We booked 3 nights at the Church Boutique Chang Gai Hotel via hotels.com, a place we had chosen based on the reviews and hotel description despite the slightly higher price in relation to nearby hotels. We arrived in Hanoi following a very long journey from Cairo which had begun at 3am the day before so we were naturally incredibly tired and looking forward to getting to our beds.
When we checked in to the hotel however, the desk clerk said that she had no record of our reservation and apologised and said that we could not stay at the hotel because it was full. We showed her our hotels.com reservation slip and informed her that not only did we have a reservation but that we had paid for it some time before travelling. She apologised for our situation and said that there was nothing that they could do to help and should phone hotels.com if we needed to complain because they had absolutely no record of our booking.
We of course pushed the point and the hotel receptionist called her reservations centre and confirmed that yes, there had indeed been a booking but that unfortunately there had been a mistake in the system so we could not stay in the hotel. She could not explain why nobody had thought to tell us about the mistake before we travelled.
They offered us either to have a full refund and walk away or to stay at another hotel. The first option was not acceptable to us as we had spent almost 2 days travelling and had never been to Hanoi so did not want to drag our suitcases to several hotels. We agreed for them to book us another hotel but the one they offered us was approximately 60% of the price we had paid and they refused to offer us a part-refund. Eventually they offered to let us stay in another hotel of the Church Boutique brand, albeit one that is cheaper and un-renovated. They said that, as an apology, would upgrade us to a Deluxe room (we had booked a premium).
We did not entirely accept this as the internet showed us that a Deluxe room at the hotel they had offered (Church boutique Hang Ga) was the same price as the premium room we had booked in Hang Gai yet in an un-renovated hotel in a not so convenient location. However, we appeared to have little alternative. We did however insist on a part-refund but the supervisor on duty refused. She said that she had no authority to issue us such a refund and only her manager could, but when we insisted that she contact her manger she would not do so and said that she was the supervisor on duty and felt that we did not deserve a refund, and that was her final decision. As we were clearly making no headway, we decided to drop the issue for now.
Upon arriving at the Hang Ga hotel, more than 2 hours after originally arriving at Hang Gai, we were shown into a tiny room with no windows. I went downstairs to complain to reception and was told by the rather nervous man at reception that I was indeed in a deluxe room. I noticed a hotel map on the wall behind him and that it showed the room we were in as a premium. He paused for an incredibly long while, and relented and admitted that he had been told to put us in a premium room by his manager because all the deluxe rooms were full. I insisted that I speak immediately with the manager, whom he called.
When his manager arrived it was in-fact the supervisor from the Hang Gai hotel whom we had spoken with earlier. I complained to her but she consistently lied to me and said that we had been put into a deluxe room as agreed. When I showed her the hotel map, she lied that the hotel had recently upgraded the room I was in to deluxe (despite it having no windows and was only slightly bigger than the bed). After 30 minutes of debate she continued to lie and said that if it would make me happy, she would move me into another deluxe room the next day. I accepted and the next day we moved to a larger room with a window and a balcony.
This treatment is clearly unacceptable from a, relatively speaking, rather expensive hotel and being lied to is not something one expects.
The church boutique Hang Ga was an okay hotel but not what we wanted nor what we paid for. The deluxe room was nice but the premium one awful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Church Boutique Hotels are a group of newly built and refurbished hotels which combine Vietnamese hospitality with international standards and exquisite services. Each hotel has its own unique blend of contemporary style, unrivalled character and sheer elegance which make the hotels, the perfect place to stay for all visitors to Hanoi. ... more less
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