Why you can’t always trust a brand name chain – Worst hotel stay ever!

19 Mar

As many of you know we went on a trip to Edmonton. I booked 3 nights with my airmiles at a Best Western – expecting what you’d expect from a chain hotel – clean, nice and just a good place to spend a family holiday. It was the Best Western Westwood on Stony Plain Rd.

We ended up driving straight there, so I phoned ahead to see if we could get our room one night early and just pay for it. They told me the queen room I booked wasn’t available for that night, so I just took a double knowing we’d switch over the next night. We got there and checked in, the hotel looked ok from the outside.

Our first room (308) was on a higher floor and a different area of the hotel. It was a non-smoking area but stank terribly, and many of the guests were commenting on that to us as we walked around the hotel. The room wasn’t very nice, but I figured it was one of their less renovated rooms. The heat didn’t work at all – all the buttons on it were broken off so there was no way to fix it. The tv barely worked – and the whole feel of the room was just unclean and not comfortable. We checked out the next day, and had to bring all of our belongings with us and leave them in the car.

We came back that evening to check into our Queen room which was prepaid through airmiles for 3 nights. The lady at the front desk told me I was still checked in from earlier room – which I wasn’t, had checked out and got my receipt etc. Then she told me the Queen we booked was no longer available so we’d have to go back to the Double. I had to ask to speak to someone else, who told me the room was available. The lady wanted my credit card, told me was just for incidentals but acted pretty oddly about it – so I checked my card and she had actually charged me for the prepaid airmiles room – $388! My husband went to complain, they told him it would come right off. I then spoke to 2 other employees who both promised me it would be removed in a few days, the manager even told me he phoned my card directly and had it removed.

The new room we got (105) was on the main floor and supposedly a newer area. The first night was uneventful as we just went to bed. The next day when we came back from our outings we all showered. Then as we were watching tv in the next room I could hear the person upstairs showering, then it sounded like a waterfall in our room. Thought we forgot the shower on so went to check. Nope, it was the dirty water from the shower upstairs cascading down the ceiling into our shower. We phoned the manager who said there were no other rooms, and could only offer us free breakfast. Told us if we wanted to shower he could get someone to clean the shower – he didn’t understand that the water from above would land on our faces as we stood in the shower. We were exhausted and didn’t need to shower til the next day so gave up on it. The room was really getting us down – just wanted to go to sleep so we could go out early in the morning – we were going to go back to the Waterpark.

In the middle of the night I started to hear weird scratching noises. There was a lot of noise in the hotel, doors slamming, people yelling etc. so I tried to ignore it. Then the noise got worse and worse so I sat up in bed and got that creepy kind of feeling – I put on my glasses and looked around. We had our bags on the floor near the tv unit since there was nowhere else to put them. Half the outlets in the room didn’t work (you plugged it in and it just fell out of the outlet) so my husband’s phone was charging on the floor. And then I saw his phone move…and I saw the little beady eyes glowing in the dark. There was a family of mice rummaging through our bags! I did the silent scream I’ve only ever seen in the movies, and woke my husband up. My 6 year old was sleeping beside me, so tried to tell him quietly, didn’t want to scare her awake. He went to the front desk – where he was told there were no other rooms and we should just go back to sleep. They were not surprised at all that there were mice in the room! I went to the front desk in my pajamas and refused to leave without speaking to the manager. Who had the nerve to ask me if the mice were there before or had come with us??? He then tried to tell me we couldn’t leave since there were no rooms available anywhere else, and we should just stay and get a new room the next day! Once again, he wasn’t surprised at all about the mice!!

We packed up our stuff, my husband had to shake all of our clothes out since who knows who long the mice had been in there – there were several of them all over the room, and they seemed to be living behind the tv unit. We had brought along a lot of snack food for the trip in a bag – which all had to be thrown in the garbage also. Had to wake up my sleeping kiddo and get her changed back into the only clothes we knew hadn’t been contaminated – and we left.

