The Shocking and Shameful Indifference of a Freeway Room Factory
21/04/2018 BabyandBunny, Palm Springs, California
My closest friend was returning to Canada by car after wintering in Palm Springs. We became alarmed when text messages reported that his heart was racing, his breath short and he was unable to contin... more
My closest friend was returning to Canada by car after wintering in Palm Springs. We became alarmed when text messages reported that his heart was racing, his breath short and he was unable to continue traveling. He was seen by an urgent care doctor in Salinas, California who immediately sent him by ambulance to the local hospitality emergency department where he was kept for 12 hours until his condition stablilized. He checked into the Best Western Salinas Monterey Hotel and withdrew to his room where he attempted to find a modicum of comfort and solace until he could stabilize. At considerable expense, I caught the first flight to San Francisco and drove three hours to Salinas to be by his side. I was alarmed by his weak, incontinent condition and started rehydration therapy, realizing he needed rest and close monitoring. Regrettably and most unfortunately, here is where the hotel's management and the usual "can do" attitude of independent Best Western owners let us down so badly.
The hotel was fully booked that evening and insisted that my very ill friend vacate his room immediately.
I traveled internationally for 25 years and have visited more than 100 countries. I understand how the industry works and the convenience that the guaranteed reservation system has brought to travelers as well as certainty to owners. I also understand that, in certain unforeseen circumstances, guests need to extend their stays. I have always been treated with kindness and respect whenever I fell ill on the road, whether at the Intercontinental in Abidjan or the Hotel Plaza San Francisco in Santiago.
The junior front desk clerk knew of my friend's illness but the party line was mercilessly invoked: "we're booked and you have to leave." I asked her to elevate the problem to the independent owner Mr. Patel, but both his duty manager and the manager in charge were adamant about my friend abandoning his sick bed. Hilariously, the clerk then attempted to use the ruse that she had contacted all of the reservations for that evening during my brief visit to the pharmacy and they were all intending to stay. Imagine! A hotel now emptied of its overnight, transient highway travelers had contacted each and every one of its many incoming guests in under 60 minutes and had verified that all of them would be present!
h am not a hotelier and I do not play one on TV, But Here's what the hotel should have done, if it had acted in the spirit that we have come to know from independent Best Western owners. The Best Western Plus Salinas Valley Inn is located next door to the Salinas Monterey, 150 yards away. They had rooms available that evening and could have accommodated one traveler, in the event that their hotel was eventually overbooked that evening. The hotel duty manager could have personally escorted that guest to the neighbouring property and made a gesture of some kind (an upgrade? a coupon? a thank you letter?), to excuse the inconvenience and to thank the guest for accommodating a traveler encountering a medical emerengency. Instead they insisted that my friend rise from his sick bed, pack his things and vacate the room immediately. Shortly after 1 pm, while we were struggling to cope, the clerk's male counterpart had the audacity to call the room to tell us to hurry up.
Here's what I can report and what I know. I made sure to cancel all of our remaining stays at Best Western properties for the remainder of the trip. Revenue lost: $1200. Best Western will remain a no-go zone for our future travels for the forseeable future. Loss: (Let's just say that we travel a lot and this amount won't be insignificant.) I am kindly requesting that TripAdvisor begin an immediate inquiry into the hotel's current 4 out of 5 star satisfaction rating. The hotel clerk's male colleague suggested that I contact TripAdvisor, and that they would somehow confirm that we had been unreasonalble. After all, they had a framed Certificate of Excellence displayed prominently on their counter, proving that they must be good hosts! Is the hotel using TripAdvisor to help fill its rooms night after night? It most certainly is. Has the shoddy treatment doled out by this property merited a review and possible downgrade of its quality and satisfaction status? We believe so. less
PETER P, Guest Relations Manager at Best Western Salinas Monterey Hotel, responded to this review
Dear baby and bunny,
We are sorry for the situation and if there was any possible way of extending your friends stay we would have happily done it.
We are unable to bump guaranteed reservations for any reason as they are bound by contract. I hope you will consider putting yourself in the place of the guests who had reservations and how unfair and upset they would be be to get here and have no room. please understand the position we were in and know that we care about all guests and did every possible thing to extend your friends stay. I hope you will consider staying at best western again in the future. You can always call us if you would like to further discuss this.