First of all, anyone who has ever read my reviews know that most of my reviews are VERY positive. However, my experience with the owner/GM of this hotel left a sour taste in my mouth and they will never have to worry about a review from me after this because we will not be back.
A couple of months ago, I found this hotel on Trip Advisor while looking to book a hotel for a cheerleading competition. After booking the hotel, I called several other families that also decided to book there on my recommendation. The day before our arrival, I received a call from Kevin saying that they had attempted to authorize my debit card for the FULL amount of the stay PLUS $25 per DAY incidental charge and my card had been declined. I explained to him that I was unaware that any authorizations would be placed on my debit card before I even arrived and that a deposit would be made at midnight that night (my check) and didn't intend on transferring money for the full stay to be authorized given the circumstances. I was promptly told that this was "hotel policy" (which is posted no where on their website) and that I could either give them another card or my reservation would be cancelled. I asked to speak with the manager, who I later find out is an owner of some sort.....Manu Joshi. He was unavailable so I left a VM. Within 30 minutes I received a call back from Mr Joshi who explained to me how it was their policiy because people will make 15-30 night reservations and that they authorize the whole stay up front in order to keep from losing revenue. I explained politely that their policy was 1) not available to anyone via their website and 2) I was only staying for 3 nights and their cancellation policy was until 6 pm local hotel time. If they authorized 1 nights stay (for which funds WERE available on my card without me making transfers or deposits) then if I didn't show up, they were covered for the one night I would be liable for, and , per THEIR policy, the remainder of the reservation would be cancelled after I didn't show up. Mr Joshi's response was that I had until 4:00p.m. that day to give them another form of payment or my reservation would be cancelled and that if I couldn't afford to stay in the hotel, then he suggests I go somewhere else. I was FLOORED. I have NEVER EVER had someone speak to me in that manner. This man has no IDEA what I can or can't afford. I do not keep large amounts of cash in my checking account and typically transfer what I need into the account when it's needed. (Anyone that has ever had a check or debit card stolen would understand this) It just so happened my paycheck was actually being deposited so I saw no need to transfer money over just so the hotel could put some bogus amount on hold. $25 a day INCIDENTALS???? In a hotel that has NO restaurant, nothing.......What in the world were we going to charge?
I wanted to cancel the reservation right then, but since all of our children's friends were staying at the hotel, and knowing that I was the one that led everyone TO the hotel......I hated to move. I did find out later that day, after the phone calls back and forth that several other families were spoken to the same way. This man has no CLUE what customer service is and Intercontinental Hotels should be embarrassed that one of their Hotel chain names in on this hotel. When I called back to the hotel after transferring additional funds into the account, I spoke with Kevin. I told him that the funds were available and he could run the card but I wasn't happy at all about being spoken to the way Joshi had spoken to me, repeating to him what was said. He seemed genuinely surprised and apologetic regarding the inappropriate remarks.
After arriving at the hotel and checking in on Friday, Jan 18, my husband mentioned to the desk clerk that he felt the GM owed me an apology for speaking to me that way. Within 10 minutes of being in our room, our phone rang and Mr Joshi asked what we needed to speak to him about. I took the phone and explained that my husband and I both felt that an apology was in order regarding his earlier remarks to me regarding what we could or couldn't afford. Mr Joshi told me he was going to have to "respectfully disagree"....that he didn't owe me or anyone else an apology and stood by what he said. When I went to speak, he said "you have a nice day "....and completely dismissed me.
For a hotel that apparently this manager/owner felt I couldn't afford, it was average at best. The king beds in the room were a big draw to me at first, but they didn't outweigh the stained furniture, paper thin walls where one could hear the next door neighbor's conversation, or the complete arrogance of Joshi. It was fairly clean although the hair I saw in the bathroom on the shower wall before my luggage was even all in the room was definitely not my color.
We attempted to take our kids to the indoor pool one evening but only lasted about 45 minutes because the chlorine in the air was so strong, our eyes were stinging and watering. The kids even complained (and kids never notice that kind of stuff) that the chlorine was just to much.
We also had to park on the side of the hotel twice because of late night arrivals after competition but were forced to walk around to the front doors in 10 degree weather because the side entrance keycard swipe wasn't in working order per the sign on the door.
