In which she narrowly averts fratricide in a hotel double bed

by DaniGirl on September 14, 2012 · 6 comments

in Away we go

One of my pet peeves about travel is that many hotels will not accommodate a family of five in a single room. When making a booking, before I check availability or other amenities, I always check to see whether they’ll accomodate two adults and three children in one room.

That’s what I was doing yesterday when I made a booking. The hotel’s website allowed me to select a room for two adults and three kids, and the online reviews were decent. The location was pretty good and the amenities were acceptable. Perfect! I had one more question that I couldn’t see addressed on the website, so I called and had my question answered, and the agent offered to book my reservation.

We went through everything: arrival and departure dates, number of guests, credit card number, etc. He asked for the ages of the boys and I gave it to him. We ended up with a room with two double beds, which would be tight, but we usually divide one kid per parent and the extra on whatever cot or pull-out is available. It was only for one night, so we could squeeze in. At $159, it was about what I expected to spend.

An hour or so later, when I checked my e-mail reservation, the price was stated as $219, but when I clicked through to the website, it confirmed the $159 price. So I called, and the agent confirmed the lesser price, which was good. “By the way,” I said, “I noticed when I was double checking the rates that you have a pool-side room for the same price. Can we have that?”

He put me on hold and checked. “Sure, I could do that, but it’s $175.”

Me: “No it’s not, it’s $159, I’m looking at it on your website.”

Him: “Oh, that’s the price for non-bed and breakfast. You have the bed and breakfast package.”

Me: “I don’t want a bed and breakfast price, I just want a bed. And a poolside room. Wait, I’m being charged for breakfast?”

Him: “Okay, can I put you on hold?” *pause* “Thanks for waiting. We only have bed and breakfast availabilities at that time.”

Me: “What?! You’re charging me for a breakfast I don’t want? That’s crazy! You can’t force me to pay extra for breakfast when you have non-breakfast rates on your website!”

Him: *unhelpful stammering*

Me: “Okay, putting that aside for a second, can you tell me if the poolside rooms are larger? Do they have a pull-out sofa or more room for the cot?”

Him: “Okay, can I put you on hold?” *pause* “The double room doesn’t have a sofa bed. We can provide you with a cot for $15.”

Me: “WHAT?! You’re going to charge me extra for the cot? Where the heck did you think the fifth person was going to sleep, in the bathtub?”

Him, clearly wishing he was anywhere else except taking the call from increasingly crazy lady: “Well, they’re kids, right? They can sleep in the bed together?”

I almost laugh at the idea. I can barely get them to share a living room at times, let alone a double bed. 170 collective pounds and twelve sprawling, poking, shoving limbs vying for real estate in one double bed had all the makings of a cage match. So not going to happen.

Needless to say, I cancelled the reservation. I’ve found a much nicer and more accommodating Holiday Inn Express for pretty much the same price with a junior suite: two queen beds and a queen-sized pull-out sofa. And free wifi, too! No children will be sacrificed to the gods of peaceful sleep during this hotel sojourn.

Moral of the story: Beware of hidden fees, and always ensure that each person has an actual place to sleep the next time you book a hotel room!

PS I thought about outing the hotel here, which is probably one of the most recognizable names in the industry and really a brand I had equated with a higher level of class and service — but I decided that it’s more about the funny story than the axe to grind with a particular chain. But still!

PPS This hotel booking is part of a VERY EXCITING ADVENTURE coming up for us next month and I am squirming to tell you about it. Let’s just say if you thought the Mexico adventure was cool, you ain’t seen nothing yet!


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carly September 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

So what you’re saying is that we shouldn’t have that third child we’re contemplating? 😛

Can’t wait to hear about the next big adventure!

2 Jody September 14, 2012 at 8:41 am

FWIW, a lot of hotels won’t let you sleep five in a room under any circumstances. We’ve run into many, many Holiday Inns (not the expresses) that have a four-person max for fire-code reasons.

We had a terrible experience in San Diego where we thought we were getting two queens with a pull-out couch but it turned into a king-sized bed with a cot. So there were three kids and an adult in one bed, when the kids were SEVEN. Not a lot of sleep happened there. Ugh.

We’ve just resigned ourselves to two rooms at this point. And Staybridge Suites whenever we can.

3 Catherine September 14, 2012 at 10:02 am

I am a new reader of your blog and had to comment on this post. Trying to book hotel rooms for our family of five is the bane of my existence. OK, maybe not the bane but is a huge pain in the you know what. I look forward to reading about your adventure!

4 K September 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Better than Mexico?? Is that possible? I’m so curious!

5 Liisa September 16, 2012 at 11:20 am

Even with two kids, I hate staying in a traditional hotel room – it’s cramped and we have to wait till the boys are asleep before we flip on the TV or have a conversation. So we usually look for condos to rent, especially when it’s for more than 1 or 2 nights at the most.

We decided that other families must feel the same way so we bought a vacation rental condo here in Ottawa. And within a week, it’s almost full for the next few months. I think we’re gonna need to buy some more and get serious about this business… Condos are definitely the way to go for family travel.
In case your readers are visiting Ottawa, here’s the listing for our Ottawa property http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalReview-g155004-d3463030-Downtown_Condo_with_Hotel_like_Amenities_and_View-Ottawa_Ontario.html

6 Chantal September 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Last winter I was browsing discount sites for last minute winter vacay deals and was very annoyed that most of the sites don’t even let you chose more than two kids. I didn’t bother calling because I wasn’t actually planning to go anywhere, just dreaming really. This could get complicated.

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