We were supposed to spend the night at a 3 star hotel, booked on Hotwire. Hotwire promises bargain prices and guaranteed quality, they inform us that they have agents that visit hotels to check for quality and also use customer reviews to maintain quality hotels in their database. The catch is that you don't find out the hotel name until after you've paid. Oh, and it's non-refundable. But if you can book it cheaper anywhere else, Hotwire promises to pay you back the difference.
I had seen Hotwire prices pop up on other travel and hotel websites and commercials, so I wanted to give it a try. So I booked our first hotel of the trip through them. I chose a 3-hotel, recommended by about 90% of the previous Hotwire customers.
After I paid I got the hotel name, the Cordova Inn, I checked the hotel out online and obviously was not happy about the reviews, but hoped against hope that it was still somehow that quality 3-star hotel I was promised.
But at least, we got the rooms at a low Hotwire rate, right? Wrong. Booking it on the hotel's own website would have been $3 cheaper. I contacted Hotwire to get them pay back the difference, as they promised, but was told I had to request that in writing and decided it was too cumbersome for that little money, when I still had so much more trip planning to do. I already deeply regretted using Hotwire just this once! Obviously, all the other hotels were not booked there.
And tonight we arrived at the hotel... Oh my... 3 stars? Is it possible to have negative stars? It was a filthy place that homeless people use to rent rooms on a weekly basis. And to make things worse (or better depending on how you think about it) our reserved and prepaid rooms were not available.
Hotwire had been notified about this in the morning and should have arranged new accomodations in the area and contacted us about this all as early as possible. It was past 7 pm and Hotwire had not contacted me at all! What the...
So I called them myself and of course they denied everything. Here we were, with 3 people dependent on my trip planning, on the very first day and we had no place to stay even though we'd already paid for it. I was upset, more than upset. I got angry on the phone, so angry it scared my mom. I did not want anything to do with them anymore, I wanted the money back, now! And I would find a new and better hotel for the night by myself. Finally, after some verbal battling with the combative Hotwire agent, I got our money back.
Conclusion: Hotwire sucks and I will never ever be tempted to use it again. I don't like being negative on my blog, but I hope some of you who read this will learn from my mistake and stay away from Hotwire.
After this debacle we parked ourselves at Applebee's for some calming drinks and delicious food, and while we waited for our food I used my iPhone to get us a better and cheaper hotel for the night.
Wow, what a way to start our road trip. But no worries, like I said, I only used crummy Hotwire this once, so we're good the rest of the trip. Goodnight!