what do to about crappy hotel??

Jun 2nd, 2007, 01:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 10
what do to about crappy hotel??

Hi Everyone,
I recently had the WORST experience with a hotel that I have EVER had -- it was seriously over the top. The hotel was named the St. Augustine Beach Front Resort, and I did some online research on the hotel, and saw that it looked beautiful, seemed to have GREAT amenities, great location, etc. When we arrived, the hotel was NOTHING like it looked on the website - it was dirty dirty, there was no restaurant, the lounge was disgusting, and there was construction everywhere. After taking a look around, we decided to stay anyway because it was only for one night.
We then proceeded to wait in line for 2+ hours to check in. When we reached the front of the check in line, we realized why our wait took so long -- the hotel had overbooked rooms and everyone was being re-routed to different hotels. The couple in front of us as well as the couple in back of us had both, like us, booked on orbitz. We spoke with the owner of the hotel, and not only was she unaccommodating and unapologetic, she was just plain RUDE. We were spending one night in St. Augustine for memorial day, and she re-routed us to a hotel by the highway (far from the beach that we were so looking forward to). Not only did she send us to a hotel with no beach, she sent us to a holiday inn express with no restaurant, bar, or shuttle to any of the attractions. Those features are why we booked her hotel in the first place (and she blatently lied on the website about them). She was unapologetic and refused to offer any consolation for her poor management. In addition, she did not call our confirmation number to let us know of the problem beforehand (if we had known that no hotel room was available for us on the beach, we would not have come). Honestly, it was the WORST customer service and interaction I have EVER had in the hospitality industry. I was furious.
When we arrived at our new hotel (3 hours later), the owner of that hotel was checking us in, and I expressed my dissatisfaction with the way the st. augustine beach front resort had handled our situation. The owner was very apologetic and nice about the whole situation, and informed me that this was a REGULAR OCCURENCE for the st. augustine beach front resort. He said that this routinely happens with their resort because they routinely overbook rooms. When I told him that I was told it was because they were under construction, he said that they are always under construction. He even said that they once overbooked their single banquet hall for two separate events at the same time.
It became clear to me that the reason this woman was unapologetic and unaccommodating was because this practice for her is a routine practice to make money.
What do I do!!??! I feel awful for the travelers who are no doubt going to experience the SAME thing as me when booking at that hotel, and the worst part is that on her website and on orbitz, the hotel has the appearance of a first class place, but it really is crappy and terrible, and then, the customer service is also crappy and terrible. Any advice??
Thanks so much,
casey1632 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,158
wow, sorry to hear that you had such a horrible experience! Off the top of my head, I don't know if you can get compensated, but you can at least warn off others (as you have here).

1. Lodge a formal complaint with Orbitz. I don't know how effective their email system is, but you may also want to follow up with a call.
2. Make sure you post on tripadvisor.com
3. Check around on other hotel sites (expedia, hotels.com, airline sites, lastminutetravel.com, etc. as well as the Hotels section of fodors.com) to see if the same misleading information is up, and let them know of your experience as well.
4. If you have the energy, you might also want to send your experience to some travel magazines.
MelissaHI is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 4,408
casey, I just looked at tripadvisor, and this place routinely gets terrible reviews there. While I think it's smart to take tripadvisor reviews with a grain of salt, when the first reviews you see have headings such as "Stay Away, far away," "Mold, leaks, poor service, no refund," "bedbugs, no lights, dirty rooms," and "nightmare visit" then you know to watch out. So I'd suggest checking various websites for travelers' reviews whenever you make your next hotel reservation.
321go is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
First, tell Orbitz you want a refund.

Second, contest the charge with your credit card (you DID NOT receive what you bought and paid for).

Finally, if neither works write to the Ombundsman at Conde Nast Traveler.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 03:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,051
I'd second all the above and add 2 more:
Call the Better Business Bureau in the state & teh State Attorney Generals office of Business and Trade
Call the Vistors/Convention
1JAR is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 04:17 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,549
Problems with hotels deliberately overbooking are legion during peak times. The worst thing is to have a tour group and some of the people need to stay in some place that is not what they were promised.

You should have checked with tripadvisor before booking this place. When you book through a discount website, you can have these problems and you don't know what you are getting until you pay. It is the old rule of "caveat emptor"--let the buyer beware.

Complaining to the Better Business Bureau rarely does any good. They cannot force anyone to do anything. They can just put a notation in the business' file.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,923
This is why I never book through discount websites, especially since most hotels will match any published fare.
hills27 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
Despite my best efforts I sometimes have an unpleasant experience such as you had in St. Augustine. I have found that problems can be minimized by:

*Researching using TripAdvisor, Frommer's, Fodor's, AAA TourBooks, and every other available source.
*Making reservations on the computer and taking a print-outs of reservations with me.

I don't book using Orbitz or similar services unless I have no other alternative (which sometimes happens when booking rooms in Europe). I book directly with hotels, at www.hilton.com,
for instance.

I don't think there is much than can be done about rude hotel employees. I recently complained about a rude desk clerk at the Renaissance Beverly Hills. The manager wrote me a nice letter saying he "talked" to the woman. Unfortunately, the woman in question has a personality defect that cannot be changed by talking to her.

If a hotel room is dirty or otherwise unacceptable, you can refuse to stay in the room and ask that your reservation be canceled. Problem: where do you go if you are staying for only one night.

If you are staying for an extended period, you can inform management that the room is unacceptable and get up early the next day and find a desirable room. I have done this many times when traveling in Mexico, Latin America, and certain countries in Europe.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
After writing the above, I looked up the St. Augustine Beach Front Resort on TripAdvisor and found it was rated #57 with many reviews describing experiences such as you had, and worse.

However, TripAdvisor is not infallible. I stayed at the Rennaisance Beverly Hills based on excellent TripAdvisor reviews and, as a result, experienced rudeness and a room with a tiny window facing a dark inner court.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 05:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 7,810
Thank you for posting. I'll certainly never stay at the St. Augustine after your warning. I would lodge a comlaint with all of the places other posters have mentioned, and try to see if you can get a refund. I hope you were able to enjoy some of your trip despite your terrible lodging situation.
KTtravel is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 10:28 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,190
A refund won't work in this instance because you didn't stay at (and therefore didn't pay) the St. Augustine. They received no money from you, so there's nothing to refund.

Your best best is to contact Orbitz and, if you're prepared to do so, other online booking websites that list that hotel. You can also post your review on tripadvisor, etc.

Another thing you might try is to write to the local paper (local for the St. Augustine) and relate your experience; try emailing the local news stations also. They might just be hungry for a "human interest" story to check it out.
toedtoes is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,946
Definitely dispute the charge with your credit card company. See if you can get the name of someone in management at Orbitz and contact that person. Good luck.
orangetravelcat is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,341
My condolences. You had only one night to stay in a wonderful area and you were treated very shabbily. I am not sure what will work, but here is my only idea, beyond what has already been suggested:

Write a letter (of complaint) to the editor of the local paper <[email protected]>.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
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