Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, Road Trips, TRAVEL, Travel Planning, United States

Bad Expedia?

Expedia.comTHE EXPEDIA APP SAVED THE DAY

I’m a fan of Expedia and have always done most of my booking with them, but on this trip they made me angry. Thankfully, I had added the Expedia app to my phone for this trip, but I was surprised when I got a notification that I was supposed to check-in to The Sportsman Lodge, when I knew I was spending the night in Cambria.

OOOOPS

Long story short, I made a mistake. In my defense, trying to coordinate with so many people in so many cities was quite a challenge, but I can’t blame Expedia for my own mistake. I can blame them for having an idiot working for them.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

Another part of the ooops had to do with the fact that I was trying something new.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve started using Trip Advisor for my research.  I’m all about giving credit where credit is due.  Since Trip Advisor was the primary reason I chose the Fireside Inn, I wanted them to get credit for it.  So I booked the hotel through Booking.com who had the lowest price with a link right from Trip Advisor.  I saved a few dollars, but not enough to cover booking an extra night in LA.

Had I booked it all at Expedia, I might have seen pretty quickly what I was doing.  In fact, I think I have actually gotten a warning before when I tried to double book myself, but there’s no way for Expedia to know what I did on Booking – and if they did, it would be pretty creepy if they told me about it.

THE SHORT STORY LONG

As soon as I realized why I was notified, I immediately started making calls.  I didn’t expect anyone to give me a refund. I know what non-refundable means.  I mean a refund would have been nice.  I’ve been booking with Expedia for years and this was my first ooops, but I know non-refundable means you can’t get a refund.

However, having dumped several hundred dollars into my multi-night stay in LA, I didn’t want the hotel to think I was a no-show and give my room to someone else.  I tried calling The Sportsman Lodge first, but they said I had to discuss it with Expedia.

So I called Expedia.  Of course, I was on Highway One in the middle of nowhere when I got the notification, so phone reception was spotty at best. With Miss English-Is-Not-My-First Language, communication was impossible. I explained my problem to her and when she tried to confirm what was wrong, it sounded like “mmmnnnttptpsnviwpjer.” I said, “I’m having trouble understanding you. I just want to confirm that my room will be available when I get there tomorrow.”  She told me to hold.

After a while the lady gets back on the phone and suddenly I could understand her completely. She started explaining to me what “non-refundable” means.  OK, so I’m already mad at myself, Bill is fit to be tied at the unnecessary expense and I’m not a happy camper. What part of “I don’t expect a refund” did the lady miss out on? She gave me an ultimatum – “Either get to LA tonight or lose your room.”

I tried to reason with her.  I reminded her that I didn’t want a refund.  I  just wanted to be sure the rest of my reservation, which I’d already paid for, would stand.  I distinctly remember her telling me (in a very ticked off manner) that the room would be empty for a night.  Well, DUH!  Of course it would – but I’d rather pay for one night with an empty bed than lose the rest of my money.

My blood pressure was through the roof!  I wanted to reach out and strangle someone.  And then the call dropped.  And for once, I was thrilled.

I TRIED AGAIN

I called again and got what I considered to be a real person.  I even apologized for how angry I had been at the other lady.  I told the real person the whole sordid tale.  She asked me to hold and then lickety split, she had not only confirmed everything was copacetic, she told me who to talk to at The Sportsman’s Lodge if I ran into any problems.

SO WHAT WILL I DO IN THE FUTURE?

I’m a little torn.  I admit, I’m falling in love Trip Advisor, but I’ve always done my booking with Expedia.  I’m the loyal sort, but I’m not sure who to be loyal to.  Am I loyal to Trip Advisor, where I have contributed many reviews and earned tons of badges or should I be loyal to Expedia, which is no longer my first love, in spite of the years of traveling we’ve done together.

Obviously, I haven’t figured out the answer yet.  Any suggestions from my friends in the blogosphere?  Putting all that drama aside, come back next week and I’ll tell you how much I liked The Sportsman’s Lodge…when I finally got there.

Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL, Travel Planning, United States

Fireside Inn at Moonstone Beach

From the Fireside Inn Website
From the Fireside Inn Website

TRAVEL THERE: PLEASANT STAY AT FIRESTONE INN ON MOONSTONE BAY

Well Merry Christmas to everyone.  I hope this is a holiday to remember.  I’ll continue with my travelogue.

