I arrived at the hotel, booked for us by our company, with 3 colleagues and 3 vehicles in tow that we were transporting in for an event display in Pittsburgh. I called ahead to confirm availability of early check-in, as we were slated to arrive an hour early and needed to unload our personal belongings before proceeding to the event site. I was told that one of our rooms would be ready, which sufficed for our needs. The only employee in the lobby stood at the rear of the front desk, back to the door. After standing there for a moment, I spoke up and said hello. He glanced back and sighed, and turned back around flipping through what appeared to be a magazine.After another few minutes he finally walk ed over and said "What do you need?" I said I was checking in, and he quickly cut me off asking "What kind of room do you have?" I said they were booked through our company and I did not know, offering to provide my name to look it up. He stared at me in disbelief and repeated "You don't know what kind of room you have?" I again repeated myself and suggested it would perhaps be helpful to look up my name. He again said "aaannnd you don't know what your room is?" (Personally, my patience can only handle so much repetition) I took out my license and placed it on the desk and asked him to please look up out reservations. He took it and then promptly told me that the rooms weren't ready. I reminded that I had called earlier, and believe I had spoken with him (voice was spot on), and was told one of the rooms was ready. He made a call and then came back and said one of them was in fact ready. He asked if we were driving, and I said we were currently in 3 vehicles, however were proceeding to take 2 to the event site. He said we were only allowed parking for 2 vehicles. I inquired if it was really an issue, as we only wished to unload out belongings and would be taking the 2 vehicles to the event immediately after, that they would not be kept in their parking lot. He said I would still have to pay additional for the third vehicle regardless, and I told him to just put it on the room. At this point he stated that he could not add parking to my room, that I would have to prepay it immediately. (this is the first hotel in my life that couldn't add such a thing to your room bill) I proceeded to take out my debit card, and he said no, I had to pay cash. Parking was cash only. I questioned this, however was told that I could not leave before pre-paying the additional parking fee. I walked over to my colleagues, as I didn't have the $14 cash on me, and they all scrounged up a few dollars, which I paid. After asking for a receipt for expense purposes, was told only transactions going through the computer could print a receipt. I was in a hurry at this point, and decided to speak with someone about this later. I was handed keys and provided no other information about the hotel such as breakfast or how to log in to wifi. Upon entering the room that was available and having been on a fairly long car ride, we discovered the toilet was broken.
Later that evening, I stopped by the front desk after the shift change to inquire about getting a receipt, as one was required by the company so I could be reimbursed. The new employee at the front desk looked baffled, and after explaining the earlier situation, she raised her eyebrows. She pulled up our rooms and showed no record of an additional car, and said that they actually did not require cash and usually billed it on the room. She got a manager, who after again explaining what happened and what I needed, seemed quite bothered about the ordeal, as it was becoming apparent that the earlier staff member may have lied and pocketed my money. She looked up who had checked me in, and said she was going to tally the registers and contact the employee and would follow up with me shortly, and said she would need to investigate before giving me a receipt. (insinuating that I may not be telling the truth) I told her we were headed to dinner, but that I would wait and she could call me in my room. After 45 minutes of no call, we left for dinner. When I returned and asked for the manager, still needing a receipt, was told the manager was gone, but that she herself had meant to call me because she had a receipt. I looked it over, it ready 'Cash payment - parking' with the amount and date on letterhead, and it was satisfactory for my purposes. She made a point of mentioning that nothing was amiss, drawers weren't short or anything.
