I arrived at the Rica Ishavshotel on the night between Wednesday, Sep. 18 and Thursday, Sep. 19 at twenty minutes after midnight after a very long plain journey (13 hours) with two stop-overs. Upon arriving at the hotel I was surprised to learn that although my room was ordered and paid for, the hotel gave it to someone else, and I simply did not have a room. The clerk at the reception told me that he, too, does not have a good reply to the question why they gave me room to another person. He notified me that all other hotels in Tromso are fully booked, and thus he cannot assist me in finding another room in another hotel. He only suggested that he will give me a conference hall into which a convertible bed on wheels be put. The conference hall did not, of course, have any toilets, sink or shower. I found myself having to brush my teeth in a public toilet. I could not shower. I am not a young person, and during the night, when I need to use the toilet, I had to leave that conference hall and walk around the hotel, one floor down, to use in their public toilet. At 7:30 a.m., after a very bad night, I received another room, which was probably evacuated earlier, so at least I could shower and shave before attending the conference in which I participated at the University of Tromso (I am a university professor).
My paper was due that morning, and the very bad night I spent at the Rica Ishavshotel had its clear effects on my performance when delivering the paper and on the discussion that pursued my paper.
The clerk said that there are no vacant rooms in any other hotel in the whole of Tromso. At the time I was too exhausted to think about it, but in retrospect this seems to me to be, well, very surprising. Tromso is not a tiny place, and there are many hotels there. I wonder whether the hotel did not simply prefer to save for itself the trouble and expenses of paying for my room in another hotel, so that I will agree to sleep in that unpleasant conference room.
I expected that after such a serious failing, the hotel manager would come to talk with me and apologize. That did not happen. They seemed not to care. Only after I told the receptionist, on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 19th, how surprised I was that no one came to apologize or to try to explain what happened, the manager of the hotel came, the moring after (Friday, Sept. 20th) to talk with me.
The hotel manager said they have a policy of overbooking. Thus, people who order rooms sometimes find themselves with no rooms. I think that it is wrong of them to have this policy. It seems to me too greedy. My room was pre-paid for by Tromso University, they would have received the money for it if I didn’t show up, and they should not try to earn on it twice the fees and put their guests in the situation they put me. Indeed, many hotels do not have this policy just in order to avoid situations such as I experienced. I know that flight companies do have overbooking policies, but there the consequences are not as bad. If all people show up, the flight companies pay some people extra money for agreeing to delay their flights. In hotels, of course, this cannot happen. There was no reason in the world (except excessive greed and disrespect for hotel’s guests) for giving my room to another person.
Seeing how angry I was, the manger offered me a free meal in the hotel’s restaurant, or some money. I did not want to take any of that. I do not need the money or a free supper. What I do need, however, is to know that when I come to a hotel in which a room is reserved for me the room will be available. I do not need the money, I need to have a good night sleep in a clean and quiet room. That was not supplied by the hotel.
In the web page of the Rica Ishavshotel they brag about their excellent breakfast, beautiful rooms, etc. All that is much less important than keeping your part of an agreement or of a deal in an honest way. If you agreed to give me a room, do so, and respect yourselves and the people with whom you are dealing. I understand that the Rica Chain wants to maximize its earnings. But avarice can sometimes make you behave in ugly and indecent ways, that hurts the people with whom you interact. Skimming through clients notes of the hotel, I saw that this is not the first time that they perform this unpleasant trick on their guests (see review of February 14, 2013, in the “terrible” category). It’s their policy. I wonder how many other guests have suffered this type indecency at the Rica chain but have not written reviews. So if you wish to know that when you arrive you will indeed have the room you ordered, I advise you to think twice before choosing this hotel.
The room for me was ordered and paid for by the University of Tromso. I reported this to the university, and recommended to them not to use the services of this hotel any more. They said they will take this seriously, and consider following my advice. Since the University of Tromso already booked me in this hotel for the whole span of the conference, I had not choice but to continue to stay in this unpleasant hotel, but in the future I will never use again the service of this hotel or the services of any other hotel of this Rica chain. You, the reader, may choose to do as you see fit. But if you want to know that when you arrive at a hotel you will indeed have the room you ordered and expect to have, so that you will not have to sleep (perhaps with your family) in a conference hall, you may well think twice before choosing this hotel or chain.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.