During the week of September 18 to September 25, 2010, I booked 5 nights at the 4-star Park Central Unique Hotel in Buenos Aires. The hotel belongs to Park Plaza Hotels but it looks like an Argentine outfit that purposefully uses a name of a respected American hotel chain to fool potential customers. My stay was divided into 3 segments - 2 nights, 2 nights and 1 night (in between I traveled outside Buenos Aires for 2 separate nights). I received confirmations for all the bookings. However, I was able to stay in booked hotel only one time – for the 2 nights in the middle of the week. For the first part of my stay I was sent to another Unique Hotel - in Recoleta part of Buenos Aires. I considered this particular accommodation when I was making the booking, specifically because the nights were cheaper there but eventually opted for more expensive but centrally located property. For the last night I was sent to Hotel Presidente that does not belong to the Park Plaza hotels. When after spending the first two nights in a hotel that I did not book, I asked the receptionists if my other bookings were confirmed I was told I quote: “at the moment yes, but there is no guarantee, it depends on our reservation department”.
The process employed by the hotel chain seems to work as follows. The hotel rooms are offered at discounted rates on the booking engines ensuring plenty of bookings coming from that source. I verified that the same rooms offered through the Park Plaza Hotels portal are much more expensive. The reservations are accepted even though the hotel is completely booked. Then, if the central hotel is full (my experience shows it most likely happens on the weekend) many customers are transferred to other, less desirable properties or moved to the last minute rooms of other hotels. This way the Park Plaza Unique hotels make sure they get top dollar for their accommodations and most likely skim additional money by collecting the full reservation amount but paying the other hotels the last minute rates for empty rooms. It obviously also provides a way of circumventing the transparency offered by the booking engines.
In any case, this procedure is not only dishonest but illegal and fraudulent. Booking of hotel room generates a contract that obliges the customer to pay agreed price (unless cancelled within prescribed period of time) and hotel chain to provide hotel room with specific features in a specific hotel. Supplying something else constitutes a breach of the contract.
I travel very frequently, often to exotic places, but it has been the only time I came across situation like that.
I was going to report this case to the fraud combating authorities in the US and Canada before I realized it is not the US chain of the same name. Maybe some Spanish reader of this site who experienced the same treatment can alert appropriate authority in Argentina.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cosmopolitan and multifaceted, Unique Executive Central condenses the essence of the exciting city of Buenos Aires, in an elegant, modern and comfortable setting. Enjoy its privileged location in downtown Buenos Aires, a few meters from the Obelisco and Av. Corrientes and live in the front row a stay at the pace of the shows, theater, and nightlife of the vibrant Buenos Aires. Located just a few meters from the prestigious Teatro Colon and close to Florida Street, the most important tourist pedestrian street in Bs. As. The hotel has good access to the domestic and international airports, as well as subway lines in the city. The hotel offers buffet breakfast and bright and spacious rooms. Its decoration combines design, art and modernity in all its facilities, providing a unique experience for their guests. Rooms are equipped with LCD TV, telephone, individual air conditioning/heating, bathroom with bathtub, bidet, hairdryer and amenities, digital safety box, minibar and access to high speed Internet. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, TripOnline SA, getaroom.com, Cancelon, HotelQuickly and Cheap Tickets so you can book your Unique Executive Central reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Park Central Unique
- Park Central Unique Buenos Aires