I pre-paid my room via the Choice Hotels site. Every time I have done this in the past, I have never had a problem with my debit card being charged again. This time, well before my arrival and check in, my card was charged the total amount of the room rental a second time. The front desk staff told me that it should not have happened; that since I pre paid I shouldn't have had any additional charges. They could not get anyone from the corporate offices on the phone to clarify or explain. I called the main number for the Choice Hotels website and explained the problem, and was told that I needed to take it up with the hotel, not with them. I went to Twitter, and got a canned response from Choice Hotels wanting me to email them to see if they could help. I didn't receive a reply until well after the problem was resolved and my trip was over.
The staff at the hotel, particularly Felicia, and especially Wil Adams, were most empathetic and helpful as they tried to resolve the matter. Wil explained that they were in the process of changing computer systems (or something to that effect), and my reservation was one that slipped through the cracks. He was able to release the "hold" (that should not have been there) and called my bank to have them release the funds.
When I finally heard from the corporate office, they explained that the hold was for "incidentals". In my reply I stressed that I should have had a choice as to what method of payment to use for "incidentals", instead of them running my card again without my authorization. This was a few days ago, and I have yet to receive a response. I doubt that I will.
Other than the billing problem, I found the hotel to be clean, and my room was what I expect from a Choice Hotels room. The breakfast was adequate. Not many protein or fruit choices but that might not be a big deal to some people. The staff, as mentioned above, were very friendly and helpful.
For the money (as a Choice Hotels member I got the pre-paid rate), this was exactly what I needed for this trip to visit friends and attend a wedding. It seemed to be centrally located to everywhere that I needed to be, on a major street that runs through Panama City.
It appears that consumers are being punished more and more for paying with cash/debit. I know how "holds" work, and this is why I don't use my debit card to reserve hotel rooms or rental cars. Now it seems that even if you pre-pay a room, they still withold funds, with no warning when you make the reservation. In the future, I will be pre-paying rooms with a pre-paid credit card, rather than have to deal with the hassle of my actual money being held hostage without my authorization. I hope that Choice Hotels changes their policy with regard to room pre-payment and "incidentals" at check in.
I marked the service as EXCELLENT, because of the staff at the hotel, NOT the customer service people who have had little to nothing to say about the mistake made with my card.
To make the shower work, you have to pull down on the ring of the bathtub tap.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.