No Room at the Inn: Worst experience ever
Knowing that peak holiday season (early January) is busy and that booking a large family of 6 is difficult, we made our booking for the family unit at Lisa Rose through the AA website 3 months in advance. In fact, we prepaid for 3 nights in full and received an email confirmation from the AA on 8 October. The money was debited from my credit card.
Incredibly, 2 weeks before we were due to arrive my daughter received a phone call asking would be accept a 2-bedroom unit with two double beds? I rang back to explain no that was not acceptable: our party consists of my wife, myself plus our 4 adult children ages 16 to 25. We had booked the Lisa Rose specifically because of their family unit with one king bed, 3 singles and a pullout sofa. It turns out they had double booked us.
The motel owner said well, we could have a full refund. I explained that was not acceptable. We had booked first. We had paid in full. We had a confirmation from the AA received over two months earlier! It was peak holiday season. It was up to her to sort out the matter. The owner tried to shift the blame to the AA. I imagined that there was a problem with the computer system. The owner said she would call the AA the next day to sort things out.
The following afternoon with no explanation I received an email from AA Travel, saying that our booking had been been cancelled and we were being given a full refund. I was furious and called the AA; I did not want a refund, I wanted accommodation which we had paid 3 months in advance, and that according to the owner it was their fault. The AA explained that physically it could not be their fault, since the motel owners entered the dates available in the computer system. The AA themselves do not control the bookings. The owners would have been notified of our booking on 8 October when we put it in the AA computer system. The owners had made a mistake.
I find it incredible to be treated in this manner. Surely we had the prior booking, and if we did not have the prior booking why did it take over two months for them to notify us of this? We were left stranded, with no accommodation in Napier in the first week of January, in the middle of peak holiday season! Moreoever, we are coming from Christchurch - we have nonrefundable ferry tickets. My wife rang the motel owner who promised to "sort something out". We waited 24 hours and hearing nothing, we contacted my sister - who happens to work for the Tourist Information (Isite) in Napier. There was indeed nothing to be had in Napier; she found us something in Hastings, which was less than ideal.
Our treatment by the motel owners is staggeringly callous. They made a mistake. Instead of admitting that they made a mistake, the owner tried to shift the blame by lying. She said they would help but made no effort to and just left us in the lurch with no accommodation just two weeks before we are due to arrive...
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