hotels have room for improvement
THE past week we have had the misfortune to have to stay at two
Auckland hotels at opposite ends of the accommodation ladder.
first was the Ibis Budget Hotel at Auckland airport, the second
was Rydges Hotel in the central city.
had just flown in from the United States and had booked a late-night
berth at the Ibis Budget. I have always said that when travelling
as long as you have a clean bed then it doesn’t much matter where
you stay – but I was mistaken.
Now due to the international date line and exhausted brains we stuffed
up our booking at Ibis Budget. We realized that just before flying
out of LA and wanted to add a night at the place. We knew we couldn’t
change the initial booking – that being very clearly stated on the
website – but we needed a place to stay a night earlier and so tried
to phone through.
And phone through …
And phone through.
For no matter how many times we tried, the answerphone clicked on
and gave us an email to write to. Only the accent of the person
was such it could not be understood – and was bloody stupid anyway
– being h7865-re@whatever.
So we organized other accommodation.
next day, we contacted Ibis Budget by phone.
Hooray, you say, but unfortunately we once again we got the answerphone
and its unintelligible accent.
Okay, thinking outside the box I thought well let’s try a major
hotel in the city that is related to Ibis Budget – Ibis itself –
and see where we get.
got through to a person – praise be to God – and asked if they could
message Ibis Budget and pass on my mobile phone number so they could
contact us. No worries, they said.
days later not a whisper to be heard.
we tootled back to the airport the next afternoon in a bit of a
time-crunch situation. That is we had limited time to get booked
in to the Ibis Budget, get showered and then make a rendezvous across
the other side of the city.
got to the airport okay and even saw the Ibis Budget sign. The problem
was there were big renovations going on and despite a complete circuit
of the hotel on foot there was no obvious entry.
even a clue.
I’d like to hear from travellers who have had bad experiences
in New Zealand hotels.
seems Ibis Budget’s budget didn’t go as far as to afford a sign
so its paying guests could actually get into the hotel.
that wasn’t the only barrier.
It seems the Ibis Budget management believes it’s okay for guests
with heavy bags to somehow wend their way through a worksite and
have to use a Ouija board or spiritualist to magically show them
where reception is.
For future reference it is on the second floor.
the two computers in the small room with the cardboard “Reception”
sign were two young women who perkily said “hello” and how could
answer your phones for a starter, said this peeved fellow.
“Oh,” they twittered, “our phone line is very busy.”
I retorted, I discovered that when I called several times from America.
And from Auckland.
we do have an email …”
only good if you can understand it, I snarled, and it’s a bloody
stupid one anyway.
“Oh, we’re sorry.”
there’s no sign on the entrance it took me 10 minutes to find the
plastic entry card in hand – and the clock ticking - it was onwards
and downwards to our rooms just three doors along from reception.
the door it was an astounding sight that greeted us.
room that could fit four people – a couple and two others to fit
in the bunks provided – was marginally bigger than our bags. Okay
a slight underestimation, but not far off. It was tiny.
Oh well we are just going to be sleeping here for a night so it’s
not so bad.
my lady took a quick shower I tried to find a glass to have some
there were no glasses provided. Nor were there tea or coffee making
facilities. That is a jug and a few cheap sachets of coffee, sugar
and teabags. Nothing.
they were in the fridge. There was no fridge.
for that matter, a phone in the room.
I guess that’s not a big problem because they never answer the bloody
I hear you say well you did know it was a budget hotel …
Yes, dear readers, but a budget hotel doesn’t have to be cheap-arse.
And it cost more than $100 a night. In my view that isn’t budget,
that should be rated affordable.
next night, still in Auckland, we caught up with friends and told
them our tale and they were not surprised. They had been Ibis Budgeted
in Sydney and it sounds like exactly the same issues faced them.
you have been warned.
I have mentioned we had only been back from Los Angeles for a day
at most when we sampled the Ibis Budget’s wares, but our adventures
got even better.
stayed on in Auckland because I had a harbour-cruise business party
to attend. My room at Rydges in Federal St was paid for and so I
had booked another for the teen travelling with us. Thank God I
did because we rocked up at reception to be told my official room
had not been booked. Okay so can we have another, I asked. “No,
we are fully booked tonight.”
well can we swap our double room for one that has two beds and we
can all squeeze in there.
“Certainly we can try, came the response.”
Great, thank you guys. And I have to say I thought the front office
staff at Rydges were terrific.
new room was nice – although crowded with bags and bodies – but
we eventually organized another room at Sky City Hotel.
our cruise we returned to Rydges to find my lad had enjoyed a very
nice scallop dish ordered via room service and we then sat down
for a late snack at the STK restaurant, which was absolutely spot
why does Rydges feature in this tale of pretty crap hotel service
first of all there is the mystery of the non-booked room.
work emails – which I had been unable to access for three weeks
in the USA – showed the booking had been done.
were two rooms for us, but it seems the surname Moore appearing
twice in the guest list didn’t give the front staff the vital clue
about our missing room.
what followed had me screaming down the phone at some poor clerk.
before 8pm on the night after our stay/non-stay at Rydges, I got
an email from a trainee manager stating: “I trust this email finds
you well. I believe that you have booked an accommodation at Rydges
Auckland on 13 Dec14. Unfortunately, you were not here for your
reservation. We will apply a penalty fee, which is cost of 1 night
accommodation to your credit card. If you have any questions, please
do not hesitate to contact me. Regards.”
it was Guy Fawke’s Night all over again at my house as the fireworks
exploded. If I had been within driving distance of Rydges Hotel
I would have re-visited them and not been responsible for my actions.
I was on the phone within 0.000002 millisecs hoping to chat with
said trainee manager but, unfortunately/fortunately, they had gone
home. So I left a message. It said the trainee should get in touch
with me the moment he got in because otherwise I would return to
Auckland and do things to him that would make the CIA’s enhanced
questioning look like a Bible class.
person did not ring me back and so I had to get on to the Reservations
crew to sort the matter out, which they managed to do with few hassles.
My point is that here is this allegedly professional hotel charging
me a penalty fee of $244 for a room they said I hadn’t booked into
when in fact they had turned me away from it.
The penalty was applied without any contact with me, other than
what I consider to be an offensive, pre-emptive email announcing
forced me to find another hotel that left me more than $150 worse
near good enough.
I’d like to hear from travellers who have had bad experiences in
New Zealand hotels.
know the email email@example.com.