My husband and I are wedding photographers with an incredibly busy travel schedule, so we stay at hotels frequently - at least once or twice a month. We seldom have any trouble with the hotels we stay at, since we are careful to only book hotels that come highly rated on Trip Advisor or that are a part of reputable chains that we feel we can trust.
Having stayed at numerous hotels in Hot Springs in the past, and having found most of them to be seriously lacking in one department or another, we were at first very pleased with our two-night stay at the Comfort Suites in Hot Springs.
We were there to photograph a 2-day event in the area, so we did not spend a lot of time in the room, but for the time we were there, we had no complaints. The room was clean, the beds were comfortable, everything worked, and the staff was friendly. There were two beds in the room along with a sitting area that included a couch (which also appeared to fold out into a bed), 2 chairs, a desk and a coffee table. There was plenty of space in the room, and no smoky or unpleasant smell whatsoever, which is an exception to many of the hotels in Hot Springs, even some of the ones that claim to be non-smoking.
In the lobby, we saw what appeared to be a business center. There was also a nice sitting area and an indoor pool and hot tub, which we did not use but looked to be clean and in good repair.
The complementary breakfast in the morning was delicious, offering assorted hot items (scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, waffles, etc...) in addition to a wide variety of muffins, pastries, cereals and fruit.
We arrived, stayed and checked out without incident. Then imagine my surprise when 4 days later an unexpected charge showed up on our credit card bill. Surprised, but figuring that it must surely be a mistake, I called the hotel this morning to inquire, asking to speak to a manager. I explained the situation, still feeling very calm at that point and just thinking that it was a simple error that needed fixed.
Whoever I spoke to on the phone was among the rudest customer service professionals I have ever encountered. As soon as I explained that I was calling to inquire about the charge, he said, "Oh, well that charge is because you defaced and destroyed hotel property." He said it in such a confrontational tone that I was taken aback. I assured him that we DID NOT destroy any hotel property and that there must be some mistake.
He went on to claim that we had defaced a desk in the room with magic marker.I said that it had to be a mixup, because my husband and I did not even have a magic marker in the room, and in fact the only writing instrument we even used was the pen provided by the hotel which we signed our Valentine cards with. He then countered, "Well then maybe it was your mascara." Aghast, I asked him how or why exactly my mascara would end up smeared on a hotel desk, and even in the absurd event that it did, why it would not just wash off since I don't use waterproof mascara. Really, I should not have even been dignifying him with a response at this point, because he was being unreasonable, but I just wasn't sure what to do.
I suggested that perhaps the maid had not noticed whatever damage he was referring to after the last guest, and he insisted that it was so bad that she couldn't have missed it, and that they had photo evidence. Now, I am not saying that there was NOT magic marker on the desk, but I guarantee you that if there was, we did not put it there! We didn't even use the desk, did not have a marker, and were in fact barely in the room!
At this point I asked to speak to his supervisor. He said that "Jeff," if that is even his real name, was not in. I asked when Jeff would be in and he stated that he didn't know. It might be 9 o'clock or it might be 3 o'clock, I would just have to call back to find out. Completely floored by how rude this man was being, I asked him what his name was and he said, "Elvis," in a very sarcastic tone. I asked him what his REAL name was and he said that he couldn't take me seriously, since I destroyed hotel property, so why should he be serious.
Even more offended at this point, I told him that I would call back later to try to speak to his supervisor and that in the meantime I would be disputing the charge with my credit card company. He then hung up on me.
I have now filed a complaint with Choice Hotels and a dispute with my credit card company due to the egregious manner in which this whole issue has been handled. I am still convinced that there was some kind of mixup (perhaps they wrote down the wrong room number or missed the damage the first time around?), but it is not the mixup that I find so upsetting, it is the way we have been treated throughout.
I don't know how these matters usually go, since I have never been accused of hotel damage in my life, but it seems that before they charged our card they should have called us to explain the situation or to ask for our side of it. Additionally, regardless of whether we had damaged the property or not (which may I reiterate, WE DID NOT), there is no excuse for someone to treat a guest that way on the phone.
In the event that I am later able to get this matter resolved with someone a little more reasonable than "Elvis" was, I will happily update this review, but in the meantime, I could never recommend a hotel to others, regardless of how nice, that treats its guests this way. I'd rather take my chances at a lower-end establishment and be treated respectfully than be walked all over by a big chain in a bad mood.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
This guest did receive an unprofessional response from a guest service agent at this property. Mrs. Hudson was contacted by one of the owners and all proper apologies were made. The owner listened to this customers side of the story about the events leading up to her credit card being charged for nearly and hour. The guest service agent involved was given a reprimand for his improper conduct.
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What this guest did not mention in her review was that she had the opportunity to contact the hotel in regards to the stains and damage to the furniture before the charge to her credit card was initiated. The hotel owners had tried for four days to get in touch with this guest to find out what the content of the stain might be in order to try to remove it from the desktop. Mesages to contact the hotel were completely ignored.This guest refused to call back and a charge for the damaged furniture was charged to her credit card on file. Suddenly this guest becomes very active in wanting to contact the hotel! According to two hotel employees, this guest became very beligerent and offensive to the front desk agent. That in itself does not give this agent the right to be pompous to the customer. The guest services agent should have simply transferred the call to the owners telephone extension. Since it was the owner who charged the customers card, it should have been the owner who handled the guest confrontation.
This guest has indicated she was here for professional reasons. Her reservation was made as a part of a group block of rooms for a little girls cheerleading competition. I'm sure they took a lot of pictures of the competition while they were there. Some of them are available for viewing on their blog at their website. It's easy to see if you Google the screen name and location she left posted.
This group of little girls was precious. However, there were a lot of posters and banners made for the competition at the hotel. Towels were covered with spray paints and makeup, glitter was everywhere and the girls had a great time. As I told the agent for the cheer competition, towels have a short lifespan and we could live with a few damaged beyond recovery. The spray glitter vacuums up easily with no damage done. That is just the cost of doing business. My wife and I felt the black mess on the desktop was an ink or some other substgance used to make a banner. Our purpose in trying to contact the guest was to identify the sustance to know how to start temoving it.
The incident with the guest services agent is regrettable. The owners contacted the guest and removed the charges after the guest assured the owners they had not damaged the furniture. The matter should have been resolved at that point. The guest advised she would amend her review when the issue was resloved. Since she has not done so, I felt compelled to tell the other side of the story.
I would encourage other readers interested in staying at this property to read the other reviews. I feel this business represents a clean, well appointed, comfortable lodging experience for the majority of the general public.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.