We had to drive around at 2am in the snow to find a new room, which we did quite quickly. I was pretty irritated at having to pay for a room when we had 2 nights left prepaid! We were all stuck wearing the same clothes to our outing the next morning as didn’t want anyone wearing the clothes from the bags. It was not a fun outing at all like it should have been – we were exhausted and I was near tears all day. We were very lucky that my friend Sheri was home, and let us come over after to wash all of our clothes and let us sleepover the Sunday night.

I thought I had done it right – I figured airmiles didn’t book places like this. Until I looked on tripadvisor… There are stories dating back several years with the exact same problems as us – being overcharged, the exact same leak in the washroom – and even the mice in the rooms!!

The manager has since emailed me to offer me my airmiles back – and a free night’s stay? Yuck! And I phoned my credit card company who informed me that no one in the hotel had ever called them – and they were nice enough to do a 3 way call with me and phone the hotel and remove the extra charges!

I will be contacting airmiles and Best Western and will let you guys know what the resolution is.

This is my warning to everyone – you can’t trust a chain name, and you can’t trust Airmiles to book a good hotel – learn from our ruined vacation. We never made it back to the waterpark like we wanted – a bad hotel can really ruin a holiday. I feel like I need a holiday now from all the stress this hotel caused us.

What is your worst hotel experience? And how would you have handled one like ours? What do you think the resolution should be?

*** First update – spoke to airmiles. The Best Western manager never called like he said he did. Airmiles was great about it, refunded me my miles right away, they even phoned the hotel. Hotel will be under review now – really hoping that Airmiles will stop supporting that location.

****Second Update – I phoned Best Western – said all they can do is offer me half back for my 1st night I paid for as a gift card…$70. Didn’t care at all about all the extra costs we incurred due to hotel, all we had to throw away. Was told to take the $70 and that’s all they can do for me. Told me no higher dpt to speak to, no Canadian part and to deal with the manager in Edmonton from then on. I obviously turned down the $70 gift card. The manager spoke to me rudely, was insensitive and condescending – some of the worst service I’ve ever had, if not the worst.

A bit more of an update here too.

42 Replies to “Why you can’t always trust a brand name chain – Worst hotel stay ever!

  1. The manager asked you if the MICE HAD COME WITH YOU.

    I am boggled. Nope, sir, I’m pretty sir that it’s not normal for people to import them…

    • I know – I couldn’t even imagine why someone would ask that? Yes, we travel with a family of mice all the time! So offensive!

  2. that is horrible! mice and water leaking isn’t that unsanitary?! surprised thas if this happened before that they weren’t shut down! yuck!

    • I will be contacting the Edmonton Health Board about it tomorrow to get them to go check – so unsanitary and unsafe – and just gross!

  3. Wow – that is super gross!! I would have probably woke up the entire hotel with my screaming if I had seen mice in my room!!! Horrible!!

    I definitely think that any additional charges that you incurred because of relocating hotels should be covered – you should get your airmiles back for sure, and the hotel should cover the expense of the other hotel you had to go to. Plus, the cost of what you had to throw out (food, etc). Word of mouth is their best advertising…unfortunate for this hotel!!

    • I’m thinking the same thing Evelyn – I had planned it all out as a cheap holiday, ended up costing a lot more because of the hotel. I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else….wish someone had warned me. There are a lot of similarly written positive reviews on the site – similar spelling errors…I will be posting mine there too.

  4. Oh. My. Gawd. There are no words! I’d be so flipping livid! How disgusting!!! I hope you get an appropriate response and resolution from both Air Miles and Best Western! I’m still itchin from reading this 🙁 so sorry your vacation was ruined.

  5. Holy Smokes! I’m speechless! That’s just Horrid!
    I hope you get refunded all your airmiles & that free night stay!? What a joke!
    I would have been freaking out hard core for sure.
    I would make them pay for laundry expenses – I would also make them pay for all the snack foods that were thrown out!
    Surely there is a health inspector that you can complain too..if you have mice in the rooms, and water flowing down walls – Imagine what the kitchen/food area is like for their continental breakfast! Certainly can’t be healthy!