The following day we had an early start for the event, but had some down time around lunch and by chance decided to go back to the hotel to relax for a bit. Shortly after getting into my room, housekeeping knocked on the door, and I called out that we were in the room. Housekeeping kept knocking and so I went to the door and repeated that I was currently inside, but that I would be gone in approximately an hour if she wanted to come back at that time. Not five minutes later another member of housekeeping began knocking on the door. I again went to the door, and the woman looked startled to see me. I explained that I had just told another woman that I would begone in a hour, to please come back. She said "Well I'm trying to do my job!" Confused at the small outburst, I affirmed that I understood and was just letting her know a better time. She threw her hands up in the air and did some sort of cross in the air with her fingers as she slowly backed away grumbling. Not another 5 minutes later there were more knocks on my door, this time from my colleagues asking me why various housekeeping members were banging on their door every few minutes demanding they open the door and telling them it was time for them to get out. They advised they were told that our stay was over and we were past the check out time and needed to get out immediately. Obviously concerned and annoyed, I went directly down to the front desk to find out what the problem was. I was told that our rooms were only for one night. I explained that they were booked for 4 nights by our employer, and also expressed that if the original staff member had done their job and confirmed my reservation details at the time of check-in that I would have been alerted to the error earlier. (What were they going to do had we not by chance gone back to the hotel and instead had not arrived back until late evening as anticipated?) I asked for our rooms to be correctly updated, and was told that every single room in the hotel was booked for that night and we could not be accommodated. She suggested that we could try and find another hotel for that night, and they could again room us the following night, but we would need another hotel again for the last night. (in what world does THAT make sense?!) She said it was booked through a travel site and sometimes those did not book multiple nights and needed separate reservations for each night. I've booked my own personal travel through travel sites before, and that is bologna. She said they did need us to vacate the rooms as soon as possible. So we headed up to the rooms, packed, and loaded up with no where to go and needing to head back to the event for the rest of the day.
A couple days into my stay in Pittsburgh elsewhere, I noticed that the hotel had charged my personal debit card for the extra parking. I immediately called in to speak with a manager and was told no one was there. He offered to take a message, and as I began describing the situation again, this staff member interjected "Ohh, was that xxxx? Yeah, I heard about that, I couldn't believe it!" (this leads me to believe everything was not as 'hunky dory' as I was led to believe) He profusely apologized for my experience and said it definitely sounded like a few people dropped the ball. He advised me of the specific manager I needed to speak with, and assured me I would hear back from her the following day. He also transferred me to her voicemail, where I also left a message.
I was not called back. After 2 days, I called in again and was told a manager was there but unavailable to speak with me. This staff member told me they would personally deliver my message. They called back a few minutes later to let me know that they were mistaken and the manager was not there, so I would not be getting a call back. Shortly after, I missed a call from another manager, not the one I requested to speak with multiple times. I again tried calling the next day for the manager I was told I needed to speak with and left a voicemail. I again received no call back, despite giving a deadline before filing fraud charges with my bank. Fraud charges were filed in light of their inability to respond to a simple request, which apparently the hotel now has the gall to dispute.
Neither I nor my company will be booking further stays with the Holiday Inn Express. This stay was an absolute cluster and none of the staff made any attempts to rectify, make up for, or accommodate the series of problems. You can tell they don't like their job and don't want to be there. I find it to be a serious matter that an employee may have been attempting to pocket money and wonder how many other travelers this has happened to at this hotel.
This has 2 stars only because, aside from the broken toilet, the rooms were fine (if a bit dated) and the breakfast had a better than average selection. Wifi was slow and spotty.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Pittsburgh is conveniently located in Pittsburgh's historic South Side, well known for its famous Carson Street Nightlife. We are just a few blocks' walk to such great eateries as Mallorca, Pramanti Brothers, Carson City Saloon & the Cheesecake Factory. Shopping is also just a short walk away with something for everyone at South Side Works or Station Square and many others. During your stay at the Holiday Inn Express hotel take in a game at Heinz Field, home of the Steelers, PNC Park, home of the Pirates or Concol Energy Center, home of the Penguins. For our corporate guests we are located just a shuttle ride away from such companies as US Steel, Finmeccanica Spa, PPG Place, the FBI building, Dynavox and General Dynamics. We also offer an on site restaurant & lounge open until 10pm, Bridge Ten Brassiere. Visit Pittsburgh & Stay Smart at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel Pittsburgh! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Express Pittsburgh South Side Hotel Pittsburgh