Tim Foolery

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River Street Inn: Where Service Goes to Die

We recently took a trip to Savannah. We were visiting this city with my brother-in-law and his wife.  We knew we wouldn’t be spending a ton of time in the hotel, so we didn’t want to spend a ton of cash on the room, but we all do have exacting standards.  After several days of discussions we decided to stay at the River Street Inn. This property was rated pretty well on TripAdvisor, although many of the recent reviews mentioned some service issues, plus a feeling of dampness (bad A/C?) during summer stays.

We didn’t argue about the hotel at all, but my sister-in-law was more interested in staying at the Mansion on Forsyth, which cost more than $100 more per night than the River Street Inn.  We decided to save the  money…the River Street Inn was still $300/night. We booked through Booking.com.

I wouldn’t be arriving with Mike, he’d be coming directly from Chicago, while I’d be driving from Central Florida (yes…me driving and spending time near Orlando isn’t really like me). I called three days before arrival and added Mike’s name to the reservation so he could check in before I arrived (assuming the room was available).

The woman I spoke with on the phone was pretty put off with my request. I explained twice why I was doing this and she finally confirmed that he was on the reso and would be able to check in upon arrival… yeah, you think you know where this is going…but you don’t.

Mike arrives at the hotel around 11am, not expecting to have a room ready yet, that’s still pretty early.  The woman working reception, Ashley, couldn’t find the reservation. Mike mentions we booked the room four months prior through Booking.com, but she still had nothing. She didn’t want the confirmation number. She said there was no reservation.  After continued requests, she went into another system and found that for some reason Booking.com and the hotel’s system didn’t properly communicate.  She then blamed Mike for that, which of course makes sense, right? The guest who works for neither Booking.com nor the hotel should be responsible for IT issues.

Ashley did find us a room. Not the room we booked. A small room with a queen bed (vs. the king room we booked). We booked this room for a reason. She didn’ care.

Evidently this exchange went on for a while and eventually the Manager came out to help. At this point, we were not interested in staying at this property, if an IT snafu creates such anger and drama, who knows what the rest of the stay would be like.  The Manager finally decided to release us (both me and Mike and the fam) from our reservations. He also gave us coupons for a free continental breakfast at a local brunch place. The coupon was a nice gesture and the restaurant came highly recommended by everyone we talked to….but the continental breakfast isn’t that exciting.

We ended up moving to the Mansion on Forsyth, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, which was stunning by the way.  I wasn’t involved in these discussions with Ashley or the Manager, but Mike is the calm one in the relationship. He will put up with a lot of shit (look, he’s married to me, so he has to), but the service at this hotel pushed him way over the edge.  There was no way he wanted anything to do with this hotel. I’m glad we moved.

So what could we have done differently?  I never call to confirm, a reservation, even when using booking.com. I get the confirmation email and then the reminder a couple days before the stay, but never call the hotel. This time I did call, but I never had any indication they couldn’t find our reservation.

The whole experience left a bad taste in our mouths. I will continue to use booking.com as we’ve never had an issue like this before, but I may find myself calling the hotel to confirm booking before arrival.  I also haven’t contacted booking.com about this issue either.

Have you had this type of issue before? How did you handle it? What would you have done differently? How could we have handled this better?


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