    Yes, we were told there was going to be construction happening that day--but we were told at about 2:00 AM when we came back to the guesthouse, not at check in and we were told that it would start at 10:00 AM which is an hour more of luxurious sleep when you are on YOUR VACATION.

    10:00 AM I could have lived with, or 9:00 today and a "My apologies, 9:00 AM is a bit early, I probably should ask them to start later tomorrow."

    But no. I was surprised that the response was all about how it was not that early, about how he was renovating and noise was unavoidable and a litany of excuses focusing on his problems. It was all about him and it seemed that the problems his customers were having did not much factor into the equation.

    When I mentioned to him that, although he had renovation that he wanted to do, he did have customers that were on vacation and that they had some expectation of getting a good night sleep and then some--they were, after all, on their vacation--his litany progressed to the absurd with statements like "Every guest house in Cambodia has construction, go see for yourself, they won't be any quieter!"

    Two strikes. A loud guesthouse? I can and have lived with that. A nutty innkeeper? Been there, done that and not been particularly phased by it.

    What really annoyed me was his attitude that the customer does not matter; that one customer is dispensable and can be disposed of with arrogance and callousness. When he said "they all have construction" I deigned to disagree and he said "fine, go find another place, I have a group of 20 coming this weekend, it doesn't matter to me."

    That and that alone is the reason I left. If the management of an institution thinks of it's customers as a disposable item, that their concerns don't have merit that they need not be listened to, that their concerns are not worth empathy, much less action, then they will never get my money.

    The funny part is I was part of a rather large group that was planning to stay there that weekend... needless to say, we didn't. One email and everybody moved to a new guesthouse down the street.

    A word to the wise innkeeper: there is no such thing as an isolated traveler that comes and then disappears. We are living in a connected world and opinions and experiences have a life of their own and stick around a lot longer than the guest does.

    Somsai:

    "Construction is normal in hotels and guesthouses. No one shuts down for renovation, work begins at normal working hours and lasts a normal day. This is all regular stuff."

    No, it's not normal, it's the exception. Many hotels / guesthouses do shut down for major renovation--or shut down a floor, or start late... to accommodate their guests. At least the ones that care about their customers comfort do.

    "Being upset works to your disadvantage, I would have found out where the hot water was in the place, taken a shower, and gone out to find a bowl of soup for breakfast."

    And you are welcome to do that if you find yourself in that situation. Me, I don't expect to search for hot water, I expect that it would be in the bathroom right were it should be.

    These are personal opinions and personal choices. We handled the situation as we saw fit. Nobody was upset and it was not to our disadvantage; We moved to a hotel (with no noise at all) that was quite a bit nicer for not much more money. I would say the move was a win.

    I would hope this incident was an aberration and not the norm, however I do see shades of the arrogance I mention above in the innkeeper's reply to World Nomad and that seems to reinforce the fact that he does have a "the customer is not only always wrong but a fool, a liar and should be set straight" attitude.

    Now, to be fair, I did have the "Big Breakfast" (2 Egg any style - 2 Gammon Steaks - Bubble and Squeak - Black Pudding - Friend Bread - Sausage - Beans - Toast - Jam US$6.00); it was quite tasty and an excellent value.

    #7 Posted: 8/10/2009 - 02:16

  • jfxberns

    Joined Travelfish
    15th September, 2006
    Posts: 3

    On re-reading the innkeepers reply I do have to set the record straight:

    "Worldnomad as to your comments you were told that there was building work going on for one day they started at 9.30am and it was finished at 4pm the room they were working in was all covered up so your commets are as false as you are and i did say sorry to you"

    We were told that there was construction work happening the next day starting at 10:00 AM, not when it would finish and not how many days it would last.

    The rooms were not covered up. They had taken the drop clothes that covered the openings the previous night, down and there was a considerable amount of dust. Not that the dust bothered me in the least, I just don't like the innkeep calling him a liar when he was straigh-up telling it like it was.

    And as for saying sorry: those words never passed your lips, I am sorry to say. If they had I would have been inclined to say "hey, stuff happens, I understand."

    #8 Posted: 8/10/2009 - 02:27

  • AliceInAsia

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd October, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Thank you for this post. I was going to book my friends to stay at the Winking Frog in December but now won't.

    Winking Frog- your defensive and rude response on this forum says everything!

    #9 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 07:23

  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
    1st March, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 563

    9:01 in the morning! Oh the horror!

