If you have noticed things a little slow around here, that was because I was away on vacation. After 11 years, my best friend finally got married and I traveled back to NJ for the wedding. The wedding and reception were very nice and I was selected to have the honor of being one of the ones to hold the chuppah. The wedding and reception were beautiful, but just about the entire rest of the weekend was a disaster!
There is nobody to get upset at over the fire alarm going off after the reception ended and having to evacuate via 50 flights of stairs. That’s just one of those things. But the hotel room was another issue. The room itself was fine. Parking was the issue.
While we spent most of the week in central NJ, the wedding itself was in downtown Philadelphia. Two local hotels were picked for wedding guests. But by the time I actually got around to booking the room, there were no more reserved rooms available and we would have had to pay full price. For the Windsor Suites, that was $180. Embassy Suites was another $25 over that.
Instead, we opted to stay at the Convention Center Days Inn, just half a mile away. Even that was $130! In comparison, when we were living at the Motel 6 in Fort Collins, the rate was $39/night. According to Tavelocity and Kayak.com, there was parking available at the hotel. We got to the hotel and drove around the block; there was no parking lot or garage attached to the building. After driving around the block three times we finally spotted a little sign: Days Inn Parking Here in the corner of a public parking lot. We parked in one of the spots labeled “Hotel Guests Only” and proceeded to rush to get checked in and off to the wedding venue with me putting my tux on as I walked down the street.
Walking back to the room at the end of the night, we passed by the parking lot and noticed a parking ticket on the windshield. $48 for parking in the public lot without paying. It would have been nice if there had been a sign near those parking spots stating that you had to pay even if you had a room!
So we paid the fine (conveniently at the pay to park kiosk) and then paid for parking for the rest of the night. Hotel guests get a flat rate of $32. So there went $80 in a matter of minutes to pay for parking at the hotel that supposedly had parking available for guests.
When you factor in the cost of parking vs the actually free parking for the official hotels for the wedding, I actually paid more for the privilege of walking to the wedding venue and nearly being late.
Moral of the story: When making travel arrangements, take nothing for granted. When booking a hotel room in a downtown area and the travel sites insist there is free parking, call and confirm.
Have you ever run into an issue of travel arrangements not having the correct information? What is your worst story?