I arrived at the property after spending nine hours in the car, and found people milling about, double parked in the driveway, etc. When I walked in the door, I saw dozens of angry people surrounding the reception desk. I decided to be objective and patiently waited my turn in line, about half an hour.
As I waited to reach the front, I saw that one of the front desk staff was treating the group of guests around the desk very rudely. He was condescendingly telling them that their bookings had all been cancelled because they had used "wholesale hotel travel agents" like Expedia, and that they had been notified by phone or email already, but probably hadn't bothered to check and see.
Worried, because I had booked using Hotels.com, I checked my email and voice mail. There was no notification that my room had been cancelled, and a couple of groups ahead of me in line checked in without incident, so when my time came, I walked up and asked if I would be able to check in. The young woman who helped me seemed very scared, so I smiled encouragingly at her and told her that I was sorry she had to go through all this.
She barely spoke above a whisper, she was so nervous and embarrassed at how her coworker was acting, so it was difficult to hear her over him and the yelling of the crowd around the desk. She told me that my reservation had been cancelled, and that I had been told via email and phone call early that day. I told her I had just checked and I had received no notice, and that no one around me seemed to have gotten any either. She didn't give a reason why my room was unavailable, and was unable to say why some people were still able to check in while so many other people couldn't. "I don't imagine you assigned my exact room months in advance," I said. "I'll take any available room."
The rude man next to her said to us all that the hotel was overbooked and those who used "wholesalers" were being bumped. "Look, this happens all the time," he said. "I'm in the hotel industry. I know better than you do." Those of us who travel all the time (but had never had anything like this happen) looked at each other in disbelief at his arrogance and his willingness to gaslight us. Staggeringly, there was no manager on duty at all.
I asked the young woman what I should do now. She told me (only after I explicitly asked) that my reservation had been transferred to another "very nice property" "about two and a half miles away" that morning, and that "there would be no extra fee." It was all arranged, she said; I just needed to show up there and give them my name, and I would be able to check in immediately. Other guests, upon hearing this, demanded of the other man if they had the same deal.
As I stepped away from the desk, one of the cancelled guests told me they also were told by the rude man that everyone who had used a service like Expedia, Hotels.com or Booking.com had been bumped in favor of those who had paid more for their rooms.
Rather than stand around glowering with everyone else, I took a longing look at the free happy hour reception, which was being laid out, and made my way to the address the clerk provided. It turned out to be about 10 miles away, not 2.5, and was a low-end two-star hotel, not even close to the quality promised by the Cupertino Inn -- they certainly shouldn't have bragged that they "paid the difference" to put me up in the other hotel.
I swallowed my pride and my expectations of a luxury vacation, because I was exhausted and just wanted to check in, then went in and gave my name to the reception desk, saying that I was one of the people the Cupertino Inn had sent over. The clerk looked at me in confusion and said that he had not been told of anyone being sent over by the Cupertino Inn.
I explained what I had just gone through, sat for another half an hour while he tried to reach his off-duty manager, who also knew nothing, and then he called and tried to reach the front desk at the Cupertino Inn. He finally got hold of someone, who told him that they "should have" sent all the details to his hotel. He said they hadn't received anything, and wasn't even sure if they had enough rooms available to accommodate everyone, so the Cupertino Inn person said they would send over all the reservation details "soon."
The clerk hung up and looked at me, swallowing, clearly nervous, so I took the initiative and called Hotels.com, where I had originally booked my Cupertino Inn reservation. I explained the situation yet again, and they called the Cupertino Inn to figure out what was going on. Many minutes later, they switched back over to me and told me they were told someone had smoked in one of the rooms in the Cupertino Inn, causing the whole wing to be flooded by sprinklers.
If this was true, and if anyone at the Cupertino Inn had bothered to explain this to me in the first place, I would have felt a lot more empathy than I did at the prospect of being bumped just because I had used a "wholesale hotel travel agent" and lost out to other people who had paid more than me.
The Hotels.com representative seemed absolutely baffled at the Cupertino Inn representative's attitude, and apologized over and over for how the hotel had treated me and the other guests.
Long story short, Hotels.com was kind enough to cancel my star-crossed Cupertino Inn reservation and put me up in a much better hotel, so four hours after I first tried to check in, I was sitting in my room at the other hotel, where I could take a dip in the pool, and where a robot was sent up to deliver me water.
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- Also Known As:
- Cupertino Hotel Cupertino