To cut a long story short, we packed, had breakfast and left the Miami hotel early for the long drive to Savannah Georgia where we were to spend the night at the Hampton Inn I-95 Savannah North before setting off again. The journey was 490 miles (780 km).
We arrived early evening after stopping off for a meal en-route. When we arrived I went in to check in and Chris unpacked the car. When I walked in there was already one couple at the desk and several people waiting behind. I joined the queue. Two other parties came in behind me. It seemed that the people at the desk had a problem with their reservation. The woman kept saying that she had the details of the reservation and the receptionist kept saying it wasn’t there. I assumed the couple had messed up their booking and from what was happening they seemed to settle for a different room before they finally checked in and left the reception.
The next people also seemed to be having issues, but eventually, they checked in. As we had waited a very long time the couple immediately in front of me simply walked out. I assume they did not have a reservation and left to go somewhere else.
Finally, it was my turn and the receptionist stated that she had left a message on my phone to say my booked smoking room was not available as the hotel was now a non-smoking hotel. I pointed out that I did not order a smoking room. She said that was okay as they didn’t have any – yep, got that! She then said that I had booked a double room, I said no, I had booked a King studio suite with a sofabed. She disagreed, I disagreed and she then mumbled stuff, went to the computer and after about ten minutes gave me a room key which she said was on the ground floor (1st floor in USA). I pointed out that I had booked a high floor room and she said that was all she had. After many more minutes, we finally got to the room. It had probably taken nearly 45 minutes to get to this point.
When we opened the room we found it was a standard room with two double beds in it, not a King suite with a sofabed. So, I told Chris to stay there and I went back to reception to get the room I had booked. I also was now able to access the internet and see my booking on the email. I had definitely booked a king studio, definitely a non-smoking and had asked for a high floor. I had booked with my Hilton Honors points and cash (8,000 points and $40).
When I got back to reception an elderly lady who had been behind me was having a heated argument with the receptionist. It turned out she had booked a disabled room and the receptionist was saying she hadn’t and that none were available. When the woman saw me she knew something was wrong and she asked if I had a problem with my booking too. I explained that I had booked one room and been given a completely different one. By now there were about 6 people behind us and the receptionist was trying to sort out both myself and the other lady.
I showed my booking to the receptionist and she said that her screen was showing that I had booked a smoking double room and that the other lady had not booked a disabled room. I could prove I had booked correctly and so could the lady. By this time we were both very angry and stressed and the receptionist just kept blaming central booking. We kept saying that this was not our problem as both of us were long-standing HiltonHonors members and had both booked correctly though their website.
The receptionist then said that the hotel was overbooked by four rooms already and she did not have a king or a disabled room for us. Then suddenly she thrust another room key at me. I asked her what this was and she said it was a for a standard queen room but that I would have to pay more for it. My original booking was with points and cash and a queen apparently did not come under this offer and I would have to pay the full price for it which would be around $120.
By now I was livid and told her to cancel my booking and give me my points back and that I would go elsewhere. I then went to collect Chris and told him we were going to the Country Inn over the road (I had looked this up online whilst waiting in reception). When we passed through reception the other lady was gone.
I then ran over to the Country Inn hotel leaving Chris to pack the car again and drive over. I went to reception and asked if she had a king room and she said she only has a one-bed suite which was $149, way more that the other hotel. After she saw my face fall she asked if I was okay. I explained the situation and showed her my membership to this hotel brand and she said if I had AA cover she could offer me a discount. We have CAA, the Canadian version which is accepted and we got the room for $109. Still much more than the other one but what the hell. So within a couple of minutes, I had booked into the new hotel after over an hour trying to sort things out at the Hampton Inn.
I went outside to find Chris and bumped into the lady who had booked a disabled room, she too was checking into this hotel. I bet it was doing a roaring trade from people leaving the Hampton!
So, we eventually got a room and it was a very nice room and the internet connection was brilliant at 16MB, so all was not lost.
I will be writing to Hilton and various other parties about this as it was totally unacceptable. At least three of the people I witnessed were given the wrong rooms and accused of booking incorrectly. Everything was blamed on central booking and us the customer. The hotel and receptionist didn’t want to take any responsibility for what appeared to be major issues with many guests. When the manager was asked to be contacted by the other lady, the receptionist could get no answer. So even the manager was not going to help or take any responsibility. Totally unacceptable in every way.