THIS AND THAT – TRAVEL IN TRYING TIMES

We are going to a wedding this weekend. And staying in a nice hotel in Boston overnight so we can enjoy the wedding without worrying about the long, dark drive home. A few days ago, I got a bunch of emails from the hotel’s parent chain. I assumed that amidst all this communication there would be a reservation confirmation. I already gave them a credit card, so there was no reason for problems.

aloft hotel aerialshot

Except it wasn’t. When I opened the email, it was not a confirmation. Instead, I’d been sent a login screen for their “club.” You know how it works, right? Your airline, your hotel, your rental car are all part of large corporation. They hope your single night reservation will evolve into a steady customer relationship. Not likely, in our case, but I understand that it’s their job to generate business.

The problem was that this login screen required a username and password. I had neither. The email also lacked the hotel’s address, phone number, directions, and information about parking. All of that information must have been accessible inside the application which I couldn’t access. All they gave me was a corporate phone number. No address. No reservation number. No confirmation number. Oy.

aloft lobby

I called the corporate office. They couldn’t help me. Couldn’t transfer my call to the hotel, but they gave me the hotel’s phone number. So I called. After being put on hold for a ten or so long minutes, a man got on the phone. I explained the problem and he said, “Sorry, I’ll send you a confirmation now.”

Which turned out to be 5 or 6 web pages. In full color with animated advertisements.

My printer has never in its life refused a direct order, but in the face of this massive overload of data, it totally would not load. It tried. Gamely kept trying. Locked up my computer and absolutely would not print.

I called back. “Can’t you just send me a plain text confirmation? And please, this time, include the address, phone number, and any other information I should have at check in?”

So he sent me another email. Without an address. Or email. Or telephone number.

I called again. “Uh … an address … and the check-in, check-out times … and your phone number … would be really helpful.” I paused, pondered. “What’s the parking situation and are you walking distance from the Sheraton?”

Turns out parking costs $40 and is several blocks away. In a lot not adjacent to the hotel. The Sheraton is on the other side of Boston, so we’ll definitely need a taxi. I was getting a headache. Why was this so complicated?

“I’m disabled,” I said. I really hate having to explain, but if we have to haul our stuff blocks from car to hotel, there’s no point in staying overnight. Good bye convenience, hello expensive inconvenience.

“Oh,” he said. “Well, we have disabled parking at the hotel. You could park there. There would be a lot less walking.”

“Can you promise me there will be a space in the disabled parking area?” I’ve had problems with this before, where they have maybe two disabled spots and they’re taken … leaving me totally screwed.

“Oh,” he assured me. “There’ll be space.” And I’m wondering how come he’s sure because I’m anything but.

aloft guest room

Eventually, I copied and pasted the plain text email into a document, manually typed the address and phone number. Then printed it.

Supposedly, they’ll save a handicapped space for us. Orange cone in the space. I’m counting on it. All of this adds up to why the joy has fled from traveling. A night in a good hotel should be fun. Easy. Why make it so complicated?

I’m old enough to remember when travel was something to which we looked forward with happy anticipation. I called a hotel, made a reservation, then off we went. Yes, those were the good old days.

A final note of transcendental techno-weirdness: While I was writing this, I Googled the hotel. My reservation came up online with a note that only I could see it. Why didn’t I think of that? How did it get into the Google cloud when I couldn’t get it into my own computer?



Categories: Humor, Transportation, Travel

Tags: , , ,

41 replies

  1. All the fun taken out of traveling. I traveled to Canada once, to Whistler Mountain for some skiing. Hit a speed bump. In the UK, and here we write the date with the day of the month first, then month, then year. You write the day with the month first, and then the day. So the hotel had me down for the wrong month and day. Even though I had booked it in the UK. So I get there, and lo and behold. No room at the inn. But after much back and forth discussion they managed to find me a room. Phew. Made me check everything out thoroughly after that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like the old “talk to a human being” method. That’s what I eventually did here and it got straightened out. I’m pretty sure had I not called, it would NEVER have gotten fixed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • im always very leery of numbered dates–my husband uses one way (the gummint way) and I use the other. which is fine, as long as the date is obviously higher than the months we have–but when it comes down to May 7 or 7 May I make a point of writing out the month date so that at least one of us knows the difference…

      Like

  2. I think the cloud lassos all vital information and holds you to ransom for it. It does sound like a nightmare but hopefully it will work out and you will have an amazing weekend.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope it works out OK with the parking Marilyn, as you say if you have to park across town it’s hardly worth staying as it is no longer convenient.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. And don’t dare touch any of those water bottles/candybars/cookies/chips/etc that they leave on the counter for your dining pleasure, lest you see some pretty hefty charges on your check-out bill!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Geez, Lois, you must’ve seen my comment to Judy about squirreling away stuff. I gotta come up with a better exit plan. Once upon a time, I was pretty good at this stuff. But that was once upon a time and now that time is gone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had to go back and read that, because I had not seen it. I like the shampoos/lotions but I once (accidentally, I swear!) moved a $9 bottle of water to plug in my phone charger. Yup, they charged me $9 for water. I pled my case and they took it off the bill. Who can afford $9 water?!

