Push the Reset Button

I don’t think I’ve ever checked into a hotel planning to spend 7 nights and then checked out after 1.  Certainly I’ve asked for a different or better room,  some properties I wouldn’t choose to stay at again and several I wouldn’t recommend but I had never been so disappointed as to actually MOVE until now.

We honeymoon every year for our anniversary.  This year we went to Kauai.   With both friends and family in the hospitality business, we get great discounts on what are typically great hotels.  However,  the Sheraton Kauai was a disappointment.  From the lack of landscaping,  the tiny pool, the restaurants, even the elevator and hallway to our room – everything felt like a budget hotel.  Not what we would have chosen for our “honeymoon ” even our 12th!

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However,  this is not a hotel review but rather a “Now what?”  If it were just our room, we would have asked for a different one but the room itself was the best part (okay, except for the tub) – our disappointment was with the property.

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I had done some restaurant research prior to our arrival and a couple of the nicer restaurants were 2 miles down the beach at the Grand Hyatt.  We made a reservation and went there early enough to walk the grounds.  From the waterfall, black swans and other interesting waterfowl out front to the beautiful grounds and extensive pools – including a quiet adult pool – we were envious!

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At dinner I used my smartphone and got room rates.  A deluxe ocean view room was $600/night.  Yikes!  Our current ocean view room with the “friends/family” discount was only $240.

At my husband’s suggestion, I tried some of the highly advertised discount hotel websites.  I’ve never been a fan of the “blind hotel” sites such as Priceline or Hotwire.  I am uncomfortable paying for something before I know exactly what I’m getting even though I have friends who regularly use them.  In this instance,  I’d already had one hotel disappointment – I wasn’t willing to chance a second.

Before resigning ourselves to a lackluster week at our current property,  I tried Hotels.com.  I’ve used them in the past with success.  In fact, they listed the room level we wanted for our dates at $399 – $600 a night for future dates.  The $399 was a non-refundable, prepaid price listed as “limited time offer”. 

I went to the hotel front desk with smartphone in hand and asked if they could match the rate.  The Manager explained that their contract with these other sites gives them an allocation of rooms on dates they historically are not full.   As time gets short (checking in tomorrow versus 2 months from now) they will sell their inventory for whatever they can get – in this case, nearly $200/night less than the hotel itself because it’s the discounter taking the profit hit – not the hotel itself, they already sold the room to Hotels.com at the contract price.

The front desk management said they’d love to have us move over and encouraged me to “grab that deal”, which we did.  Yes, we prepaid on the spot but this time we knew exactly what we were buying.  Yes, it was $150/night more but we are not exclusively a “price customer “.  We’ve paid a lot more per night plenty of times!

Not only is the property lovely, our room has a lovely ocean view and even at our discount rate, they sent champagne to our room, gave us comp desserts and a cabana on the beach for a day in honor of our anniversary.

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The moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid to push the reset button!  When your room has issues but the property is fine – ask for a change.   When the property itself is the problem,  shop others nearby and then use the discount sites for last minute deals.  It’s your vacation – make it a great memory!

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One Response to “Push the Reset Button”

  1. Mcaddy Says:

    Well 120 a night is high for me but I’ve been unable to find many holtes in big cities that are less so I used that as an estimate. The job I work at pays very little. It’s pathetic actually the amount of money I make and I work with kids! I have to begin saving for a trip a year in advance just so I can keep something in my bank account. I love working with kids but my pay you can’t actually live on unless you have a very strict budget. I’m glad to hear of this hostel. I may have to go with that. It would save me so much money!

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