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Is This Hotel Switcheroo Common?

Old Aug 13th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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Is This Hotel Switcheroo Common?

First, let me say that I don't approve of penny-pinching or being a jerk over a few dollars. And I'm desperately worried about looking like an Ugly American.

Having said that...

Based on recommendations from this forum, I have made reservations at the Pensione Accademia in Venice for three nights next Spring. We were delighted to get a room for 130 euro @ night. While other hotels were content with a credit card number to hold the room, Pensione Accademia requested a check for $140 to cover the first night's room.

This I dutifully sent.

Today, I received word that the check has arrived and they are crediting me for 110 euros toward the room rate.

Now as gently as I could, I wrote back and mentioned that according to, $140 is now worth 123 euros. I know the dollar is dropping like a stone, but a twenty euro drop in a week seemed excessive. And I really agonized about even asking.

But the hotel has replied that my rate is incorrect for this transaction, and they seem unwilling to budge from $140 = 110 euro.

I'm not going to pursue it any further because I am thrilled to be staying at everyone's fave hotel in Venice, but it is leaving a bad taste in my mouth and I wonder how common this is?

It is only money after all... or is there some principle involved?
Koshka is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 08:57 AM
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Just a thought - if bankas in Italy are like banks in France, it will cost the hotel around $20 to deposit your check in dollars. Perhaps they are passing that fee on to you, and figuring the exchange rate based on the amount you sent minus that transaction fee.
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 08:59 AM
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That makes me feel a bit better, but I think this could have been spelled out when they requested a payment by personal check. I could have sent a money order or even a wire transfer, but their request was for a personal check, which surprised me no end.
Koshka is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:00 AM
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Koshka - the hotel will not get 130 euro for your $140 check.They have to pay conversion fees (charged by both their bank and your bank). So they are probably noy ripping you off - but they probably should have explained that up front.

(I once got a £12 VAT refund check that would have cost me over $25 to cash due to the Sterling/$ conversion and bank fees - needless to say it turned into another souviner)
janis is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:08 AM
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Today's cross rate (at Zurich) was 0.884 € per $. This would pay 123 € for your your $ 140.

As the cross rates are median rates, it is illusory to expect being paid 123 € even at a bank.

A typical difference between buyers' and sellers' rate (again at Zurich) is around 6 cents per €, so the applicable rate should be around 0.854 $ per €, yielding 119.56 € per $ 140. This is the amount you can expect a bank to offer you.

As the hotel has to take in account its own expenses in cashing checks and exchanging money, the 110 € in my opinion are an acceptable, especially as the dollar might drop even more until next spring.

I know this doesn't help a lot, but I feel you have not been ripped off.

Enjoy your trip (anyway).

Phil is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:15 AM
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Hotels aren't bank and I think it was unreasonable for you to ask them to give you bank rate. They wouldn't have gotten that with a money order, either, and wire transfers are expensive.
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:29 AM
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If this is the way this particular hotel operates (wants a check instead of a credit card...and I have to agree that they aren't required to give you any particular rate of exchange, especially one they find unfavorable to themselves) it really makes me wonder about all those "recommendations" about the place you apparently read on this board. Things like this always make me wonder of the hassle os worth it whether a bunch of strangers liked the place or not! But I hope it all works out favorably in the end. And there is nothing "ugly" or particularly "American" about expecting value for your money.
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:33 AM
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Thanks to all for the explanations and consolations.

I did not expect the hotel to offer bank rates, but when they said $140 would cover a night's lodging, I did expect that $140 would cover a night's lodging a week later.

If cashing a personal check causes them problems, they should not request a personal check.

Oh well.
Koshka is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:39 AM
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Intrepid, does your post mean you only give recommendations on this forum and not take any from others? Have you been frequently mislead by forum recommendations? Maybe I've been lucky so far, but I've acted often on majority recommendations and always had good experiences.
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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I have stayed 3 times at Pensione Accademia and have never been asked a deposit. They requested my CC info for garantee and that was it. Do they ask a deposit with a personal check to American clientele or to oversea travellers in general (I'm from within Europe.)? Some people said on this board they had had to send a deposit to La Calcina (Venice) too. But I did not when I stayed there last November. Just being curious. If I had to, that would have been complicated for me because I don't even have a cheque book.
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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And I promise to stop pouting now. LOL!
Koshka is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:49 AM
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hike, I really couldn't say what their usual custom is. Perhaps someone else could.

I can only share my experience.

But I don't think I come across as a deadbeat! (or do I?)

Koshka is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:54 AM
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No, you don't, and you didn't come over as an ugly American either

It was nice of you to give me opportunity for some arithmetic jogging
Phil is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 10:05 AM
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I only know the Accademia by reputation, but I'm confused:
why do they ask some people only for a credit card to hold the room, and someone else has to send a check?
I'm also wondering why they quoted a room rate in euro, then asked for a check in dollars which was presumably an equivalent in their minds, then changed their mind about what the dollars were worth in euro.
This doesn't make sense to me and if I were the customer I would want to understand it.
elaine is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 10:06 AM
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Koshka, in any case you will love the place. I do and that's why I will return there again this November !

If you don't know the area yet, you might like to eat once at Restaurant San Trovaso, have a glass of wine with some cichetti at the wine bar on the way to the Giudecca Canal and visiting one of the few gondola repair shop, all on the same canal San Trovaso directly from Pensione Accademia.
hike is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 10:57 AM
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Sometimes the rules are different for return clients. I know after the second visit they didn't even ask for my credit card number at the small French hotel I used to use. [It changed management]
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 11:16 AM
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We stayed at Pensione Accademia in spring 2001 and only have kudos for the staff and hotel. It was in a quiet location, the rooms were great (there were two couples) and a nice garden to enjoy a late afternoon Bellini. You can have breakfast on the patio. Enjoy.
maitaitom is online now  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 11:28 AM
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Koshka, you will get your moneys worth. For that price, it is still the best deal in Venice. The hotel is absolutely charming and immaculately kept. It is in a quiet area, yet close to all the sights. And having breakfast ouside on the patio and watching the bold little sparrows dipping into your disgarded cereal bowl for a somewhat soggy flake! Well, you just can't put a price on that. Have a wonderful time, and don't worry if you don't see it all. You WILL be back!
bugswife1 is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 08:58 PM
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There are some hotels that require one night's payment upfront to hold the reservation. Usually that occurs if the reservation is far in advance. You say you're visiting next spring so maybe that is the reason why this hotel asked you to pay upfront for the first night.
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