The story I’m going to tell you, well, I really can’t believe it happened. It was the worst hotel experience ever. The day began wonderfully, as we toured Beaumont, Texas. We spent as much time as we could in the city leaving just enough travel time to get to Pensacola, Florida that night.
Do you think there are warnings that bad things are going to happen? The first thing that went wrong was somehow the hard drive on one of our phones was completely erased. Poof! Strange, no? Next my car charger broke complete with sparks coming out of the van! It was like even the van was crying, “Stop! Go no further. You’ll regret it!”
On we went though, so happy to make it to the hotel in Pensacola just after 10:30 that evening. It was late but doable.
I had reserved a room with two beds and a pullout sofa through my Priceline app. A room with three beds works well for our family of seven, and it saves me a lot of money not having to rent two rooms. I do this whenever possible.
I walked into the lobby, and gave my name. Unsmiling, the man behind the counter found my reservation and asked me for credit card and ID, standard when booking with Priceline.
Here was the first sign things were just a little…strange.
I handed him my credit card that also has a photo ID on the back. He took my card, stopped, and then repeated, that he needed an ID. “My photo is on the back of the card.” I said.
“This is NOT an ID!” His manner was most confrontational, and it took me by surprise.
“Oh, ok, hotels have always accepted that as a form of ID, but I have my driver’s license. Just a minute.” I fished around in my purse and handed it to him.
He humphed, proceeded with my reservation, and handed my cards back to me saying, “Don’t let anyone tell you that’s an ID. It is NOT an ID!”
Wow! He handed me my keys and asked if I needed the bedding for the sofa bed, and I replied that I did. He went to the back and brought out the bedding placing it on the counter. I asked him what the best place to park was, and told him I’d let my husband know and come back for the bedding.
When I walked back in and was picking up the bedding, he began again in the most confrontational of tones, “You don’t have more than six people for this room do you? This is a room for six! You don’t have more than six people do you?” I was so shocked, it took me a few seconds to respond.
“Yes, we are a family of seven. There are seven of us.” I stated.
“You can’t stay here! This is a room for six. You can’t stay here!” was what came next.
Still not really believing what was happening I joked, “Ok then there are only six of us.” Oh this made him mad.
“You can’t stay here!” he yelled.
With bedding and room keys in hand, unhappily at this point, I said, “Ok six of us will stay in the room. We’ll figure something out. Just let me talk to my husband, and see what he wants to do.”
“You have seven. You said you have seven! You can’t stay here!”
“Yes, there are seven of us, but only six will stay in the room…”
He cut me off “You’re seven. You can’t stay here.”
With the sofa bedding in my arms, I walked toward the back entrance where my husband had gone to park. The man yelled, “Do not steal my bedding! Do not steal my bedding!”
Stopping I said, “Sir, you need to calm down, I’m not stealing the bedding. I’m just going to ask my husband what he wants to do.”
“Do not steal my bedding! I’m calling the cops!” he yelled.
“Look. I’m setting the bedding right here. I’m not stealing it.” I placed it on a table. “I’m just going to talk to my husband.”
I walked outside in disbelief. “Honey, the man inside is…I’ve never seen anything like it, but he says we can’t stay here.” I told him the story.
“I’ll handle it,” said my husband. “You just get the kids and luggage.”
I had a sick feeling in my stomach.
Jason thought he’d be able to reason with the guy. When he walked in, the man had put away the bedding and run to our room to lock it, so we couldn’t get in with our keys. Seeing my husband, he just said “You can’t stay here!”
When I walked in with the kids, Jason was trying to talk to him, but the man wouldn’t listen.
“I didn’t know this would be a problem,” I tried to help, “We stay in rooms with three beds all the time. I’m a travel blogger…” I began.
What I was going to say was that I have had multiple hotel brands host our family of seven in a room with three beds, but he must have thought I was about to threaten him, because when I said, “I’m a travel blogger,” he threw up his hands, said, “That’s it. I’m calling the cops,” rushed into the office, and did not come out again.
There we sat–all seven of us- in the lobby of the hotel. I dialed Priceline to try to figure out what to do. We had already paid for the room, and it was non-refundable. The man on the line listened to my story and then placed me on hold.
While I was still on hold, sure enough two policemen walked into the hotel lobby.
I was so glad to see them! Surely they would help me! One of them walked into the office to talk to the man. I went up to the other police officer and began telling him my story. I don’t know how much time passed, but the police officer said, “The hotel has the right to refuse service to anyone. You’re going to have to leave.”
I couldn’t believe this was happening. “Even though we’ve already paid? It’s nonrefundable!”.
The man from the hotel came out and blurted, “She reserved with a third party. They can just reroute her!”
“Priceline doesn’t work like that. They don’t reroute people. I understand it’s the hotel policy that they can only have six in the room.” I said to the policeman again, “Only six will stay in the room,” I argued.
“At this point he just wants you off the property, ma’am,” said the policeman.
“If you don’t leave, we’re going to have to arrest you.”
I was literally in shock. My whole body was trembling, and I couldn’t believe what was happening. I turned around and noticed for the first time that I was the only one left in the lobby. Somehow, my husband had taken all the kids and luggage, loaded up the van, and driven around to the front. I stumbled around and collected the rest of my things that were still laying on the floor by the couches and walked outside.
Standing in front of the hotel the police said, “Ma’am I’m sorry. We wouldn’t treat you like this, but unfortunately there’s nothing we can do.”
While the police were talking to us, Priceline finally came back on the phone saying they couldn’t reach anyone at this hotel, and that I’d have to call back the next day. I climbed back into the van and could no longer hold back a sob.
At this point it was after 12:00 am, and we still needed somewhere to stay. I was a wreck and couldn’t mentally look for a place. I wanted to just find a parking lot and sleep in the van. Jason drove around stopping at various hotels that were full.
At 1:30 we finally found a room.
We got all the kids settled, but Jason and I were still wired. My husband was furious. He couldn’t believe we weren’t even given the option to rent an additional room! He felt completely discriminated against. How is it that since we have a family of seven we were thrown off the property!? Unbelievable!
It was after 4:30 when I finally fell asleep, and we had to be up at 6:30 for an appointment the next day.
It would be a week before I could sleep without having nightmares about the hotel experience. The rest of our two week trip, I trembled each time I walked into a hotel. If only the bad experience had just lasted the night. Thankfully, Priceline did refund my money. I’m not sure how they were able to do that, but I am grateful!
I’ve heard lots of crazy hotel stays, but this one tops my list for the worst hotel experience. Can you beat it?