Travel Tips & Adventures

Real People. Real Travel.

The Guest Always Wins – Usually

Sometimes, travel is not at all what you had hoped to experience. Despite best intentions and great facilities, a stay becomes memorable for the wrong reason.
I can give several examples of travel that should have been great, but wound up being anything but.

Photo better than the reality

For several years, I had saved a promotional card for a hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico that looked perfect for a romantic stay. The photo made the place look perfect for an opportunity to be really immersed in the culture and center location of the old Santa Fe. I couldn’t wait!

When I made the reservation through a booking third party, I asked for a non-smoking Queen room. After we checked in at the hotel, we headed to our room, which had a double bed – not at all the room we hoped for, especially with my tall husband. Back at the front desk, we asked for the Queen, non-smoking room we had booked– politely. They offered us a Queen room – in the smoking area with a chance to use an ionizer to eliminate the odor. We were told to drop our suitcases and come back in a couple of hours so the ionizer could work.
Well, the ionizer didn’t work. The smoky smell was still strong and our neighbor on the shared patio was smoking and the smoke was wafting into the room.
We went back to the small double room. Not happy campers. Our visions of the stay we had wished for were ruined. The bed was very lumpy and uncomfortable, too.
I did not request compensation or complain. It was apparent that nothing would come of it. On other occasions, I was more successful with valid complaints…

Romance is great… except when it’s someone else

We had reserved a room at an upscale resort in Tucson, Arizona. The Web site showed it to be comfortable, private and self-contained with a great restaurant on the premises, an exercise facility and other attractive amenities.
What we didn’t know was that the hotel was undergoing renovation. Nowhere on their Web site was that little fact mentioned.
Consequently, when we arrived, we were assigned a room in a building that was awaiting renovation with no one else in the eight-room section. The room had a number of maintenance problems, not the least of which was that the maintenance man who came to fix the constantly running toilet and other problems made disparaging remarks about his employer.
All of this became secondary when, on our second night, another couple was assigned to the room above us. The insulation was thin, it turned out, as the amorous couple upstairs noisily bounced around for hours, keeping us awake. With six other units in the building, we could never understand why they had assigned the other couple to the room directly above us.
We complained to the front desk. They asked us if we’d like to move. At midnight? Why should we need to move when we had been there first and the other party was the problem?
We decided that if we were going to pack, we’d just as soon pack and go home. We live only 1½ hours away.
When I called and spoke to the manager a day later, I explained the situation – calmly. He offered to provide a free stay at another time, preferably when the hotel’s renovation was complete. We did receive a card for a complimentary stay, but we never used it. We just didn’t want to deal with them again.
However, the rational, calm way I discussed my concerns resulted in a freebie that not everyone would be offered. This approach has served me well a number of times.

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