Another thin-skinned hotel is going after someone who dared to say something negative about it, but this time the guest is not backing down and has the cockroach leg photos to prove it.
Dunyawit Phadungsaeng, fresh out of quarantine at a hotel southeast of Bangkok in Chonburi province, said he was willing to publicly debate the hotel now suing him for daring to criticize its facilities and services. Dunyawit was responding to the Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel, southeast of the capital in Chonburi province, which yesterday said it had filed defamation suits against people who tried to discredit it by spreading lies that its rooms were shabby and its food unsanitary.
“If you think I lied, please come and show people what’s going on,” said Dunyawit, who stayed there after returning from San Francisco. “Don’t come to apologize later, because I won’t accept it from people who don’t sincerely mean it.”
Though the hotel didn’t publicly identify Dunyawit or any other targets of its legal action, it announced the lawsuit one day after Dunyawit first fired shots on social media, slamming the hotel over his quarantine experience.
“It was probably the most terrible 14 days of my life…don’t call it quarantine as it’s better called imprisonment,” Dunyawit wrote. “People said that [state quarantine] is okay and habitable. I didn’t expect it to be a fancy five-star hotel, but have you ever been disappointed even when you had no expectations?”
Dunyawit said he arrived in Bangkok from San Francisco on Jan. 28 and he chose to isolate himself at a government-backed facility because it was free, a decision he regretted.
His complaints included not just poor WiFi access and an obsolete television, but fungus in his bed and an awful smell that he couldn’t escape despite changing rooms three times. He also said every room was full of mosquitoes and cockroaches, and he was made to pay for his own bug spray to kill them. Other poor room conditions included water leaking from the ceiling and a worn-out door.
With a lot of time on his hands, he carefully documented the deficiencies in dozens of photos and videos.
However, the breaking point that made him call on public health officials to do something were meals he said were poorly made and unhygienic. Although the kitchen staff said they would do better, he said nothing changed with the food or the room’s condition.
Calls this morning to the Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel went unanswered. It’s said to have suspended operations.
The hotel yesterday signaled it would escalate its legal complaint of defamation, which is a criminal complaint in Thailand, where convictions can be won even if the original statements are proven to be true.
“Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel wants to notify any related agencies to stop any kind of actions that will defame [the hotel] and violate the law,” read the hotel’s statement. “Or else, we will have to take maximum legal action.”
In October, an American man was forced to publicly apologize for writing a bad TripAdvisor review of the Sea View Resort on Koh Chang to avoid prosecution and jail time.
Public reactions to Dunyawit’s rant were split, with some people saying they had experienced the same conditions while staying there, while others argued they had a great stay.
Either way, most people condemned the hotel’s ham-handed crisis management.
“You are an embarrassment to the hospitality industry, dragging the reputation of hoteliers all around the world down with you,” Facebooker Jonathan R Tea wrote in response to the hotel’s statement. “If you don’t understand crisis management, you’d better close your business.”
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!