August 29, 2012

Kicked Out Of A Hotel

It was surprisingly nice and I'd have enjoyed paying for a second night.

The last two nights of our week-long road trip we planned to spend in a hotel in Oregon, where we were attending my cousin's wedding. The location was a very small (like, 4 square blocks) tourist and vacation place with a smattering of hotels. Being the slackers we are, we didn't book until the week before and the first couple of places (which were super cute and super cheap) were all booked up. 

Fortunately, the Best Western in the next little town had a room, and they had free breakfast. So we booked it. Our stay was for Friday and Saturday nights; we checked in Friday afternoon, after a night of camping and a very long drive. We were actually very pleased with the room. It had a king size bed which was comfortable and clean, a nice view of a some cows by a creek, and was spacious. It even had a pull out couch, microwave and fridge. 

Friday night was a great night. We showered and changed clothes, then headed out to find lunch (went to an awesome little fish and chips place literally on the dock) and met up with my cousins. We got back pretty late, crawled into bed and turned on a movie. The next morning we went down for some passable eggs and a decent waffle and were back in the room by 10am. We ran into housekeeping, who asked if we were checking out and we told them we had another night. We lounged in the room the rest of the day, watching movies and taking our time getting ready. We left at 2:45 to drive the 4 miles to the wedding location, all dressed up and dapper, and didn't return to the hotel  until 11:30.

And our room keys didn't work. I thought they'd been deactivated because they were scanning red immediately, so we headed to the lobby. I told the girl at the front desk, who happened to be the same one that checked us in the day before, that our keys didn't work, thinking she'd just assign new ones. Instead, she said, "Yeah, we checked you out. You only booked one night."

Uh, no.

I pulled out my phone while she looked up the paperwork I signed Friday (with my initials next to the check-out day and my signature at the bottom) to show her my confirmation email. Sure enough, two nights. She had found my paperwork by then and right on the front page, next to my initials, was our check-out day of Sunday. Not Saturday.

She was a little apologetic, but not what I would have expected from someone who had two guests thrown out of their rooms. She told us she wasn't the one there that afternoon and mentioned something about telling whoever was there that they needed to get all guest phone numbers, which they didn't do with me. To top it all off, they had removed all of our things (clothes, toiletries, computer, camera, camera equipment) for us, placed them in trash bags in an unlocked cabinet in the lobby, and gave our nice room away to someone else (which means that when we were jiggling the handle and retrying the keys a bunch of times there was a couple in there who were probably terrified... and if they'd looked out the eyehole they'd have seen what they assumed to be either drunk kids at the wrong room or a black guy and some girl trying to rob them). 

So, at nearly midnight, we were without a hotel room. Turns out there was one room left, but only because whoever had booked it hadn't shown up yet. The girl had no choice but to give it to us, and unfortunately we had no choice but to take it. It had two queens (measly fulls) and was a smoking room. It was disgusting. It was smaller than our other room, the bathroom was difficult to work with two people, and wasn't anywhere near as nice as the room we'd been kicked out of. And everything smelled like smoke! I couldn't believe it. The girl offered it to me at a $30 discount "for my inconvenience."

Somehow the boyfriend was able to keep it together, which stopped me from either bursting into tears with anger and frustration or screaming at the front desk girl. I was beyond furious. When we got into our smelly room we talked about the situation as we went through our bags to make sure nothing was missing (the food we'd left in the room was lost and I can't find a sweater, but I'm not entirely sure I can blame them since I thought I checked for it). The boyfriend could see my anger and I could feel his... they really needed to make this right. While we were still good and angry we got on social media and wrote scathing reviews, although our anger at the situation has yet to subside.

In the morning we went down to the lobby to CHECK THE FUCK OUT LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE,  and there was a different front desk attendant. She knew exactly who we were when we walked in. 

"We got our room switched on us last night."
"I know." She was obviously embarrassed and ashamed. She shook her head and could almost not even say she was sorry.
"Look, I don't want to pay for that room."
"OK. That's absolutely fine." She came just short of saying we shouldn't have to. It was a huge relief to get such an understanding woman. She seemed truly dumbfounded by the situation and could not even believe it had happened.

While she worked to delete my credit card information from my file (my card had already been charged for the first night when they checked us out), the boyfriend got us some coffee from the breakfast area. The woman could tell we were itching to go and couldn't get the computer to cooperate, so we left with a signed statement that the room was free of charge.

The part that confused me the most, which this woman brought up, was that housekeeping or whoever did the checking out had decided to check us out, go through the room and pack up all our stuff without checking the paperwork sitting right in the drawer. They took the effort to do all that work when a quick trip to the lobby and a look in the file drawer would have cleared up the whole thing and we'd have never been kicked out. Obviously we thought we'd booked a second night because we left all of our stuff strewn about the room in absolutely no attempt to pack up, and we'd left several thousand dollars worth of computer and camera equipment in the room, which no one would leave behind. Furthermore, check-out was at 11am, and we were in the room from 10am to almost 3pm, a good 4 hours after we should have vacated the room, and no attempt was made to contact us. The staff could have called the room at 11am to verify we were checking out, they could have come up to the room at any time, they could have looked in the parking lot to see if my car was there, they could have emailed me, or they could have talked to the housekeeping staff who we told we had another night. Some person at the hotel got it into their heads that we were checking out on Saturday and didn't bother to do any verification whatsoever when they realized we clearly had no intention of checking out. They just did it for us anyway.

As of writing this, I'm monitoring my credit card account to make sure the pending charge doesn't go through and am in contact with Best Western to get a full refund. They're lucky nothing happened to our equipment when they removed it from our room and they're lucky we're nice people. I should say they're lucky my boyfriend is the nice one, because I was all ready to show my anger and make some serious demands.

The most disappointing thing is that this is now the first thing that comes up when we talk about our trip. Neither of us had ever heard of this happening before (the boyfriend's dad travels frequently for work and he'd never heard of it), and we'd had such a nice stay Friday night, which made it feel even more ruined. We looked at the photos as they uploaded to his computer, saw the picture of the room from when we first got in, and both said, "awww" sadly. Things had been going so well up to that point, making that disappointment a little bit worse.

Needless to say, if either of us stay in a Best Western again it'll probably be because it's a last resort. If there's any other option I know I'll be staying in any other hotel in the future.

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