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I am not paid or compensated in any way to write product reviews posted to this blog. There are affiliate links posted throughout this blog. So, when you click through on links and buy something, I may receive a commission. I pay for the products with my own funds. Product reviews always reflect my own experience with and honest opinion of the product as a consumer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hotels.com- Paying the Price of Cheap

I had a horrible experience with a hotel recently. I won’t be disclosing the name of the hotel, since I don’t have any photos of the room and premises. I don’t want to call names without adequate proof, but rest assured that I am telling the entire truth. It’s a shame that the battery died on my LG smartphone, otherwise I would have taken photos of the hotel room and put them on full blast.

My boyfriend wanted to surprise me, so he went online to hotels.com to find a cheap room for us to sleep in this weekend near the Fort Lauderdale beach. If I could describe the place in a phrase, it would be "not all that ". This hotel is located just off "the strip" or A1A. Allow me to explain why I have a low opinion of this hotel. On our way over to finding this hotel, I began to have some trepidation about it when he told me that he only paid $69 plus taxes, totaling $76. I mean, this is really cheap for a hotel on the beach, especially in comparison to other more upscale hotels.

When we finally arrived at this place, it is definitely not what we were expecting. The place is old and very poorly maintained. It is probably more of a motel/efficiency than a hotel room. The entrance door to the room had very flimsy locks that anyone could kick in if they wanted to. The door had lots of dirt and scuff marks on it. The paint on the walls were peeling off in some spots and there were some large and poorly patched up holes in them.

The room was clean, but only on the surface. Upon examination we found that there was dust on a lamp and some of the light switches were dirty. We checked the linens on the bed and they appeared to be clean with no stains or odors. A couple of the pillows (not the pillowcases) smelled like a mixture of sweat and fragrance, though. The furniture and television were old, scratched up and outdated. The sofa had an unidentifiable stain on it.

As far as the bathroom is concerned, it did look clean. However, the bathroom door looked like it was severely water damaged and there was a small amount of mold on the walls in the shower.

The area is pretty safe and there are not many worries about crime. At the same, time the hotel was very noisy. You could hear people on the floor above us moving things or coming and going. This went on until the wee hours of the morning and I couldn’t get much sleep. I felt restless and didn’t fall asleep until around 7a.m. I was abruptly awoken went the front desk clerk tapped on our door at 11 am to tell us that it was check out time. This is disconcerting, since the customer service rep at hotels.com told my boyfriend that check out time is 12 noon.

The only thing that I liked about this hotel is that there was a ceiling fan and wall unit A/C, which blew ice cold. The hotel is situated less than one block from the beach and just a few miles away from gas stations, tourist attractions, and major shopping plazas. Also, the room included free Wi-fi internet and Xfinity cable television.

I think that if you are running this type.of business, where customers are concerned about comfort as well as amenities and location, it would be wise to pay attention to details.
Even if this business never did any extensive renovations to the property, a few hundred dollars to upgrade each room would go a long way.

When my boyfriend went to the front desk of the hotel to demand his money back, the clerk refused the refund. Another thing, that he noted is that he asked for a room with a king sized bed when he made the reservations with hotels.com, but the were two double beds instead. Since the hotel refused to give a refund, my boyfriend called hotels.com to try and get his money back. He complained about the condition of the hotel room and the fact that there was no king sized bed. The customer service rep that he spoke with, told him that she was not able to grant him a refund. Instead she sent a $20 (or $30, I am not sure of the exact amount) credit to his e-mail for use towards his next booking with hotels.com. So, he is very dissatisfied and is not sure whether he will ever use hotels.com again.

He feels that he should have stuck with LaQuinta Inns & Suites, which is his favorite hotel, besides the Marriott. But no, he had to go and be a cheapskate. I am still pissed about the whole things as I write this post.

I told him that the first mistake that he made is that he booked a reservation with this hotel without ever knowing what the room looked like. He is not an internet savvy person, so he sort of wanted to believe that the room would be fine. Had I known his intention to rent a room at this hotel, I would have done research before he gave hotels.com his debit card info. If we did a Google search beforehand, it would have turned up enough information for us to realize that he shouldn’t book a room there.
I did go to www.tripadvisor.com and there were several bad reviews on this same hotel, left by previous customers. Most of the reviews cited conditions similar to what I describe here. Some people said that there were roaches and other insects in their room. We didn’t experience pest problems, though. Just from our experience, I would never recommend that hotel to anyone.

As a word of advice, always do your research when dealing with these types of websites and businesses. I am not discouraging the use of hotels.com or others like expedia.com, travelocity.com, or hotwire.com, etc. You just need to read the fine print, know the terms or service, refund policies, of the hotels and the third party travel booking/agency website that you choose. I would not give them my banking account info and would much rather use a prepaid debit card or credit card. Save yourself some hassles and headaches by doing your research.

© Copyright 2013 Susan Broadbelt


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