All in the names
Quiet town, this Denver

Hotel tomfoolery

Every time I’ve ever been to Denver, I’ve stayed downtown at the Embassy Suites at 18th and Curtis streets (Google Local map). This has the advantage of close proximity to the 16th Street Mall and to other downtown attractions, along with easy freeway access and large rooms blah blah blah.

Every time I’ve stayed at this Embassy Suites, they’ve managed to screw up the reservation somehow, and this trip is no exception.

I’m here with my mom—she’s here for a gift-shop industry trade show, I’m here for a relaxing weekend away from the usual grind of day-to-day existence—and she always reserves a smoking room. This time she reserved, and received confirmation of reservation for, a 2-bedroom/2-bath suite that allows smoking, which would put it on the hotel’s 4th floor (their only smoking floor).

She made the reservation online and never spoke to a person, nor did she ever call back about the reservation. She received the confirmation information by email and that was that. So imagine our surprise when, at check-in, the desk clerk informed us we had called their reservations center on Feb 17 to cancel the previous reservation request and instead reserve a single room with two double beds, non-smoking. The downtown Denver Embassy Suites manages to screw up the reservation every time.

We had a few minutes of “What the hell?” discussion with the clerk, whose system doesn’t say specifically who made a request, only that the alleged request was made through the toll-free reservations line. And on the 17th. The customer relations manager walked up at that point and took over the transaction, tried to figure out what had happened and give us the room type we’d originally reserved.

Except they only have two suites of that type, and both were booked. Actually one was booked, the one on the smoking floor. The other was in “maintenance” status, so it can’t be rented out.

That’s when we found out this Embassy Suites is closing in a month or so, to be converted (according to scuttlebutt) into a Ritz-Carlton. There will be a downtown Embassy Suites opening sometime in the next year or so, the CR manager told us, and she knew they’d started remodeling some of the hotel’s floors already, and that’s what the “maintenance” hold on the suite was.

Odd, the hotel’s web site (linked above) doesn’t mention this closure at all, and in fact still shows room availability into and through March and April. I can imagine the unmitigated JOY! guests will experience when they arrive at the hotel and find it can’t accommodate their reservations because, gee, hmm, the hotel closed a few weeks ago! Golly!

But back to now.

The CR manager discovered, eventually, that there was another 2/2 suite on the 10th floor, and she booked us into that suite with a wink-and-a-nod approach to smoking within the suite. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” type of approach: “I can’t tell you to smoke in that room, but if you do smoke, ::wink nudge::....”

Et cetera.

It’s too bad I don’t smoke, we definitely could have got Mom’s money’s worth out of the CR manager’s chuckle/grin approach to fulfilling guests’ reservations at any cost.

Perhaps the new hotel will do better with reservations from the start. A lofty goal, perhaps, but an attainable one, I think.