    • we actually ate in their restaurant…scary stuff!! It was so hard to keep positive after all this, from check in the place was horrible.

  6. Absolutely despicable!

    SO glad you shared your experience. Please also share it on Trip Advisor – I know I never go somewhere without checking it out first.

    Hopefully you will get some resolution with Air Miles. I would be super aggravated if that happened on my vacation.

    Good luck!

  7. Oh my gosh!!!! Horrible!!! Tripadvisor is the best place to check for hotels for sure! But really best western should have been safe! That’s disgusting!!! Sorry you had to have your “vacation” there 🙁

  8. That is absolutely terrible!! We’ve had some pretty bad hotel stays, but definately nothing like your experience!! People now a days don’t give a $h;t about helping out their guests. So sad!!! I hope you get fully refunded and make sure to let airmiles know, there should be no way they allow that!! Good luck!

  9. I was moving back to Winnipeg from Calgary & needed a hotel for a couple of nights. I looked online for a hotel, looking for one near the airport. I ended up settling on the airport Howard Johnson, figuring HoJo was a decent enough name, good price. I didn’t realize until I got there that it was the old airliner. We got there at about 2 am, having driven straight from Calgary with our u-haul truck. The lobby was decent enough, but the elevator and hallway were sketchy. I stayed in the room while my husband & his father went to get our stuff. They came back with the most interesting story: they were on their way up in the elevator & at our floor when a girl got on the elevator, blocking them from getting off. They had to go back to the lobby with this girl who looked like she was probably worked at the strippers that was attached to the hotel& had gotten a little roughed up by a customer. Yeah. The room was kind of gross … I’ve stayed in some questionable places, but this one made me uncomfortable. My brother-in-law & his wife were in another room, the hallway was missing ceiling tiles, their shower was broken. So gross. We spoke to the manager, he apologizes and agreed that the hotel was not HoJo quality. He didn’t charge us for either room. We ended up going to the viscount fort & had a much nicer stay. And I was so happy when the holiday in took the hotel over & gutted it.

  10. OMG Nadine! This is so discusting! We are currently planning at trip to West edmonton miles (through airmiles as well) and will avoid this hotel with a 10 foot pole. I have to say this is not the first bad experince through best western and airmiles we had our own with a bestwestern booked through airmiles in LA. Luckly it was only financial issues (they were trying to bill us as well even though we had prepaid) I would def get gift cards now and not book the hotel unless I have been before. Shame on best western for not checking out their own hotels. Maybe they should go on undercover boss!

    • Makes me glad I wrote this then Kelly – can save your family the problems we had. Save up enough miles and stay in the mall if you can – we will be doing that next time for sure.

  11. That has to be the worst hotel stay story I’ve ever read!! I sure hope airmiles credits you for all 3 nights plus provides extra miles or gift card for something nice in Winnipeg. That hotel should be closed until mice are gone for good and all upgrades/fixes done too.

  12. OMG !!! you poor woman !!!

    If that was me n Rob….no word of a lie the cops would have been called lol.
    When I have my kids with me I am like a mother lioness…I would have had that manager by the neck and demanded he spend the night with the mice and give me an instant refund ont he spot !!!


    I hope everyone shares this

  13. I can’t get over the manager asking if the mice were already there or had come with you – I had to read that several times – we will likely be out that way in the summer – needless to say I will be staying at a different hotel – Closest hotel problem we had was in Kansas City – when we checked in for several days stay – there were some issues – literally mold on the wall, chair, carpet even the bedspread – turns out the room beside us had flooded a while prior and they were still dealing with it – they didn’t realize our room had been affected – however, we got lucky – excellent staff – helped us pack up the few things we had unpacked and moved us to an upgraded room – for no extra charge – got a room with a whirlpool tub in it – so while the initial roomw as bad – at least the hotel was great about fixing it.

