Booking.com / booking and the check in process and unreasonable and questionable "charges"
My confirmation number from booking, com was [protected]. I chose "pay later option from the booking.com app. The following day I received an email from the hotel telling me that they were going to cancel my reservation due to credit card being declined. I contacted the hotel and asked why they were charging my card 5 weeks prior to my arrival (I was attending a business conference at the same hotel) as it was my understanding that I would pay for the accommodation on check in (as it was a non refundable amount). They informed me that it was their Hotel"policy"to withdraw the funds, I explained that this was not stated in the booking.com app. I asked (Manager on duty) if it was possible to pay on check in. 45 minutes later, they eventually agreed. 3 days before my arrival, I contacted (by phone) them again and asked if it was all possible to check in prior to the 2 p. m, as I would have been travelling for 20 hours by my arrival - with a 3 hour time difference. The response I got from the concierge on the reservation desk was..."I can try"!. I then followed up the request for an earlier check in with an email, it was ignored. On arrival to the hotel, incredibly fatigued, I was asked to sign a form that was barely legible. However I managed to read it. It stated that I would agree to pay the hotel $926, should the fire department be called in the event that the fire alarm (in my room) would be set off!! It further stated that it would be likely to be set off if guest(s) left their bathroom door open, used aerosols etc, They then informed me that they wanted to charge me an extra $200 as well as charging me the non refundable amount, When I questioned them - they said it was they're hotel"policy". Unfortunately, as the day of check in was a Sunday, money that I had transferred into my credit account hadn't completely cleared, this caused a huge dilemma for me, I was able to use my mother;s credit card, however this was not acceptable by the hotel, while I understand fraud must be taken into consideration in such situations, I rang my mother, so that they hotel was able to get authorisation from my mother to use her card. Still not acceptable by the hotel. Now going on nearly 30 hours with no sleep, I became irritated. However, as a professional, I was very mindful of not being aggressive or threatening or abusive towards the staff/ manager. I then asked if I was able to pay for one nights accommodation + the $200"incidentals"as this was the only amount available to me until the funds cleared the following morning. The hotel refused. Frustrated, I asked what they suggest I do... sleep in the foyer? Just met with blank expression. I was then threatend by the manager at the time that she wuld calll the police on me, if I didnt stop being abusive. I reminded her that I had not threatened, intimidated, physically threatened or name called anyone, and to please not use my frustration and fatigue as justification to report me to the police as being"abusive". I then cancelled my reservation and found somewhere else. As I was attending the hotel over the 5 following days (business conference), I was privy to witnessing several check in's with this hotel and heard the same dissatisfaction and complaint from other guests. I also spoke to numerous people at the conference who where also staying at the hotel, some had approached me as they had witnessed my check in and asked if I was ok (they also where appalled at what they had witnessed). They also expressed they're unhappiness of the"extra charges"the hotel had dumped on them. The hotel is rated as a four star hotel, I'm not sure what booking.com criteria is for this rating, but the hotel is dated and so are the amenities. Bins were often over flowing and wait/ hospitality staff incompetent, with the exception of perhaps 2 girls. A person who was attending the conference I was, had special dietary requirements, the first day they offered her lunch after everyone else had returned to the conference, the next day - they got nothing, they gave up after that. The bathrooms were often filthy and smelt and the foyer chairs had stains on them.
The conference was"catered"for, but often no cutlery given. Thermos and water jugs would often be unfilled. I don't consider myself to be a prude or precious, but this is without a doubt one of the worst examples of"hospitality" I have ever had the misfortune in dealing with. Dont take my word for it, I implore you to contact any guest that has stayed there recently (March 2019) and ask for their feedback/ experience. I am so offended by these people and question they're ethical behavior. I feel compelled to write this, as I feel that it would be a disservice to booking.com's reputation and for any other consumer to experience what I did at this horrible hotel!!- certainly not a 4 star!!!
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