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.