Radisson Blu Libreville Review & Park Inn Libreville Review – Are these the two properties with the world’s meanest staff?
I decided to combine my Radisson Blu Libreville and Park Inn Libreville reviews into one, as both properties share one building and almost all facilities. The properties are located about a mile from the airport and 5 miles from the city center in one of Libreville's best neighborhoods along the seashore. The hotels operate free shuttles to the airport.
The Radisson Blu in Libreville used to be branded InterContinental but was reflagged. There are three buildings which are all connected; the oldest part that is currently closed for renovations, a renovated part (now called the Radisson Blu Okoume Palace Hotel) and the Park Inn by Radisson Libreville, which is a completely new building.
The first night, I stayed at the Park Inn and then I spent the next consecutive two nights at the Radisson Blu. I did not know exactly which property I was at for night number one, so I walked over to the Radisson Blu. The front desk agent was extremely bossy and would not even let me look up my reservation using the WiFi; he instead immediately dragged me over to the Park Inn accompanied by security. Well, he was right in the end, but why he had to be so rude is beyond me. I asked what the difference was between the hotels and the agent mentioned that the Park Inn is a 4 star hotel and the Radisson Blu is a 5 star - he had no other explanation of any other differences.
At the Park Inn, check-in was manned by one person who seemed properly confused by the idea of my friend and I checking in. Even more confusion arose by our idea to use the internet and even after check-in the in-house internet would never let us log on. Luckily, the Park Inn (but not the Radisson Blu) allowed roaming via Boingo (which worked at about 2 Mbit).
The bedrooms at the Park Inn are brand new and they look awesome with their mood lights (and you can actually change the colors). My room was on the small side but seemed like it was just finished a few weeks ago.
The bathroom was excellent, with a rain shower that had proper water pressure and hot water even after midnight.
The air conditioning would only accept on or off, though; I tried to modify the temperature and the fan but it never heeded my settings. Oh well - at least it was somewhat quiet and cold.
I wasn't a fan of the bed - it was too soft and just felt uncomfortable, but maybe I was just suffering from 'first night in a new bed' syndrome.
Breakfast in the morning was served at the hotel's restaurant. Since both properties share the same facilities, it is served in the same place; however, for the Park Inn you need to turn right and Radisson Blu guests need to turn left, though there is no sign to say so and no host there to ask for your room number. I just walked into the assigned Radisson property and enjoyed the breakfast.
It comes with a huge selection of breakfast items and if you like a French-inspired breakfast with baguettes, cheeses and pastries, it will delight you. The items were certainly of high quality, but most were bland in taste. The setup was excellent, though, and there was freshly-pressed orange juice (you need to operate the juicer yourself) and good Nespresso coffee drinks.
The staff were totally absent at breakfast; the whole breakfast experience was completely without any staff. This would turn out to be a theme of both hotels. Staff would do anything to NOT greet you, would deny any requests and also simply stand in your way. I have never been to a luxury hotel where the staff are so rude or indifferent. Even housekeeping staff simply skipped my room on night two and just dropped off two towels outside; there had been no 'do not disturb' sign there and plenty of time to clean the room while I was out.
On the second morning, I walked over to the Radisson Blu and checked in. There was only one person there (who spoke no English) and check-in took a solid 30 minutes. "No upgrades for Club Carlson Gold, no Gold amenity can be offered, the internet does not work and you can't check out late". Whatever request I made was promptly denied.
I was also required to pre-pay my stay, as without payment (not just authorization) I was not able to get a room key. The fact that I mentioned compensation for the internet not working for the better part of the previous night would be dismissed with, "Speak to the manager". She eventually talked to me but did not offer much except listen to my story.
I now also learned that the Radisson Blu has NO facilities separate to the Park Inn; the gym and pool are on the Park Inn side. The breakfast is separate (but in the same place). Now the Radisson has published rates of $350 a night and the Park Inn $180. I can't understand why anyone would pay double for the same (if not worse) experience.
After I finally got my room key, I discovered that the rooms at the Radisson Blu are pretty much the same as at the Park Inn, too. They're just a bit older, a bit bigger and come without mood lighting.
The bathrooms are also the same (except in my case the toilet seat promptly fell off at first usage).
After a full day of exploring, the internet finally worked and clocked in at the same speed of about 2 Mbit - which isn't great for the price tag paid.
I used the gym and found it to be well-equipped. It seemed brand new and had a gorgeous view over the coastal road towards the beach.
There are two pools - an infinity and a small lane pool. Neither had any other guests or pool attendants when I was around. There are towels at the gym but nobody bothers to check if you need drinks, beach chairs or umbrellas in that windy area. You are completely on your own - not exactly what I call 5 star.
We asked about taxis to the city and the front desk had no idea where to get one or what the cost would be. She simply turned around and played on her iPhone instead. Oh well; by that time, we had expected that.
None of the services that you expect from a full-service hotel were there at the Radisson Blu Libreville and the bad service was so ingrained that I do not believe it will ever get better at this property.
At check out I asked about the hotel shuttle to the airport; the front desk agent said that I should have given 12 hours' notice and that no shuttle would likely be available for the Ethiopian flight (one of the few major flights from Libreville) as the shuttle needs to have gas and be washed. There was still an hour to spare but I was mesmerized by the answer since the hotel says it operates a free 24-hour shuttle and I saw other people waiting to get the same flight. She promised to call back and eventually the shuttle was available at the time I requested, but why be so rude?
In conclusion, the Park Inn Libreville and Radisson Blu Libreville are two beautiful properties in a scenic location. However, they have some of the meanest staff I have ever encountered. If you come here, never talk to anyone and even at check-in just drop your passport and credit card without a word. Don't expect any service (not even housekeeping) and just keep to yourself.
At the time of my stay, the Park Inn seemed about half full and the Radisson Blu less than 10% full. Now I don't need to tell you what happened to my request for late check out...