If you were thinking of finding somewhere to stay with Booking.com that had parking you may want to think again. This is our experience of what they mean by parking and how poor I feel their customer services are. It seems that my review for Luton Road Sweet Guest House has been removed from Booking.Com on the grounds that I didn’t actually stay there so I shall also added it here. I didn’t take any photographs of this property either I am afraid – inside or out.
Let me help you to build up the picture first to give you a feel for our story. I had decided to finally take the teen to Germany and wanted to visit two theme parks in different parts of Germany. First we drove down to Dover and booked a room using Booking.Com. Now every time I looked and booked I went with what could have potentially cost more money properties as it was REALLY important that we had parking. Now it wasn’t obvious when we arrived exactly where we could park but there was somewhere that the owner said we could park.
Next we moved on to Brussels, again booked through Booking.com and again ticking the box for parking. Luckily it was a Sunday and so street parking was free. We eventually found somewhere we could legally park – after discovering that you cannot park in the spaces with yellow lines on the kerb. In fact we were told they would just tow the car away!
We left the property in Brussels early and headed off to a fun and wonderful day at Phantasialand (a theme park over 2 and a half hours drive away in rush hour) before then driving another few hours on to the next Booking.com property with requested parking in Flomborn. This was the best parking with a nice wide open space opposite the property.
Luton Road Sweet Guest House Chatham
From here on we drove all the way down to Lindau (which is almost at the border of Austria) where we stayed with Eurocamp for 4 nights. From here we had the mammoth journey of driving home and we left at 6am (it was 7am where we were but easy to not get confused with the time zones) and the ferry crossing was at 8:30pm. It took us this time to drive that way to allow for stopping breaks and meals. It was still a good four hours home and so we decided to once again utilise Booking.com. We booked at Luton Road Sweet Guest House Chatham because it was much cheaper than anywhere near Dover.This time the parking was more important than ever and I attached a note to the owners that we would be leaving late and how parking was essential. I heard nothing but did see that at the bottom of my printout that it said there was FREE PUBLIC PARKING AVAILABLE that there was NO NEED TO RESERVE. I assumed that (especially as I had no contact to say otherwise) that we would be able to park somewhere, that it was not necessary to arrange somewhere to park. We arrived finally at the property at 10:45pm. Yes indeed there is street parking but nothing available. In fact the parking situation is so bad that people are parked illegally all over the place! Eventually we found somewhere and we had to walk with three tired children (ages 14, 10 and 9 who had been travelling ALL day) to the property. There was nobody there and nothing to suggest what we should do when we arrived. Luckily I found a phone number from the e-mail and rang them.
To be clear: The parking was an annoyance but we NEEDED somewhere to stay. The property said that we needed to pay in cash (on my e-mail) and that £10 per room damage deposit would be taken off and put back on my card.
A man answered and was instantly hostile and confrontational. He started telling me that I would be met and have to give another £20 cash but in a way that sounded like I had done something wrong. I explained that we didn’t have any extra cash as the booking didn’t say anything about it and how we had struggled with the parking. He was really shouty and angry saying that wasn’t his fault or problem. The way he was speaking to me was SO upsetting that I did not want to stay there (and the gap we had found for my car (which was technically illegally parked half up the kerb like everyone else) didn’t look safe anyway! I told him to forget it and he still kept shouting at me. I calmly repeated that we would not be staying and put the phone down. He rang me back and again started shouting at me. I once again explained that we were going home and hung up once more. He rang AGAIN and my husband took the phone and explained the situation but the man continued to keep shouting at us. My husband was so upset by the call his legs were shaking!
It turns out that the payment had already been taken from my credit card and so we did not need to pay cash. This had been sent to my email whilst we were travelling so I had not seen this. I emailed Booking.com but they claim they never received this. I phoned them after a few days and they have refused to refund the payment or compensate me in any way because their e-mail stated that there was free public parking and that’s all that needs to be covered to say that a property has parking. They do not care how I was treated because I had the option to stay there. I see that since they have changed the fine print on their website in regards this £20 cash deposit. It turns out I should have taken more notice of the reviews and we had a lucky escape.
I feel it is a real shame that they do not care about my custom as I have booked with them a good many times and will not be using their services again. Usually my credit card company would help me out but because the dispute is with the property and the payment through Booking.com there is nothing they can do to help me either.
Do you think I am just overtired and been unreasonable about the whole situation?
First impressions are really important in my opinion and I am not the only one to think so as Play Days and Runways explains why a hotel’s first impressions are so important.