Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Take a Walk With Me: Getting Walked Because the Hotel Screwed Up

Stick around because this story has a happy ending...

The Great Pandemic of 2020 is winding down for us. All three of us have been fully vaccinated and it's time to stick our toes into traveling again. We've decided to take a few days in Carson City, Nevada, which is a couple of hours away from home, a very scenic drive over the Sierra Nevada mountains.

I've reserved a guaranteed, accessible suite with a king size bed, a queen size fold-out sofa, and a roll-in shower for Tim and his wheelchair.

It was a beautiful, fun, and eventful drive over the mountains to get here (which you can read in our other trip posts) and we're pulling into our hotel, the Hampton Inn and Suites on the north end of Carson City.

Tim and my wife get out of the van. I park and join them in the lobby. I go to check in and then here those dreaded six words that special needs travelers...hear just way too often these days: "there's been a problem with your room."

"No," I'm thinking, "not again."

"The people in your room have extended their stay," I'm told.

Why is that never an option with me? Whenever I ask if I can extend my stay, I'm always told "the room is reserved, you have to leave." It seems like everyone else can just say "screw the next suckers, I'm staying!"

"What do you have for us?" I ask.

"We know you reserved a king suite, we have a two queen room for a little less per night."

Now, I reserved this particular room because of the king bed. While we can make do with a queen, my wife and I are used to a king bed and I really didn't want to feel squeezed so I looked far and wide to get a room just like this so we wouldn't have to.

"We really wanted that king bed," I replied.

"Sir, that's all we have."

Then, for some reason, it occurred to me to ask the key question..."I guess we'll have to make do, does it have a roll-in shower?"

The heavens opened up and fate tilted to my side..."um, no...did you need one?"

"I reserved one. See that man sitting behind me in the wheelchair? I think you can see that is non-negotiable."

"Um, maybe you can  spend the night in the double queen and we can see if we can move you into a roll-in shower tomorrow."

"Hold that thought, go ahead and check in the people waiting behind me. Maybe you can book me into another equivalent room at another hotel. Let me talk to my wife and son and I'll get back to you," I said.

I quickly went to the other end of the lobby and started calling other hotels. Quickly, I connected to the Holiday Inn Express in nearby Minden and asked if they had an accessible room with a roll-in shower available. They didn't but they had a two-queen suite with a fold-out sofabed with a walk-in shower (same except for a small lip at the entrance) that had a shower bench for $10 more than the Hampton.

I took it.

I went back to the front desk, told the clerk to just cancel me without penalty and I would go to the other hotel.

I guess they felt bad because the manager told her to call the Holiday Inn Express and let them know Hilton would be paying for that room..."walking" us to another hotel in the business no cost to us. On top of that, since they screwed the pooch so bad by not having our guaranteed room for us, they also gave me a few thousand points in my Hilton loyalty account.

A quick drive to Minden put us into the Holiday Inn Express, into a nice, large room with everything as promised. As a bonus, our hotel for the weekend was now free.

Remember that you have rights, politely insist that the property honor them, and make it right if they don't. Who knows? Your vacation might just become free like ours did.

Darryl Musick
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