I am writing in regards to my recent experience at your hotel. I was staying there for two nights 1/17-1/19/2014 with my son’s hockey team. I had reserved a room over the phone on 11/9/2013 for the two nights at a rate of $104.99+tax. I had reserved the room on my credit card knowing full well that I would be paying for the room with cash upon check in.
On 1/16/2014, I contacted the hotel regarding the policy that was written in the email that I received as a reservation confirmation. In this policy it states:
“Check-In Time: 3:30 p.m. – Your room is guaranteed with a valid credit card until 11 p.m. the day of arrival. You will need to present the valid credit card and picture ID at check-in. Your credit card will authorized for the amount of your stay the day before you arrive. We suggest not using a debit card when making your reservation to avoid an authorization hold on your bank account. Authorizations on debit cards may take 7-14 business days to be released on your bank account. This depends on your banks processing time; we have no control how long it may take for the funds to be released. We are not responsible for overdrafts or fees associated with your debit card. You may pay at check-out by credit card, debit card, or cash. If your credit/debit card is declined, and cannot be authorized for the amount of your room reservation, your reservation may be cancelled and release to be re-sold to the general public because it is not a valid reservation without a credit card authorizations. Only guests listed on the reservation may check-in.”
Since I knew that my credit card would be declined upon pre-authorization, I contacted your hotel regarding my stay. I did not want to travel 2 ½ hours only to find out that my reservation was cancelled and I did not have a room. I spoke with the front desk staff who I later found out was Michele. I told her that I would be checking in on 1/17/2014 and that the credit card that I used to reserve the room under would be declined if processed, but I would be paying in cash for my stay. I told her that I was concerned that my reservation was going to be cancelled due to the hotels policy and wanted to make sure that the hotel was aware of the situation. I asked SEVERAL times if I would need to do anything else regarding payment or deposit of my reservation. She assured me that there would not be ANY issues and paying with cash WAS NOT a problem.
Upon arrival, which was around 4:00 p.m., I just happen to have Michele checking me in at the time. I told her that I would be paying in cash for the room and when she REPEATEDLY asked for my credit card to authorize the payment on the room, I had to keep explaining to her that the card would be declined and I would be paying in cash for the room. She made a total of 4 trips into the office on her right to ask questions about my situation. Two of the times she came back to me AGAIN and asked me for my credit card to authorize my stay. The third time she came back and told me that I had to pay a $300 cash deposit that would be held in an envelope that she drew a bunch of lines and x’s on for signatures and dates. I was informed that this $300 deposit would be returned to me upon check out on 1/19/2014. At that time, I had already spent 30 minutes at the check-in counter and there was a line of about 10 people trying to check-in also. I informed her that when her and I spoke on the phone that there was NO mention of ANY deposit and it was a good thing that I had brought extra cash with me because people don’t typically carry an extra $300 on them unless they have a reason for needing that much cash (like if the hotel had stated I would need to provide a $300 deposit).
I have SEVERAL issues with my check-in situation along with the hotel in general. When I originally read the hotels policy, I had gone to your website to see if there were other rooms available in case I did loose my reservation. I did in fact find the same room for that weekend at a rate of $95.99 per night, which is $9.00 less per night than what our whole group had paid. Maybe my thought is wrong on this, but considering your website boasts about being “one of Duluth’s leading group of hosting hotels” I find it quite amazing that group rates are more expensive than last minute reservations. Not only that, but we were required to have our rooms booked 2 months in advance and only allowed to cancel our reservation up to 30 days before our stay. So if we did not cancel our reservation by 12/16/2013, we would be charged the “two night minimum room plus tax fee”. But yet if you made your reservation on-line, you only needed to cancel 1-2 days before your stay.
When I pulled into the hotel, my vehicle barely made it up the driveway due to the steep grade of the driveway and the amount of snow and ice on it. There was hardly any parking available because of all the warning signs about only 4-wheel drive vehicles being allowed in the lower lots. The front entrance had use of only one of the doors as the other door had hazard tape all over it for some reason. The Wi-Fi service that was offered absolutely sucked as I could receive signal on one side of my room and no signal on the other side of my room. I could go on about the other “hotel rules” that we were given, but I think that you get my point.
I will be forwarding this email on to anyone that I can find within your company and within Americas Best Value Inn website so that no one else ever needs to deal with this again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.