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With all the devastation of Harvey and Irma, things haven’t been looking good in Texas and Florida. I kept careful watch on Houston in particular, as my wife and I were traveling through IAH on our way to Costa Rica to adopt our kids.
Another worry was the hotel. My wife and I had booked the Candlewood Suites Houston IAH / Beltway 8, a hotel at which I overnighted at a couple years ago on my way home from Guatemala. As as aside, that stay didn’t go so well. But I wanted to give it another try, mainly because we’ve liked the amenities at other Candlewood Suites and because it fit perfectly into maximizing our IHG Accelerate fall promotion.
I wondered if the hotel was impacted by the record flooding in Houston at all. After seeing pictures of highways covered in several feet of water, I wondered if some hotels were put out of commission.
The hotel never emailed us, and I figured that no news was good news.
“Flooding killed our shuttle”
Things started off on the wrong foot immediately after collecting our FOUR bags from the terminal C baggage claim at IAH. Typically, that is when the hotel is willing to send their shuttle to pick you up.
Except the Candlewood Suites IAH doesn’t have a functioning shuttle anymore. The lady on the phone kindly explained that the flooding caused some damage, specifically citing that engine now quickly overheats. She was nice, but it was immediately obvious they hadn’t made other arrangements. We would have to fend for ourselves.
Now I *was* kicking myself that I didn’t call the hotel a few days before.
Better call Uber
I pulled up the Uber app. It would cost us about $18 one-way to the hotel. At this point I was a bit disgruntled, as I would have booked elsewhere (probably the closer Holiday Inn) had I known there was not shuttle. There wasn’t much of a price difference at time of booking.
To top things off, we got the worst Uber with which I’ve ever ridden. The van smelled of smoke, and the guy’s driving unnerved me. He glanced at his phone incessantly, which he conveniently kept in his palm the whole time. Is this not illegal in other states like it is in California?
Now that tipping is a thing with Uber, I decided to pass on my first opportunity to do so.
Indifference doesn’t help things
When we finally reached the hotel, I handed the desk agent my ID and credit card to check in. As he started clicking on the keyboard, I mentioned that it was a bit of a surprise and an inconvenience that they hadn’t communicated the shuttle issue.
All I got was silence. Ok, then. Moving on.
Should I have more sympathy?
I’m really split on this situation. In general, I think hotels ought to do the best by their guests that they can in all ways. It was a bummer to spend an extra $36 for our “cheap” overnight. This is over a third of the total hotel bill.
I think the right thing for the hotel to do would have been to send an email blast to all guests that would be staying with them in the near future. Who knows? Maybe there wouldn’t have been any cheaper options at that point, and we would have decided to stick with the Candlewood Suites.
Then again, Houston was just devastated by a hurricane. The hotel really can’t help the fact that their shuttle needs maintenance, except maybe finding another one, or another service, to cover in the interim.
Ultimately, it looks like I just have to chalk this one up to unfortunate timing.
What would you do? Would you expect the hotel to meet you in the middle? Or would you chalk this up to unfortunate timing and situation?
Featured image courtesy of Hashoo Foundation USA under CC 2.0 license.