Look at hotels online before booking

  • By Christopher Elliott
  • Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:24pm
  • Life

Question: While traveling through Pennsylvania on a college tour with our daughter, my husband and I made a reservation for two nights at a Super 8 through Hotels.com.

When we arrived at the hotel late in the evening, we were dismayed to find a hotel with questionable clientele (there was a couple behind us looking for a couple of hours’ stay at the hotel) and a hotel attendant behind a double-panel glass window.

I asked to see the room before signing any paperwork and the attendant declined. He simply gave me a form to fill out with my name and address.

Because of the late hour and not having any other viable option for a night’s stay, we agreed to spend the night at the hotel but to check out the following morning as soon as possible.

Although the room had been recently renovated, the carpet was filthy. Our shoes stuck to the carpet. The air conditioner was set at 45 degrees, and it took more than three hours for the room to heat up to 74 degrees.

The walls were thin enough that we could hear every move of our neighbor upstairs and of our neighbors around us.

The room was supposed to be smoke-free, yet the bedspread on one bed had cigarette burns and the room smelled like cigarette smoke. We did not have enough towels for three people and the bathroom had not been cleaned, as evidenced the next morning by our find of a handful of long red hairs stuck to the wall of the shower.

The next morning, a hotel attendant informed me that Super 8 had nothing to do with our transaction, and that if I ever were to be issued a refund, I’d have to go through Hotels.com. I have called Hotels.com and asked for a refund, but so far, I’ve gotten nowhere. Can you help?

Gladys Martin, Berea, Ohio

Answer: Are you sure you were booked at a Super 8? It sounds like you tried to check in at the No-Tell Motel, instead.

Hotels.com shouldn’t have sold you a room like that. But even a cursory online search would have revealed that this Super 8 was horrible.

Sure, the Super 8 chain is a budget brand, but this one was — and I quote the recent write-ups — “just gross.” One reviewer advised everyone to “stay away,” and the hotel received an aggregate rating that would embarrass anyone associated with the Super 8 brand. In other words, you had ample warning.

Under the terms of your reservation, your room was completely nonrefundable by the time you checked in, so technically Super 8 was right for refusing your refund,both to you and to Hotels.com.

But who cares about technicalities? Super 8’s promise to be the “best in quality” means you should have expected more from your lodging experience.

By the way, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few tips. When the air conditioner is turned down to 45 degrees, open a window. It will take only a few minutes to warm things up. If the rug is sticky and the shower is dirty and the bedspreads smell like smoke, ask for another room.

And most of all, when dealing with a refund request, put everything in writing. Calling Super 8 was just an exercise in futility.

I contacted Hotels.com, which sold you the room, and it helped you secure a $150 refund from Super 8. Hotels.com also sent you a $20 voucher as an apology.

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the author of “Scammed.” Read more travel tips on his blog, www.elliott.org or email him at celliott@ngs.org.

© 2013 Christopher Elliott/ Tribune Media Services, Inc.

More in Life

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Plant of Merit: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ Japanese aralia

What: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ or variegated Japanese aralia, is an evergreen shrub… Continue reading

Don’t call Justice Brewing owner a gypsy — he’s just ‘homeless’

After an unexpected hardship, owner Nate McLaughlin won’t be moving his brewery to downtown Everett.

A mild December makes for easy winter cleanup in the garden

If you haven’t finished your November gardening tasks, here’s a list of chores to do this month.

Beer of the Week: Justice Brewing’s Outlook F——d, Northeast IPA

The brewery’s new beer with a vulgar name is a tropical IPA that riffs off its Outlook Hazy recipe.

Yummy Banh Mi offers cheap sandwiches with rich flavor

Classic Vietnamese meets fast food at new restaurant in downtown Everett.

Could a law to bring down the mob be used in Weinstein case?

The federal anti-racketeering law was drafted to bring down organized crime but it isn’t limited to it.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Most Read