Letter: Manager on duty at Ponce Hotel was abusive
Rachel Ashley Bilka
St Augustine, FL
Dear Historic City News editor:
I had a horrible experience at Historic Ponce Hotel LLC and I feel compelled to report the way I was treated when trying to check in to my room.
We are receiving FEMA assistance for temporary housing as we recover from damage done to our own home by the hurricane. The second the manager, Marielena Scibelli, found out the room was being paid by FEMA, there was a noticeable change in attitude towards me and a change in Scibelli’s demeanor.
After giving my ID, she asked for my paperwork. I explained that I had given that information to the motel over the phone and was told by her staff that all I would need to bring to check in was my identification. I was told that everything else was taken care of.
“Well, I don’t have it,” she said. I left the lobby and retrieved the rest of my information. When I returned, she told me that I needed “additional information” and “identification for each of my children” — which I had never been told before. She said, “That’s the rules”.
I stressed that I previously called the motel and asked for everything I needed in order to check in. I told her she “needed to get all her employees on board” and that this was the third time I was being given different information. I explained that the motel’s inconsistent answers caused me a lot of unnecessary running around.
She became defensive and said, “You know what, forget it” and she cancelled the reservation. When I asked for the owner, or someone above her that I could speak to about this situation, she refused and kept asking me to leave.
Still trying to find out a name of someone above her or a way to contact them, she grabbed the phone and acted like she was calling the police.
At the end of this ordeal, after grabbing all the information that was available for me to report this, Scibelli told me sarcastically, “good luck finding a new home”.
I found this manager on duty to be completely unprofessional, and unnecessarily disrespectful towards us. I feel it was quite nasty to say the things she said to me, especially about something as precious as our home. I want my experience to be known and if anyone else has a bad experience with her, just know that it’s not you. She’s just a bitter, rude woman.
This motel property, located at 1111 North Ponce de Leon Boulevard In Saint Augustine, had previously been a Quality Inn. It was sold last year and renamed the Magnuson Hotel. Earlier this year, it was renamed again, and is now known as The Ponce Hotel St Augustine.