Della Resorts Lonavala shocking experience as children and senior citizens held hostage for more than an hour

Jimmy Mistry has spent a fortune in identifying a beautiful location in the Lonavala hills, designing the resort as a luxury destination and creating an adventure park experience. But unfortunately, he hasn’t invested in hiring the right people. A few of the staff were really nice like the Spa Manager who was courteous or the Café 24 manager who replaced the wrong order, but in general, staff out there has an attitude which is unbearable. Miss Nadia Da Silva, Assistant Front Office Manager, is a blazing example of how inexperienced, incapable and arrogant staff can ruin a holiday for a family. She was rude and disoriented as she tried to solve the case of ‘who broke the lamp shade’. She claims to have worked on several 5 Star properties but knows nothing about guest relations or hospitality. She lacks maturity and is ill-equipped to handle minor accidents, leave aside holiday rush. 

Della Resort, Della adventure, Della resort lonavala

Della Resort reception

I along with my family went to stay at Della Resorts in Lonavala over the long ‘Independence Day’ weekend.  A group of 10, which included 3 senior citizens, 2 children below the age of 10, a toddler and 4 adults; our family was held hostage for more than an hour during checkout, like fugitives, just so that Miss Da Silva and team could check their CCTV footage, and conclude if the lamp shade was broken by our children or not. The elders waited in the car as the argument heated up. She came up to me and said, “Mam, you cannot leave till we check the CCTV footage. You come to one side as I have been told that your children have broken the lamp shade.”  I don’t think anybody talks like this to a guest. It was as if I was an outlaw or a culprit. I felt absolutely insulted.

The flow of event is that cars plying between Camp Della and the reception brought my family in two groups for the checkout process. The first group included a set of grandparents, children, me and my husband. As soon as I entered the reception, I saw a little boy, age 3-4 lying on top of a toppled side table which were placed along the sofas in the reception area. I went to help the child. I picked up the child and realized that he had created a mess. I tried to look around to find his parents but they were nowhere to be seen. The little fella was not alone.  His brother or cousin was on the other side table which had fallen as well. Both the kids left the “scene of crime” immediately. Of course, their parents had disappeared into thin air and the kids followed suit. Unsuspecting, I sat on the sofas next to the toppled side tables along with my daughter, her cousins and my in-laws as we waited for the checkout process to get over.  An employee (young girl at the reception) called the security and maintenance as she discovered that the side tables had toppled over and the lamp shade on them was damaged. It was happening all in front of me as I sat there looking at the commotion. My daughter, aged 2+ was playing and I was vigilant so that she wasn’t knocked down by someone or something. There was an ever increasing crowd during the checkout time. 

Suddenly, Miss Da Silva came up to me and said, “I have been told that your children have broken the lamp shade.” I was shocked. I wanted to ask her if she was accusing my family or was that a question. I told her calmly that it wasn’t my children. There were two boys who did this. She said, “Let me check and I will come back to you.” She went to the same girl at the reception who had called the security and maintenance and she pointed towards me. From a distance, I could sense that these two ladies had decided to pick on me. When Miss Da Silva approached me again with the same allegations, I asked her to check the CCTV footage to see that the lamp shade was not broken by our children but by two little boys. By this time, the checkout process was over and my husband had returned to where we all were seated. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had also joined us. Our cars were ready and the luggage was loaded as well. We wanted to leave Lonavala on time as we feared that we might be again stuck in the Mumbai-Pune Expressway jam like 15th August.  Read about the extreme 6 hour jam here due to long weekend. With small children and senior citizens, the jam experience was pretty unpleasant the previous day. 

As we proceeded with the senior citizens towards our car Miss Da Silva came running and stopped me. She said, “Mam, you cannot leave till we check the CCTV footage.”  Now this was very humiliating as she stopped me in front of several other guests. It was as if I was fleeing from the scene of crime. They all looked at me as if I had committed some theft or may be a murder. My brother-in –law intervened and said that she couldn’t stop us from leaving. To that she said that till it wasn’t proven that our children had not damaged the lamp shade, we couldn’t leave. My husband was completely enraged with this unprofessionalism. First of all, they are charging their guests enough to cover the cost of a lamp shade, secondly, a process needs to be in place where in if they want to approach a guest with such complaints, they should be 100 per cent sure of their allegation. They cannot humiliate random guests and hold them hostage for such issues. Guests who come from respectable families and are known professionals are bound to feel utterly disgusted with such an attitude. 

Besides this, Miss Da Silva was extremely rude while talking to my family.

“I can do one thing at a time.” “The team is checking footage; I don’t know how long it is going to take.” “You just can’t go like that.” “I will talk on my mobile for fifteen minutes, which is none of your business.” Not only the words, even the ‘tone’ was rude. I don’t talk to my maids in such a tone the way Miss Da Silva spoke with my family. So, you can very well imagine the kind of humiliation and rudeness we were subjected too. Eventually, after more than an hour the CCTV footage was received and seen by her and my family. Where, of course, it was proven that the lamp shade was not broken by our children. At this time, my husband demanded for a written apology from her and the General Manager. General Manager Operations, Ajay Bahl tried to pacify the situation and took my husband inside his office and asked, “You tell me what I should write.” I am sure this is not expected at a 5 star property. Isn’t it? Mr Bahl, was either too shocked to write two lines of apology or he was trying to do a favor by writing an apology mail to my husband. Finally, he sent the apology mail. (Below image) 

apology

We left way beyond our schedule and were late by more than an hour. But thankfully didn’t find traffic on the expressway.  All I can say is that I liked Camp Della and was planning to return with my family for another stay, but after this incidence, may be never. 

Mr. Jimmy Mistry, I strongly suggest that if you want to create a world-class experience for your guests then you need to train your staff in the hospitality skills and general maintenance. You need to put certain 5 star processes in place. Guests who have travelled around the world know what a 5 star experience really is and would expect the same at Della, especially when you are charging a bomb. The house-keeping at the Della Camp was irregular and lax. They themselves admitted that it was because of the holiday rush. Service at Café 24 was slow and sluggish. Wrong dish was served to us that was eventually replaced. If a family hires the pool for a party, then arrangements should be made where part of the pool is left vacant for the other guests to use. On Saturday, the entire pool was used by a group of 40 people which made it impossible for us to use it.

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So, am I going to go back to Della Resorts again? …….Though, the mountain-view from Della camp is beautiful, especially during monsoons but I might have to give it a miss. I have self-respect and this is all I could tolerate in my first and only visit to Della Resorts. If any of you readers are planning to visit Della, do that at your own risk. You never know, you might be accused of a robbery and detained for hours.

About MumbaiGloss

Parimita Chakravorty is an author, blogger, features writer and a communications specialist. She has written for various popular magazines and websites related to beauty, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle, including HAIR India, Femina.in, BeBeautiful.in, Hello, etc. She has also contributed to various youth blogs and magazines. Her book ‘Look Stunning At Any Size’ has been well appreciated and received by the readers. Currently, she is part of India’s leading IT brand and takes care of their internal communications. Parimita is also working towards bringing awareness about Endometriosis in India; a silent epidemic which is consuming a lot of lives. She manages a page ‘Endometriosis India Files’ where patients discuss their condition and diagnosis.
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