Moore's Fed Up
hotels have room for improvement
THE past week we have had the misfortune to have to stay
at two Auckland hotels at opposite ends of the accommodation
first was the Ibis Budget Hotel at Auckland airport, the
second was Rydges Hotel in the central city.
had just flown in from the United States and had booked
a late-night berth at the Ibis Budget. I have always said
that when travelling as long as you have a clean bed then
it doesn’t much matter where you stay – but I was mistaken.
Now due to the international date line and exhausted brains
we stuffed up our booking at Ibis Budget. We realized that
just before flying out of LA and wanted to add a night at
the place. We knew we couldn’t change the initial booking
– that being very clearly stated on the website – but we
needed a place to stay a night earlier and so tried to phone
And phone through …
And phone through.
For no matter how many times we tried, the answerphone clicked
on and gave us an email to write to. Only the accent of
the person was such it could not be understood – and was
bloody stupid anyway – being h7865-re@whatever.
So we organized other accommodation.
next day, we contacted Ibis Budget by phone.
Hooray, you say, but unfortunately we once again we got
the answerphone and its unintelligible accent.
Okay, thinking outside the box I thought well let’s try
a major hotel in the city that is related to Ibis Budget
– Ibis itself – and see where we get.
got through to a person – praise be to God – and asked if
they could message Ibis Budget and pass on my mobile phone
number so they could contact us. No worries, they said.
days later not a whisper to be heard.
we tootled back to the airport the next afternoon in a bit
of a time-crunch situation. That is we had limited time
to get booked in to the Ibis Budget, get showered and then
make a rendezvous across the other side of the city.
got to the airport okay and even saw the Ibis Budget sign.
The problem was there were big renovations going on and
despite a complete circuit of the hotel on foot there was
no obvious entry.
even a clue.
I’d like to hear from travellers who have had bad
experiences in New Zealand hotels.
seems Ibis Budget’s budget didn’t go as far as to afford
a sign so its paying guests could actually get into the
that wasn’t the only barrier.
It seems the Ibis Budget management believes it’s okay for
guests with heavy bags to somehow wend their way through
a worksite and have to use a Ouija board or spiritualist
to magically show them where reception is.
For future reference it is on the second floor.
the two computers in the small room with the cardboard “Reception”
sign were two young women who perkily said “hello” and how
could they help.
answer your phones for a starter, said this peeved fellow.
“Oh,” they twittered, “our phone line is very busy.”
I retorted, I discovered that when I called several times
And from Auckland.
we do have an email …”
only good if you can understand it, I snarled, and it’s
a bloody stupid one anyway.
“Oh, we’re sorry.”
there’s no sign on the entrance it took me 10 minutes to
find the blasted door.
plastic entry card in hand – and the clock ticking - it
was onwards and downwards to our rooms just three doors
along from reception.
the door it was an astounding sight that greeted us.
room that could fit four people – a couple and two others
to fit in the bunks provided – was marginally bigger than
our bags. Okay a slight underestimation, but not far off.
It was tiny.
Oh well we are just going to be sleeping here for a night
so it’s not so bad.
my lady took a quick shower I tried to find a glass to have
there were no glasses provided. Nor were there tea or coffee
making facilities. That is a jug and a few cheap sachets
of coffee, sugar and teabags. Nothing.
they were in the fridge. There was no fridge.
for that matter, a phone in the room.
I guess that’s not a big problem because they never answer
the bloody thing anyway!!!!
I hear you say well you did know it was a budget hotel …
Yes, dear readers, but a budget hotel doesn’t have to be
cheap-arse. And it cost more than $100 a night. In my view
that isn’t budget, that should be rated affordable.
next night, still in Auckland, we caught up with friends
and told them our tale and they were not surprised. They
had been Ibis Budgeted in Sydney and it sounds like exactly
the same issues faced them.
you have been warned.
I have mentioned we had only been back from Los Angeles
for a day at most when we sampled the Ibis Budget’s wares,
but our adventures got even better.
stayed on in Auckland because I had a harbour-cruise business
party to attend. My room at Rydges in Federal St was paid
for and so I had booked another for the teen travelling
with us. Thank God I did because we rocked up at reception
to be told my official room had not been booked. Okay so
can we have another, I asked. “No, we are fully booked tonight.”
well can we swap our double room for one that has two beds
and we can all squeeze in there.
“Certainly we can try, came the response.”
Great, thank you guys. And I have to say I thought the front
office staff at Rydges were terrific.
new room was nice – although crowded with bags and bodies
– but we eventually organized another room at Sky City Hotel.
our cruise we returned to Rydges to find my lad had enjoyed
a very nice scallop dish ordered via room service and we
then sat down for a late snack at the STK restaurant, which
was absolutely spot on.
why does Rydges feature in this tale of pretty crap hotel
service you ask?
first of all there is the mystery of the non-booked room.
work emails – which I had been unable to access for three
weeks in the USA – showed the booking had been done.
were two rooms for us, but it seems the surname Moore appearing
twice in the guest list didn’t give the front staff the
vital clue about our missing room.
what followed had me screaming down the phone at some poor
before 8pm on the night after our stay/non-stay at Rydges,
I got an email from a trainee manager stating: “I trust
this email finds you well. I believe that you have booked
an accommodation at Rydges Auckland on 13 Dec14. Unfortunately,
you were not here for your reservation. We will apply a
penalty fee, which is cost of 1 night accommodation to your
credit card. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate
to contact me. Regards.”
it was Guy Fawke’s Night all over again at my house as the
fireworks exploded. If I had been within driving distance
of Rydges Hotel I would have re-visited them and not been
responsible for my actions.
I was on the phone within 0.000002 millisecs hoping to chat
with said trainee manager but, unfortunately/fortunately,
they had gone home. So I left a message. It said the trainee
should get in touch with me the moment he got in because
otherwise I would return to Auckland and do things to him
that would make the CIA’s enhanced questioning look like
a Bible class.
person did not ring me back and so I had to get on to the
Reservations crew to sort the matter out, which they managed
to do with few hassles.
My point is that here is this allegedly professional hotel
charging me a penalty fee of $244 for a room they said I
hadn’t booked into when in fact they had turned me away
The penalty was applied without any contact with me, other
than what I consider to be an offensive, pre-emptive email
announcing the fine.
forced me to find another hotel that left me more than $150
near good enough.
I’d like to hear from travellers who have had bad experiences
in New Zealand hotels.
know the email email@example.com.