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TwoCents Jun 19th, 2003 12:06 PM

Brush Off -or- Business As Usual ?
Thought I'd relate an interesting experience I had with the Grape Leaf Inn in Healdsburg. I'm feeling a bit miffed, but am wondering if I am being too sensitive about the whole thing.

Last Thursday I called for a reservation for a weekend in July. I asked which rooms were avaialable in the newer wing with king beds. I was told that four of the five were available, checked the descriptions, and picked one. My credit card was charged for the one night deposit.

Two days later, I received an email on the weekend, saying that a mistake had been made. Evidently, someone had taken a tentative booking for a party of 8, and all 4 remaining rooms in the new wing. Another room was suggested to me, but from the website, all the rooms in the original main house looked either cramped to me, or had queen beds. I declined to choose one, and then was told, the inn would contact me after the other parties made their final decision.

Well, I guess the others decided to book, and I lost my room. The inn did offer to include a bottle of champagne if I stayed in one of their older, smaller rooms, but I was left with the feeling of too little too late. I can imagine that they'd rather book four rooms than one, but I still felt I was treated shabbily. I requested a refund for my deposit.

What do you make of this? Is it standard operating procedure in hotels or inns? Or do you think my deposit should have held the room of my choice from the late-comers?

GoTravel Jun 19th, 2003 12:14 PM

No, this is not standard operating procedure for a hotel. If the Inn charged you a deposit of one night's room and tax on a specific room, that room is yours. If the hotel cannot deliver, it has a couple of choices. It can provide you with and equal room of maybe a different type (instead of a garden view suit they could substitute and oceanfront room), an upgrade for the lower category room price, or refund your money.

Independently owned hotels don't hold tentative reservations for specific rooms. If they did, the room you requested would not have come up in availability and they would lose a lot of money.

I would hold their feet to the fire.

janis Jun 19th, 2003 01:21 PM

I must disagree - this is not a large hotel. It is a B&B with 10 or 12 rooms. It sounds to me like they made an honest mistake.

And even if it wasn't, there isn't very much you can do about it.

The other parties also presumably put down deposits - so you are no more entitled to that specific room than they are.

It is too bad but mix ups do happen - I'd take the smaller room and see if they would up the compensation to more than the champagne. Or just take your deposit back and TRY to find something as nice (hard to do)

janis Jun 19th, 2003 01:24 PM

Wanted to add -- "Independently owned hotels don't hold tentative reservations for specific rooms" -- since when?

That is very a common practice - especially in B&Bs and resort areas where the views and amenities can be very different from room to room.

GoTravel Jun 19th, 2003 01:33 PM

janis, if was a tentative booking as TwoCents posted, one can assume they did not put down a deposit.

HowardR Jun 19th, 2003 02:00 PM

Obviously, one or two things happened.
1. It was an honest mistake.
2. The owner got a call from someone who wanted four rooms, including the one that TwoCents had booked. And, he/she didn't want to give up such a lucrative booking.
Legally, I don't think you have any claim. If it was me, I would have insisted on a lower rate for the smaller room.....and accepted the bottle of champagne.

TwoCents Jun 19th, 2003 02:27 PM

I did really want to stay at the Grape Leaf, but in the newer, larger rooms with nicer amenities. And, if those were not originally available, I probably would have considered the main house. But I really felt it was an odd coincidence that the error wasn't discovered until 2 days later, and suspect Howard's #2 scenario was what took place. So, feeling a bit put out, I decided that I could certainly find another place with a decent room for $300 a night! I certainly didn't want to push the point and arrive with all of us having bad feelings; that certainly would put a damper on the weekend. At least they were honest up front, and we didn't arrive unsuspecting for a switch! But I did find the whole experience rather unpleasant.

TwoCents Jun 19th, 2003 02:29 PM

For using "certainly" so many times, I'm feeling rather UNCERTAIN about the whole thing!
(Sorry... should have previewed.)

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