This was a bad experience from the beginning. A colleague and I separately booked rooms at Hotel Swagath because it was located near a wedding reception venue we were attending. We booked through the reservation system on the hotel's website, which required payment-in-full up front (which was our first mistake).
I arrived first, during the afternoon, and was taken up to the fourth floor, where my room was decidedly NOT renovated in the last couple of decades -- dingy, all-pink, peeling walls, harsh fluorescent lighting, and stained/torn rust colored bed cover with a room number (not my room number) written in black marker on the reverse corner when I turned it down. All switches on the A/C were broken, so the only way to work it was to plug it and unplug it. Nothing at all like the neat, clean rooms pictured on the website. Everything about it assaulted the senses and any feeling of hygiene. And then there was the wifi - one router located on the first floor, so the signal was too weak to reach my room.
I tried to forget my feeling of disappointment since I had already pre-paid for the room and the staff offered to move me to a better room on a lower floor the next day. However, when my colleague arrived late in the evening, we were informed that there weren't anymore rooms -- in spite of her having her booking confirmation with the bill listed as paid in full. I told the front desk staff that we needed to stay together in the same hotel, and that my room was already inadequate, so we'd prefer to take a refund and go find our own alternate accommodation (even as it was nearing 11 pm). The front desk attendant refused to give us a refund, insisting that we had booked through an outside company (which we hadn't, it was apparently another company whose booking system they had embedded in their own site - but the guy didn't even understand how their booking system works) and saying that the hotel hadn't yet received the money from the booking company yet, so how could he refund us? I explained to him that it wasn't my business what the relationship between the hotel and their booking company was - if they took money and did not provide the promised accommodation, then they should refund us and take that up on their own time.
On and on we went, around in circles, and he refused to issue any kind of refund or even apologize for failing to provide us with anything resembling what we'd paid for - all we got was attitude. After a lengthy and frustrating argument, during which the only options he insisted on were 1) that we stay in the one terrible room together for one night, in spite of having booked two rooms or 2) one of us take a room in a different hotel under the same questionable management, I gave up and said we'd leave and take it up with managment tomorrow - I wasn't going to stay even a single night in this place. I went up to my room, collected my things, dragged them back down from the fourth floor, and when I reached the lobby, the front desk attendant finally had his manager on the phone. The manager gets some credit for being more polite than his employee, but he offered the same basic options and I told him that all we wanted was a refund -- which he assured me we would receive. So off we went in a cab to another hotel (233 Park Street Hotel), which was fortunately very nice and had a very cordial and understanding staff (more on them in another review!)
As it stands now, the booking company only refunded me about 2/3 of my money -- they claim I stayed a night at Swagath so still charged me for this, as well as a 10% cancellation fee. They told me to take up the issue of getting this additional erroneous fee refunded with the hotel, and of course the hotel management has not responded to me yet, four days after I sent a message asking them to sort this out. I shouldn't have to argue and fight and plead to get back the money for this debacle. If they had handled the resolution and refund with grace, they might have earned a "poor" rating rather than "terrible".
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Swagath India/Kolkata (Calcutta), Asia