Book with the hotel…
So you can cut & run if you need to.
Here’s what I mean. We booked a modestly priced hotel, with excellent Trip Advisor ratings, in Honolulu. (No… not the cheapest hotel out there. Not by a long shot. Don’t think I’m using “modest” as a polite way of saying cheap!) Everything about Honolulu is quite expensive, so we wanted to get as much value as we could from our accommodations. It was an honest mistake.
Here were the deciding factors in the reviews that made us book.
Free breakfast: people said things like “more than just a continental breakfast.” “Fresh eggs and waffles.”
Off the beach, but close: “just 3 blocks to Waikiki Beach, but half the beach hotel price!” “Hotel offers free towel & chair rentals for the beach.”
View of the city and the canal. “Great views and they give you free ear plugs for the noise if it bothers you.”
Here were the deciding factors that made us leave:
Wow. That noise was ridiculous. Nothing like the view of a 4 lane highway to enhance your “beach vacation.” We actually heard (from the 10th floor) a screeching near accident, which resulted in 8 seconds of car horn and another 20 seconds of angry screaming profanity. We could do nothing but laugh. And BTW, we had the window closed at the time.
3 blocks from the beach? Are you kidding? It’s more like 2 kilometres!! And you want me to carry a free (folding metal) beach chair…. like the ones from grandma’s house in the 80’s? Pass.
Now, think about that 2km walk from the beach with a tired, hot, cranky child who’s hungry. Or think about being 2 hot cranky kilometres from a life saving cocktail. #momlife You’ll agree saving $30 a night is NOT worth the walk.
There was a pool. A cess pool. The size of a big hot tub. Hard pass on that. I’d rather eat the stale, sticky Fruit Loops off the floor in the breakfast room.
That’s how our 7 night booking turned into a 1 night “experience.”
How did I get out of it, without losing all my money? I had booked directly with the hotel. Not Hotwire, not a discounted or non-refundable offer. Booking with the hotel is exactly what got me out of the hotel without a massive financial kick in the face. All we did was ask to change the check out date.
How did I get out of it gracefully at the front desk? Standard breakup conversation. “It’s not you, it’s me. You’re amazing. I’m just not right for you. It’s me, I should leave.”
In this case…. I literally said, “I’m just overwhelmed by the big city & tall building. It’s all making me so anxious, I need to find someplace quiet. You have a beautiful hotel, I just can’t handle the city life. I have to move on, ASAP.”
They moved my checkout date to the next morning & politely processed the bill.
We headed 2kms, or “3 blocks” towards the beach and checked into the Hilton. Re-started the vacation. Chain hotels are like ex-boyfriends. They might not be new or exciting, but they are consistent, comfortable and quite willing to take you in when you call sounding lost and desperate.
So, I blame the rosy people of Trip Advisor for failing to hook me up with a great hotel. I also blame myself thinking I could compromise location for price, because of the extra benefits. Smarten up Cathie! You KNOW location is key!
I’m also proud of myself for quickly shifting to Plan B and salvaging 6 days of precious vacation time. (I’ll make up the $30 by skipping souvenirs and lattes.)
Like life, each day on vacation counts. Be happy or move on.