Sorry, this has ended up being really long, but I hope you enjoy
My worst service happened on my high school Senior Trip. Our class had managed to raise quite a bit of money over the years, so we planned a 3 day trip to New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi. (I went to school in Central Texas). One student’s mom was a travel agent, so she made all the arrangements: leave late one evening on a chartered bus, travel all night, and arrive at NO in the morning. First day: Do some touristy things, check into a bed and breakfast type place (a converted orphanage, St. V’s) and have dinner on a steamboat on the river.
We have a blast on the bus and during the first morning. When it comes time to check in, we arrive at a very cute little inn. It’s very classy, and here we are a group of 40, mostly teenagers, grungy and tired from sleeping on a bus. Since the lobby was very small, and there are, of course, only three chairs, most of us are sitting on the floor. Everyone’s chatting because it has been an awesome day so far. One guy did do something very stupid (jumped in the pool with his clothes on, and he was talked to about that), but overall, we were very well behaved. Teachers go to talk to front desk…and found out we have no reservations.
What!!! That’s impossible, reservations were confirmed, and we had made a deposit…
We teenagers are worried, but it will be taken care of right? Right?
Well, manager has a solution. Another motel for us to stay at. They’ll even throw in breakfast for us since we were inconvenienced. So everyone loads back up in the bus, and off we go. We finally pull up in front of what looks like a motel, but it’s kind of shabby. Okay. Someone from the original inn and some of our teachers go in. We wait for about 10 minutes before the teachers come out. They get on the bus and say ‘there is NO WAY we are staying here’.
Mattresses on the floor with no linens. Bugs. Spilled, wet paint on the floor which the manager stepped in and then proceeded to track through the building. People were already in the motel; transients who were squatting and had to be escorted out. Awful, awful, awful. Teachers say we are not staying here and managers response is *shrug* there’s nothing else I can do. Oh, and you don’t get your deposit back.
After manager leaves, one of our teachers climbs the fence with a camera so she can take photos inside the building. Also, we find out that one of the workers at the original inn told some of the teachers that our reservation wasn’t lost; manager was able to sell our rooms to other people for higher prices. And to afford another motel, we need to dip into our graduation fund.
Frantic phone calls ensue: we need a place NOW! Oh, did I mention it was the weekend of the Jazz Festival?
There was no place with a vacancy. Someone calls a member of the school board at home, who says do what needs to be done; they’ll make sure we get a proper graduation. Finally, we find vacancies in a motel in Slidell, which is a good 25+ mile drive. Since we were having a nice dinner on a steamboat, everyone had packed nice clothes to wear; however, without a room, we couldn’t unload all of our luggage from under the bus. We had to freshen up in a mall bathroom and make due with the jeans and t-shirts we had been wearing for 18 hours. The rest of the trip was fantastic.
We get home and travel agent mom contacts inn wanting deposit back. She is told no, that we were rude, were awful to the other guests, caused problems, etc. Adults are livid.
I wish I had a copy of the letter that travel agent mom wrote up and sent to them and the BBB. She conceded that, yes, ONE student cause problems, but that was no reason to throw us all out, lie, take our deposit, and then try to stick us in a filthy, trashy place (which we had photos of). She ripped them a new one, but she did it so politely!
We did get our deposit back, and we had a fabulous graduation. I just googled them to see if they were still in business, and they are. Reviews range from ‘charming’ to ‘RUN AWAAAAAAAY!!!!!!’