    I am so glad airmiles gave you back your points and is now reviewing the hotel

    • me too! who asks someone something like that? it was such a stressful few days – i’m just relieved to be out there!
      You’d expect a hotel to do something when you have a problem, most will. I’m hoping this hotel is just an isolated problem.

  14. Wow, really sorry to hear about your story! Sounds like something out of a movie!

    Thanks for sharing! Not knowing about your event I just redeemed my airmiles for 2 Best Western gc. Was planning on going to Fargo with the kids? anyone have experience with the one’s in Fargo?


  15. Umm, not to scare you and cause more stress, but I would be checking my stuff for bed bugs too. I live in Edmonton and have heard the bed bug incidents are high here…sorry your stay wasn’t a good one.

    • i checked the rooms when we got in, and we never saw any. amazingly with all their bad reviews on trip advisor that’s the only thing they’ve avoided.

  16. That is a horrible thing to happen to anyone. I hope they get closed down. Like you said, it’s not a holiday when you feel so stressed out and grossed out.
    I always bring along a tub of those lysol wipes now. I have gotten paranoid about the surfaces or the remote, doorknobs, etc. I am more satisfied with just staying home these days–sad to say.

  17. We booked a hotel in Grand Forks, drove up and saw boarded up windows and some sketchy characters, so we drove around to find another. EVERYTHING was booked. Eventually we found a place. Our room was gross and creepy, but we felt it was safer. We were sitting around talking when all of a sudden a CAT appeared. Funny — they also tried to suggest that we had brought the cat in with us, but there was evidence that the cat had been there for some time.

  18. OMG i’m so sorry you had such a bad visit. I’m hoping that my trip there next month is nothing like this! I’m staying in a different hotel (the Raddisson) so hopefully that will be better.

    hope everything gets resolved quickly for you

    • Check the trip advisor and google hotel a lot before you go, just in case. We had a blast in Edmonton, and I’ll be posting about the fun stuff we did, and our favourite restaurant there etc. The city was great, just the hotel really ruined it all for us. I’m sure you guys will have a great time!

  19. Wow, that is just unacceptable. So sorry to hear you had to go through that & shame on Best Western for not dealing with these known issues! Glad to hear that Air Miles is returning the miles you used. I’ve tweeted your link to warn others about this hotel! 🙁

  20. There are no words Nadine!
    I always try to plan through CAA when on a roadtrip.
    Use the hotels they recommend at their discounted price.
    Occasionally there are AM redemptions that match up.
    Shame they treated you soo badly…

    • Note:

      The location where Nadine stayed is listed in the CAA Tour Book with 3 diamonds and CAA discount. And a big box around it so you will take notice (likely paid for by hotel).

  21. This Best Western Hotel experience you had WILL stick in my mind, and never will I stay there.
    Best Western is usually thought of as a reliable hotel to stick into – BUT NO MORE !!!
    I would also advise you to check for bedbugs!
    ALSO – for those who think high priced hotels (be it Vegas, New York, Orlando,, etc. – would NEVER have bedbugs, etc – GUESS AGAIN.
    Wealthy people from other countries, where bedbugs are a fact of life – very often have bedbugs, and think nothing of it!
    The risk of a disgusting room, service and all – is just as high at an expensive hotel as at a cheap one! MAKES ME SHUDDER JUST THINKING ABOUT IT!

  22. I have stayed at many hotels, some amazing and some that I wish I could forget.
    My husband & I booked into a hotel once , close to WI, and it was in the evening.
    I was pretty chatty with the clerk that was checking us in. He gave us keys to our room. It was pretty sketchy, thankfully we were there ONLY to sleep.
    Apparently the clerk was under a different impression. He called our room at midnight to invite us to a party in another hotel room.
    We quickly checked out of the hotel the following (early) morning. Their “complimentary” breakfast was pretty dirty and run down.
    I did contact the hotel, and they said they would look into it. I never heard from them again.