    9 o'clock is actually a late start, and yes there is construction all over asia, if you haven't noticed you haven't spent long in Asia yet. And yup, the hot water doesn't run sometimes. If you can't learn to go with the flow, you're never going to learn to appreciate asia, your going to spend your time fighting a whole continent just because it doesn't resemble the comforting warmth of your mums bossom.

    I thought the inn keep was an Asian, they avoid any sort of confrontation absolutely. Getting angry and being demanding shuts off all English, and people just disappear. But it doesn't matter you can bad mouth frogy man all up and down the internet and if it affects 1% of the people he turns away daily because the place is full I'd be suprised.

    Out till 2 and grouchy in the morning? The older I get the more respect I have for people who do difficult work, being an inn keep of a place frequented by flashpeckers has to be one of the more thankless jobs I haven't done.

    #10 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 08:30

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  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2363
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    somsai, what's a bossom? ;-)

    seriously though, i think it is a mistake to discount a place just because of an angry review by one person or group. i didn't find any reviews of Winking Frog on Travelfish, but i found several on other websites, and with the exception of the same negative review posted elsewhere by worldnomad, the feedback was all quite positive. get it? on balance, the good comments about WF far outweight this one bad one.

    if worldnomad were a regular contributor here i'd probably give more weight to the review. but as it is, and particularly since he posted the same hatchet job comments on other sites, it really seems like this is just someone with an axe to grind trying to get even for a bad experience. that's bad juju.

    i've witnessed more than my share of these incidents travelling around asia, and for the most part i've usually thought that the red-faced tourist was at mostly at fault, often times simply for not having realistic expectations. i don't often agree with somsai ;-), but in this case i absolutely agree that 9 am isn't all that early in a place like Cambodia.

    #11 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 10:52

  • Husko

    Joined Travelfish
    13th October, 2007
    Posts: 34

    As someone who investigates options before travelling to SEA as things change so quickly, you would be naive to base a judgement on a hotel because of 1 review, or an outdated review. Right or wrong the review reeks of hangover - I use Aspro Clear, at about 6.30am, then another hour or so's sleep and you feel a lot better!! :)

    One thing I have learnt about travelling in Asia is smile smile smile! That said if I were staying at the Royale then I would be PO'd. but for what $15, $20, $30 so be it.

    It sux to have a bad experience such as yours so just go somewhere else and don't spoil your VACATION!!

    #12 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 15:23

  • jfxberns

    Joined Travelfish
    15th September, 2006
    Posts: 3

    I think the point here is not that there was noise early in the morning or dust... hey, it's SE Asia and **** happens. If you travel around here for a while you learn to deal with it and keep smiling just like Husko says....

    Hey--don't even bother to read what I said or what WorldNomad said about The Winking Frog; just read The Winking Frog owner's reply and I think you see what the problem is.

    Does the owner's reply sound like it comes from a caring individual who is concerned about his customers and will go out of his way to make their stay pleasant--or does it sound like it comes from an individual that despises his customers and blames the customer for the problem?

    #13 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 21:21

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2363
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    i did read the owner's comments. as i saw it the owner said three things. first, he disagreed with your claim that you were not told of the construction and how the construction was handled. that sounds like a simple miscommunication.

    second, he said that he did say he was sorry at the time.

    third, it (correctly) pointed out that the overwhelming majority of online reviews for the property (every one i read in fact, except yours) was positive.

    as for the tone of the owners post? i was assuming that he is not a native english speaker, so i wouldn't necessarily expect him to be as well spoken as you obviously are.

    i don't doubt that you had a bad experience, but in the same way that you've inferred quite a bit about the owner's negative attitudes from his words, i've inferred quite a few about yours as well.

    i can see why you'd want to post a review to warn people about a possible problem. that's reasonable. but the good news is that your comments seem to be in the minority and this very well have just been a one-off bad day at WF. why not just share your views and let it go?

    #14 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 22:30

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Exacto
    'as for the tone of the owners post? i was assuming that he is not a native english speaker, so i wouldn't necessarily expect him to be as well spoken as you obviously are.'
    He's English and his name is Derek.
    and he did say above
    'your commets(sic) are as false as you,' which isn't very polite.
    So I get the feeling there was a bit of a confrontation.
    Not a wise move if you are running a business.
    As for that old chesnut, ''nobody else has complained'', well they have now.

