We arrived at the hotel later than expected ,through no fault of our own, as our flight had been delayed. My husband kept the hotel updated at regular intervals regarding our delay and each time the issue of pre authorisation came up - i.e. we need to take money from your credit card in case you do not turn up - each time we explained that we would keep them informed, that they had our credit card details already and that we were not willing to pre authorise any amount.
We eventually got on our way and received a call from the receptionist at around 10.30pm, who asked if we were definitely coming as it was getting late, I said we were 15mins away - she informed me she was getting to the end of her shift and wanted to cash up and go home but would wait and would hold our booking. The issue of pre authorisation came up again, despite assurance that we were on our way and again, we declined.We arrived at the hotel weary, so very weary and were greeted politely by the receptionist, however, after the niceties were over the issue of pre authorisation came up again! The receptionist, albeit very polite was insistent that we pay this pre authorisation of £125.00 in case we had extra expenditure at the hotel, so in effect we would be paying “just in case” we had a drink/food/room service. We assured her that we would pay cash (which is what we would normally do), if we wanted any extras. She assured us, that the £125.00 would not be incurred.
Nowhere, that I can find, on the hotel’s website does it mention taking pre authorisation for anything other than reservations. (see terms and conditions Best Western Atlantic Hotel Chelmsford)
The next day, Saturday, a raucous group of lads presumably on an away day of some sort, checked in to the hotel and proceeded to “Oi Oi!” and generally swear, shout and bang doors, up and down the corridor and decide they were not “gonna fight tonight” whilst getting ready for their night out and on their return at @ 3.00am continued to bang doors shout up and down the corridor and generally disturb other paying guests sleep. It was very distressing. The porter was informed, he called the police, they didn’t come out and eventually it quietened down.
On check out we complained, along with other guests, about the disturbance of the night before and the receptionist was sympathetic..... but hey, guess what? there was the pre authorisation amount of £125.00 on our bill plus payment for the three nights stay. We asked for the preauthorisation money of £125.00 to be refunded with immediate effect; we were informed it wouldn’t be in our account until 3 days later! It should never have been charged in the first place! We didn’t spend anything in the hotel, we didn’t do a runner(clearly) and we did not damage the room. We had no option but to succumb - she was not going to give us our money back and kept repeating it was our responsibility to obtain it from our bank!
I have never stayed in a hotel so obsessed with getting your money or, with regard to the behaviour of unruly guests, felt as vulnerable. Guests comfort and safety should be priority. less