Update: Club Mahindra responds.
Earlier this year, in spite of a lot of negative reviews from both family and friends, we decided to go ahead and get a Club Mahindra membership. In Preethika’s words, that was her gift to me, since I prefer relaxed holidays while she likes to do a million things every day, and hence always on the move. The offer seemed enticing, the sales guy was very convincing, and so we took the plunge.
The problems started once the sale was over and we were ready to make use of the offers that we got along with the membership. Preethika and I decided to take a few days off to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary, which fall on 28th and 29th of May respectively. We picked Thekkady, from a list of Club Mahindra’s properties and tried reaching the sales executive to help us use the free stay offer.
Problem 1: After the sale, the sales executive started avoiding our calls for days
That was till we hammered him with calls and messages from multiple numbers. We assumed it was perhaps because he had other personal/work commitments and he was busy. In any case, after a week or so of chasing him, he got us our booking and we didn’t give it much thought. After all, everyone gets busy once in a while.
You may ask why we didn’t use their website/call centre for the booking. That was because he had told us during the sale that he will handhold us during the first year and that he will help us in getting rooms, even if it wasn’t available for our category of membership.
We made our travel arrangements, the date arrived, and we left, with our booking confirmations and free gift coupons in hand. Reached Thekkady early in the morning, checked in and went to the restaurant to have breakfast. That’s when we got our second shock.
Problem 2a: Food at Club Mahindra was much costlier than what we were promised the rates were during the sale process
During the Club Mahindra membership sale process, we were told that the food per person (all three meals included) at any Club Mahindra property will cost us ₹750. To our dismay, we found out that it costs around approximately ₹1600 per person (I can’t remember the exact figure), which is more than double of what we were planning to spend. Further, we also found out from the manager at the resort that the rates at Thekkady were amongst the lowest, and that other resorts like Coorg and Munnar were even more expensive.
We chose to have just the breakfast at Club Mahindra and decided to explore the city for lunch and dinner. Disaster struck again.
Problem 2b: The food just sucked
The spread included idli, dosa(live counter), parathas, some fresh fruits, and but for the fruits, everything else was bad. Did I just pay approximately ₹450 per person for this? Yes. Did I have a choice? No. We just ate what we could, paid up, gave our feedback in writing and left to explore the city. Obviously, we didn’t want this experience to hamper our stay, especially because that day was my birthday, and the next day was our anniversary.
Problem 2c: They tried making up for the food, it still sucked
On reading our note, the F&B manager offered us a complimentary dinner on the same night, which we politely declined. However, on his further insistence, we agreed to give their breakfast a try once again. Sadly, it was the same.
Luckily we chose Thekkady as the property. This is well within the city and therefore getting out and eating outside was no big a deal. To have chosen another Club Mahindra property in another city would have fumed us further spoiling the occasion that we were celebrating.
Problem 3: Swimming Pool? Yes. Attendants, No!
We used their pool twice, on two consecutive days. On the first day, we found cockroaches swimming along with us, and there was no Club Mahindra attendant or cleaner for a period of at least an hour to whom we could point this same out. We got out of the pool earlier than we would have liked. On the second day, we noticed someone cleaning the pool, and hence decided to jump in. Tried getting out, but there were no towels, and no one to ask/request for one.
BTW, have you heard of any hotel in which the swimming pool is unattended (no lifeguard)?
I have. At Club Mahindra Thekkady.
Problem 4: Amenities that they provided in the room (or didn’t?)
There were no water bottles in our room. Instead, they had placed a water jug which had been filled with water already. We had no clue if this was filled on that day or a few days before. Drinking purified water at a restaurant is one thing, but in the room, most of us prefer bottled water over anything when it comes to hotel rooms, and so did we. Also, a 32-inch TV in a really large room meant we couldn’t hear anything, let alone enjoy the viewing experience. Toiletries were provided only on request and were ones that you would find in low budget hotel rooms.
No, I’m not even joking, even though I wish I were.
Problem 5: We know we are at fault, and we care a damn
After a month or so of introspection, we decided to call it quits. Called and wrote to Club Mahindra to cancel the membership, along with a request to return a partial sum of the money paid, considering our terrible experience. One of their representatives visited our residence, agreed that our experience was disastrous, and also concurred that we have been told lies during the sale process. Not just that, he also said that he has heard many such complaints from other Club Mahindra customers about the same sales executive.
We were absolutely shocked to hear that.
Given the scenario, he requested for a few days time since he would have to involve the senior management, given the gravity of the situation. He left, and he disappeared after that. No response from Club Mahindra’s end until we decided to chase them again and all they had to say was that we continue with our subscription and that their service will be better, and that there is no way for them to help us. Apart from this, if they had to say something, it was to ask us to read through their terms and conditions, which basically says the money won’t be returned at any cost, even if they agree that the problem is theirs.
Of course, we knew what their T&C said but the same T&C didn’t speak about how we were going to be cheated at the end.
We had already blown over ₹60,000 on them, and we weren’t ready to lose any further. We called it quits.
Why pay so much for so little and especially when there are better options. We have stayed in many other properties where they make one feel and stick true to “Customer is King” statement.
Till date, we haven’t received a confirmation mail from their end on our cancellation request. Not sure how long we’ll have to wait for that.
I don’t think we could have been any more patient with Club Mahindra than we were during our discussions with them. Even though a lot of people spoke against them, we decided to go ahead with the membership, giving them the benefit of doubt. Realised what a grave mistake that turned out to be.
Here’s our take on Club Mahindra membership. Don’t buy it. EVER.