After over 15 years of regularly staying at the Banff International Hotel last week was the last time staying there.
The property was renovated a number years ago but is now average at best. I liked staying there because:
- the rooms are large
- property is very close to the core couple of blocks of Banff avenue with restaurants, shops and bars (St. James Gate in particular)
- Safeway is across the street for snack runs
- large underground heated parking for the winter ski weeks
This year as usual I checked on-line for availability and called in to book. Got the usual $245 price given the summer peak season (versus the usual half for the lower winter months). I was told that given we were repeat customers we would get an upgraded room.
Upgrade turned out to be simply the same room but located in the "new" outer ring, which is as dated as the rest of the rooms, with a view. The view turned out being Mt. Rundle as our room was directly above the front door drive up ramp. For the winter probably not that bad as the windows would need to be closed. However, not good at all for the summer as the rooms have no air conditioning. We needed to open the windows which also let in all the street noise and kept us up at night--close window and roast or open and listen to every person walking by or having a smoke out front.
"Upgraded" room aside the biggest issue and reason for not staying again was the awful service and attitude of the management. In particular, upon checking in a walk-up asked the next front desk agent the rate. The agent very loudly quoted $55 less per night for the same standard room we reserved. Without simply handing over our extra $55 per night we politely questioned why our rate was so much higher. We were told they were not a full capacity so they had dropped the rate. After pointing out that the difference was rather significant (to us it was) and that we were regular customers for over 15 years the Manager was called out and we were told that because we made a reservation we had no choice but to pay the higher price. As a compromise the Manager indicated that they may give us a 3rd or 4th night free for a future stay at full rates of at least 2 or 3 nights. However he would have check with his Manager and get back to us the next day.
Needless to say we had no options other than to check in or have to pay for all the nights booked given a 72 hour cancellation policy. No one ever contacted us the following day.
When questioning the front desk agent upon checkout I was simply smiled at as my credit card was processed.
Last time staying given a reservation only guarantees paying an over-inflated price and management could care less about getting a repeat customer.
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