  23. That is too sad, Nadine!

    I am absolutely terrified of mice! I would have lost it. But when the manager asked if they came with you, I would have had a hard time to not “break on through to the other side”!

    I am very leary of hotels, motels, etc.

    The hotel should be shut down until that is fixed…that’s like a show of Kitchen Nightmares!

  24. That is a HORRIBLE experience. I work in the travel industry and put people in hotels on a daily basis… I will pass on your feedback to my company so that we can avoid Best Westerns in the future when ever possible. I couldn’t imagine putting my inconvenienced guests into a hotel like the one mentioned above with the knowledge I have now. That would be a second assault!!! I just moved to Alberta and really appreciate the feedback above. The fact that management and staff seemed to be unfazed by the incident is appalling, and shows what a low standards they have. They should have the power to reaccomodate you into any of their other locations should the situation arise, and the fact they sent you packing in the middle of the night rather then even suggesting another location at their cost baffles me and shows that Best Westerns as a chain, and not just this location, should be avoided.

  25. So sorry to hear about that experience – very awful! Hope you post to tripadvisor too. I use that site when I travel and it’s helpful, though there are different experiences. They should do more than what they offered, as compensation. Perhaps they don’t realize the power of word of mouth, especially in this electronic age! I think BW is declining in quality and service. sad.

    • I will be posting it all up on tripadvisor for sure too – i’ve contacted airmiles and caa and both are supposed to be looking into removing them for their lists. I’m just shocked at the response (or lack of) from Best Western – it shouldn’t be this hard to get a company to address something like this. I’m just glad I was able to get the word out and hope this saves some other people’s holidays.

  26. Little problems can ruin a family vacation, but these are outrageous problems! It is inconceivable that this hotel remains open. I hope your complaints make it to the top of the Best Western chain. And the Health authorities!
    A hotel chain should offer a consistent brand experience. Not all chains are the same quality or value that is true; consumers understand there is a difference in what they will get between say a Comfort Inn and a Westin. However there a minimum standards that any hotel should have to meet.
    I have found the Best Western to be the most inconsistent in their brand experience, and most likely to disappoint, of any chain we’ve stayed at. I usally avoid booking there at all costs, I’d pay $20 more to stay at a more reputable chain.
    I’ve also found Super8 to be inconsistent. If anyone every goes to Drumheller, hotels there are disproportionately expensive and the Super 8 is very tired and run down, although we’ve stayed there twice because even at over $160 a night in summer peak, it was the cheapest.
    Best quality for value we’ve found is Comfort Inn and that’s usually our value chain of choice when we can get it.

  27. So sorry to hear about your story, I would not be impressed being in your shoes either. My suggestion to you is to see if they have a Facebook page, and bring it up on there. We had a situation where my daughter was getting off of our top bunk bed and it collapsed on the bottom bunk. The store we bought it from was trying to blow us off. As soon as I brought it to their Facebook page, we got lots of attention. The bunk bed has since been recalled!

    • I dealt with their corporate head office, who assured me it would be dealt with. they even told me they’d be sending in people to check it out….my guess is that never happened. especially after reading pages and pages of similar gross reviews on tripadvisor, well after all my complaints. The health board was supposed to have gone in too…

  28. What a terrible experience, and even worse customer service!! I hope you let them know that you have a rather significant social media following, that your run your own website and Facebook group, and that unless they make it right, the last word your followers will hear is a bad one about Best Western.
    I travel a LOT for work (like every week), and I make a stink about any little thing that does not meet my expectations in a hotel. I know it probably makes me seem like a snob, but that’s my home away from home – I spend more time in hotels than I do in my own bed. Paying for a room, sleeping in a bed that someone else has cleaned, etc. takes a lot of trust, and they violated that trust.

    • I sure did Jill – spent days on the phone with their head office, bbb, health board, caa, airmiles – let everyone know what happened. Was promised it would be looked into, i’ve kept reading their reviews online and it only seems to have gotten worse there. 🙁

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