This wasn't really about a hotel stay, just a hotel fail..
For our wedding reception, DH and I chose a restaurant very near to where the ceremony was happening (we all walked between them) that was managed by the Novotel, a major chain hotel that I've had good experiences with in the past. We were planning on staying there the night before the wedding as well as some of the bridal party and using the rooms to get ready. Our room was arranged to be away from bridal party for the boys and my Mums, sisters and MOH were to be close to each other so I and the BMs could get ready. That's four rooms, one with late check out, one with check out at 11 and two that were going to stay an additional night.
We had a bit of drama with the staff in the planning. First they replaced the events manager which we didn't mind as it was still some way out to the wedding and we hadn't had the Big Meeting with everything we wanted to say. The second event manager was much more realistic than the first, told us the truth about the space we had booked and the few options we had in terms of seating, which ended up being one long banquet table that sat everyone except me and DH who were at a table for two.
We got the event scheduled down, when we wanted food brought out, when we wanted to have our speeches, the music, the PA system, that we wanted the cake displayed before being cut and served as well as the wristbands for drinks for our guests so they could go to the bar and have beer, wine and soft drinks. We also had some friends from the 501st who were going to escort us in costume between ceremony and reception. We asked for an empty conference room for them to change in and store their gear as well as a drink on us at the bar.
Two weeks before the wedding we got an email from the hotel food and beverage manager saying he was taking over management of our event. No explanation of where the event manager had gone. DH spoke to him, he seemed professional and we had the event plan anyway so we had nothing to worry about really...
Well, it started inauspiciously when DH and I checked in and we had my sisters and the MOH compare room numbers. They were in completely different parts of the hotel. This wouldn't have ben annoying if we hadn't specifically asked for the rooms to be together. MoH had only just arrived and hadn't unpacked so we got her room moved (a nicer and bigger room too), including the staff to move her luggage for her (which she initially protested a little, but she's just nice that way).
Our room was nice, rather big with a bath. Breakfast was average when it was brought up (DH eventually went on a Maccas run) but MOHs breakfast took ages after the time to arrive when I got to her room, and it was only toast. I had to convince her to get on the phone to get them bring it up for her.
While we were getting ready the 501st arrived and the front desk, whom we were told would expect them, had no idea who they were or even who we were and we were getting married that day. One if the guys pointed out the sign advertising our wedding (with DH's name spelled wrong!) and they were directed to the health club when they asked about the promised change and storage room. They ended up getting changed in the corridor of the hotel. We had no idea about this until afterwards, but it made "the list" of things we emailed about after.
At the restaurant, we did a little of our own decorating but the best man (a woman) rearranged our couples table while we were having photos taken after the ceremony as the chairs were at opposite ends of a 1.5m table when they were supposed to be next to each other.
Our entrance music to the reception was stuffed up as the staff couldn't work out how to work the stereo until one of the groomsmen suggested turning it on. The food and beverage manager, who was supposed to be running the event, left five minutes into the reception and left one of the waitresses in charge, which we didn't find out until well into the event that she was left in charge. We later found out he had a family emergency, but in those five minutes he talked to us he could have explained all of that and who was left in charge.
Our timings were ignored, they seemed to be waiting for us to okay food being sent out and didn't know about the gap we wanted between entrees and mains for speeches, so we postponed speeches until after mains. The PA system, which we'd paid money for, didn't work properly as every room in the restaurant was hearing the speeches except the one we were in.
The cake sat on the table for about half an hour after we cut it for photos until I asked one of the waitstaff when they were going to cut and serve it. She looked at me surprised and said she expected us to do that. Cut and serve a wedding cake ourselves for fifty people? There was a lot of cake left, or so I was told, so on the following Monday (wedding was on the Saturday) I went back and asked for the rest and was told it had been thrown out in case it spoiled. Firstly, it was a rich chocolate cake from an Italian style bakery (not what we ordered but that's a whole 'nother story), there was no way it was going to spoil in two days. And even if it had, they could have called us and told us that it was taking up space in their fridge I would have told them that I was coming in to pick it up.
We wrote a VERY long email after we got back from out honeymoon with everything on it that had gone wrong from the beginning and we got a few answers. We got half our cake money back (and between them and the bakery we got a free cake) as well as the full price of the PA system back. I'm not against the chain, just that one and I had looked forward to maybe going back to the restaurant for our anniversary one year, but the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth, even if it didn't ruin our wedding as I refused to let little things get us down.