    #15 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 23:20

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Exacto
    'as for the tone of the owners post? i was assuming that he is not a native english speaker, so i wouldn't necessarily expect him to be as well spoken as you obviously are.'
    He's English and his name is Derek.
    and he did say above
    'your commets(sic) are as false as you,' which isn't very polite.
    So I get the feeling there was a bit of a confrontation.
    Not a wise move if you are running a business.
    As for that old chesnut, ''nobody else has complained'', well they have now.

    #16 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 23:22

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2363
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    fair enough. yes, not very polite. then again, i don't really believe in the "customer is always right" ethos either, (sometimes they are right, but just as often not) and i suppose i wouldn't necessarily react well to an angry person threatening my livlihood either.

    sayadian, do you have personal experience with WF as well or are your comments based on the complaints posted above?

    #17 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 01:32

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    No, I don't know this guy personally although I am a part-time resident of Phnom Penh.I think if I was in the owner's position I'd have just let it go. By posting the above I think he just inflammed the situation and has done himself no favours.After all, you are right most of the reviews are positive.On the other hand I wouldn't want to dicourage anyone from posting a negative review.some of the comments above get a bit personal and might put others off posting their views.By the way where do you get the impression that worldnomad acted angrily.If he just complained it is so easy to diffuse the situation by making sure the customer has his soap, running water etc.If there was no running water I think worldnomad was entitled to some compensation.
    Anyway, I'll be back in PP in 2 weeks so maybe I'll check the place out and post my impressions (for what their worth:))

    #18 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 01:57

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    edit: should read 'for what they're worth'

    #19 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 01:58

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    edit: should read 'for what they're worth'

    #20 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 02:00

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2363
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    sayadian,

    i agree with you that WF didn't do himself any favors with that reply. where i got that impression nomads acted in anger was from the threat where "he was going to tell everyone he knew not to stay there" and then making good on that threat and more by posting negative reviews on at least two websites. nomads went so far as to create a TF account exclusively to post a negative review.

    anyway, i really can't know what happened at who was at fault, although from the above posts it seems like neither party was above the fray. odd though that nomads and his mate, so far anyway, seems to be the only ones who had anything negative to say about WF. either way, voting with their feet and redirecting their friends seems like sufficient punishment for the crime.

    it's ironic, since as far as i can tell WF isn't listed on TF, which means that this thread drew extra attention to the place. any chance this was an evil plot to get free publicity? probably not, huh?

    i would be interested in your impressions of WF when you are in PP the next time. cheers.

    #21 Posted: 23/10/2009 - 03:22

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I know it's been a long time but suggest you check out this posting on Khmer440
    http://www.khmer440.com/chat_forum/viewtopic.php?t=13495
    Maybe worldnomad had a point.

    A bad week all round as one of the favourite bars on the lake in Phnom Penh 'The magic sponge'was trashed last week by an angry Khmer crowd.
    With the muder of an Australian in Sihanoukville over Xmas on top of that.
    Is crime getting out of hand in Cambodia?

    #22 Posted: 11/1/2010 - 21:15

  • worldnomad

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2005
    Posts: 5

    I've been busy awhile so haven't gotten back here and thought I should clarify a few points. Sorry if I came across as 'having an axe to grind' that was not my intent.

    I do agree with Somsai and Exacto on several points, especially that one bad stay or review should not be the basis for discounting a hotel. My initial post could have been worded more diplomatically to set a more constructive environment.

    Construction and unexpected problems can be fairly common while traveling and I didn't really have a problem with it nor should it be a reason to downgrade a hotel. It was the handling of the situation by the owner that I felt was inappropriate and should be brought to the attention of other travelers. I was also hoping the owner could take some criticism and know he needed to make some changes to his customer service.

    I'm actually sorry to hear there has been such problems at the WF. While I had a bad stay there, I don't wish ill will on anyone. The place was actually fairly good value for the money and if there weren't problems we would have probably been happy customers. The owner however escalated the situation from having inconvenienced customers to upset customers.

    'Being upset works to your disadvantage' - I agree, and if you knew me you would know that I take most things in stride and rarely get upset. We actually weren't really upset when we went to talk to the owner - more wanting to get information and let him know I didn't have water. That his handling of the situation and lack of any customer service caused us to get upset is the real problem.

    Many hotels can be fairly comparable based on their rooms and prices and I think one of the main criteria for judging if a hotel rises above or falls below others is their customer service. If a place has terrible customer service, then I think it should be reported - just as much as if a place has great customer service then it should be reported as well.

    The problem with WF is a moot point now, but I think some of the issues brought up in this thread apply to hotel reviews in general.

    #23 Posted: 11/1/2010 - 23:10

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