        Liked by 2 people

        • when you can probably buy the exact same water in the lobby for $2. Hang “complimentary” on anything and they charge you for just being in the room with it. They even stick it to you (sorry, bad pun) in the hospital, by turning on the TV as soon as you’re bedded down, and hiding the remote elsewhere. no, I say, I dont need the TV. and they smile and say, well, it’s company. Then you find out it’s expen$ive company.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. reading that makes me seize up, truly. we are not travelers, and when I do go, I rely on what’s out there and the ‘vacancy’ sign. Good luck with the whole thing, and I hope it works out at least as well as it needs to, and maybe better.
    Ive been snapped under the chin more than once by an over-enthusiastic Portal situation, and for the most part they are so concerned with your privacy and ‘ease of access’ that by the time you have it figured out you realize you just don’t need it. As you found out. Call, ask. Demand. Annoy the desk clerk. And yeah, get that orange cone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy, I’m concerned about portals. We are watching a lot of vampire stuff (Marilyn has seduced my cowboy addicted brain). I don’t want to be sucked in to a creepy portal. On another, unrelated subject — I’m looking forward to a quality bathroom with all the latest trimmings.
      We’ll have space in our luggage bag/s to squirrel away goodies. I hope they have quality wash cloths.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Years ago in a Holiday Inn they had left a charming sign in each room which read, in brief, “Our towels and facecloths are family. When one or more of them go missing, all the other members of the family are sad. We would appreciate it if you did not break up our happy families –”
        so I took the placard instead and left them a dollar for it.

        Yeah, portals are weird some of them will only allow ONE family member access (usually the doctor related ones) which is silly and there is no way in hell Im going to get a separate email addy just to have the doctor tell me I have an unpronounceable disease…

        I now have a special icon on the desktop just for portals. They can work it out amongst themselves…at night, in the dark, I can hear strange whispery noises from the direction of the Portal shortcut. sometimes a low scream. I don’t look.

        Liked by 1 person

        • If I’d realized this was also Memorial Day weekend, I might have recognized a potential issue. But being retired, I don’t remember most holidays since we are on holiday all the time, or at least, most of it.

          Speaking of portals: don’t you love how they warn you to use a different password for each? Like that’s going to happen. And for me that strangest moment was when I googled the hotel and got my reservation. In plain text. Just like I asked. Huh????

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Hope it turns out to be a lot more than making this reservation and confirming it was!

    Like

  7. Just wait until you find out you need a log in, password and confirmation code just to operate the room key…

    And feel free to take the orange cone with you… it’s complimentary and sanitized for your protection. My Mom never left a hotel room without everything that wasn’t bolted down…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Squirrel, I’ll have my eyes focused on pens. I haven’t been able to appropriate a quality pen in a long time. My reputation may be on the line here.

      Like

  8. Hmm. I hope it all goes well! I’m sure when you get there everything will be fine 🙂

    Like

  9. Have fun. I havn’t stayed in a hotel for some time, and usually when they are taken care of by someone else. I have never had problems, but do not have a lot of experience. My son travels more and has had all sorts of strange encounters, once with a flying insect, which he took a photo of as a souvenir, or probably in case he wanted to lodge a complaint. We got a SMS message yesteray, “will be boarding the plane for Barcelona in 5 minutes” and some time later “have arrived in Barcelone”. He has it good, the Swiss government organises it all to get him to the meeting (naturally food included).

    Like

  10. Maybe I have been lucky, but I have booked our last several holidays all online and have had flawless service online and the hotels were brilliant

    Like

  11. I know. Everything is too much or too little in this crazy world..

    Like

    • This shouldn’t be difficult. This was supposed to make our day easier. I’m sure it will be just FINE.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Really shouldn’t be this difficult. You do all the grunt work so you MUST be frustrated. If they had stalled on the reserved handicapped space, I would’ve said cancel the damn thing and not subject ourselves to worse case scenarios. Seems like the joy of doing these things has been sucked out by technology. Maybe I’m just getting old.

        Like

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