Needless to say, we were beyond disappointed with the whole experience. Somewhere down the line, this Mgr has lost all sense of customer service. To be treated as though I was unable to afford this hotel was beyond insulting to me and my family.....even worse, if I HAD needed to wait until Friday a.m. for the authorization to be placed on my card, I obviously would have been treated with complete disrespect and disdain because of it. This man couldn't even agree that the policy SHOULD be on the hotel website so that consumers can make an informed decision as to whether they want to book that hotel with their policies. I am not able to recommend this hotel to anyone based on my experience here.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
I want to thank you for taking the time to review our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast.
While we do accept debit cards due to their agreement with either MasterCard, Visa, or American Express and our agreement to accept these cards, we do not recommend doing so. This is because in the financial industry, debit cards actually take 3-5 times longer to release authorizations than credit cards. For this reason, we suggest that a credit card be used to secure the reservation. As most Holiday Inn Express locations are independently owned, the corporate office has a generic page for each location, and each location's page will look nearly identical. The only way to determine a hotel's policy that you are traveling to is to call that hotel itself. Even the central reservation office does not have all the policies concerning the operations of the hotel, as they are not part of the ownership group. For them to be able to provide every policy that each hotel has would simply be too great a task not only for collecting the information, but also storage and displaying this, as there are approximately 5,000 hotels under the Holiday Inn Express family of hotels. You will notice that none of the other Holiday Inn Expresses have this information on their page either, for the same reasons as we do not have it on ours.
When a person makes a reservation at the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast, they give their credit card to guarantee the reservation. Prior to the guest's arrival, per our internal policy, which can change periodically, we do authorize the credit card on file for the entire stay. We do this so that we can verify that there are sufficient funds available. Upon checkout, any unused portion of this authorization is then released back to the cardholder. Incidentals are anything that is charged to the guest room, not including the room charges. For instance, the most common incidentals here are long distance phone calls and laundry. Without a valid credit card, a reservation is subject to cancellation.
I know that you have spoken with Zdenka Pulliam, Assistant Guest Services Manager. Ms. Pulliam informed you that she is one of the Managers here at the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast. When speaking with her, Ms. Pulliam told you that the policy of the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast is to authorize credit cards prior to the guest's arrival, and that phone calls are made to those guests whose credit card declined. This is done to ensure that there are funds available for the entire stay.
After you spoke with Ms. Pulliam, you then spoke with George Reed, Director of Sales. Mr. Reed reiterated that all guests have their cards authorized prior to arrival to ensure that the cards are valid. Next, you spoke with me, Kevin Smrz, Guest Service Manager. We all have said that it is our policy to attempt an authorization prior to the guest arriving at the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast. If a guest's credit card is approved, then no further action is taken by the staff. However, if a guest's credit card declines, then, out of courtesy, we do call the guest so that they can provide a credit card that will be authorized prior to arrival. You then contacted the corporate office of Holiday Inn Express. After reviewing both side's comments, the corporate office found in favor of the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast, as we were following our internal policies set forth by the corporation that owns the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast.
Finally, you spoke with our General Manager, Manu Joshi. Mr. Joshi attempted to explain our policies to you, and I was standing next to him throughout your conversation, and I was able to listen to both sides of the conversation. I was surprised to hear you say that you would get what you wanted or that you would go online to post fake reviews. We believe this to be extortion and when a person makes demands in this fashion, we do not take kindly to those demands. Even more surprising was the threats that were directed toward Mr. Joshi and against the hotel from your party. Therefore, we are asking that you stop harassing the staff of and the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast.
During your stay, I noticed that you claimed that the chlorine in the pool area was so strong. This is the first that I have heard of this, as we had no other complaints over the weekend. I would think that something such as this would have been brought to my attention. On a daily basis, we do check our chemical balance three times a day. This includes ensuring that the pH, chlorine, and alkalinity are all within the proper range as prescribed by the Marion County Health Board, as well as recording the water temperature at the same time. This water is tested on a weekly basis by an outside lab and monthly by the county Health Board. The results of these tests are on file here at the hotel.
Before each room is deemed ready to rent and after Housekeeping has cleaned the room, our Executive Housekeeper, who has been with the company that owns the hotel for 9 years at this hotel and others, inspects each room. She goes through each room and visually inspects it, and should the room pass her inspection, it is then turned over to Front Desk as a room that is ready to rent. Between me and Ms. Pulliam, we were at the Front Desk for 18 hours per day and neither one of had a complaint from you in regards to this.
Again, thank you for reviewing our hotel. I do hope that in the future, you will give the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast a chance to redeem itself in your eyes.
Kevin J Smrz
Guest Service Manager
Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis Southeast
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.