Fireside Inn at Moonstone Beach in Cambria is now on my list of favorite bed-and-breakfast inns.  I think you’d like it, too.

TRIP INTERRUPTED

Several months back I explained how this trip to California went through several permutations before I actually got to take it.  Though pretty much everything about the trip changed several times over, I guarded my night on Moonstone Beach with a vengeance. It was one of those experiences that I’d wanted for a long time and I was determined to keep it on the itinerary.

I wasn’t so sure about the accommodations.  Though I’ve been doing my booking with Expedia for years, recently I’ve begun to do a lot of research on Trip Advisor.  Their reviews seem to resonate with me more than the Expedia crowd’s and I love using the Saved Trips feature for things I want to see while I’m researching.  And of course there’s an app, so I can get to the items I’ve saved when I’m out on the road.

There was one small problem with Moonstone Beach.  Every single inn sounded perfect.  Oh, there was usually one or two people who ranted about smelly rooms or noise or something, but those grumps were sprinkled pretty evenly among my choices. Each time I got online I’d change my mind and Bill wasn’t much help either.  Eventually, I chose Fireside Inn, but I have no reasonable explanation for it.  I just had to make a decision, so I did.

GREAT ROOMS AND BETTER SERVICE

It was late afternoon, almost evening, when we arrived and the desk clerk made it seem as if he’d just been dying for us to get there.  He was friendly in a genuine way, not in a corporate mandate way.  He was full of restaurant suggestions and well wishes.  He acted like he hoped we’d have a reason to call him so he could visit with us again.

With that kind of reception you want to like your room and we did.  It was huge and felt more like a suite.  The bathroom had plenty of room for two people and was perfectly appointed.  The room itself was down right luxurious.  Not in an expensive over the top sort of way, but it made me want to curl up on the sofa in front of the fire.

Speaking of the fireplace, it didn’t work at first, but when I called my friend at the desk he hurried over and jiggled whatever needed to be jiggled.  The flame lit right up.  My desk clerk fan explained that it would be safe to sleep with the fire going, so we did.

MOONSTONE BAR AND GRILL

Right next door to the Fireside Inn is the Moonstone Bar and Grill.  My desk clerk friend endorsed it as a great place for dinner.  I remembered having at least one meal there and reviewers had raved about it, so that’s where we had dinner.

The place was jammed and it had been redecorated since our last visit.  The menu had also been completely revamped.  We were looking to grab a bite and they wanted us to go the full monty.  We were tired from driving all day and the noise level was extreme.

So it was not our favorite dining experience of the trip, but I think that had more to do with us than them.  The last meal we had there was earlier in the day, so we got to enjoy the view out of the big picture windows overlooking Moonstone Beach.  I’m thinking this is a “go-there-for-lunch” place – at least for us.

BACK TO THE ROOM

So after dinner we chilled out by the fire.  My only regret about the Fireside Inn is that I only had one night there.  I think it deserves at least a three night stay.  I lounged on the sofa before the fire jotting down notes from the day.  Notes which, by the way, are now packed away in some box while I’m waiting for my house to get finished.  I’m writing this from memory rather than my copious notes.

One thing I wanted to be sure everyone understood.  This is a casual seaside inn.  For me this was a plus – and the rooms are out of this world.  However, this is not the Taj Mahal.  There’s nothing fancy about the exterior or the hallways.  There’s nothing wrong with them either.  The lobby is pleasant, but not opulent  It’s clear everything is meticulously maintained, but there are no frills.  They save the good things for the room and have extreme hospitality instead of Louis XVI antiques.

BREAKFAST WAS AMAZING

We woke up refreshed with the fire still blazing.  It was one of those memories that sticks with you long after you’ve forgotten what you ate at that expensive restaurant.  We got ready for another day on the road and wandered over to the breakfast room.

What a nice experience!  Breakfast was served buffet style, so you could get whatever you wanted.  They didn’t have anyone cooking fresh eggs and such, but they did have a fresh pancake machine.  I thought that was cool, because most places have a waffle machine.  I ate with a growing appetite and everything was delicious.

The room itself is next to the pool and the day was warm enough for them to have the french doors open.  Crisp linens covered the tables and I liked the ladderback chairs.  Everything felt comfortable and homey.  Did I mention the food was delicious?

We climbed in our car and continued down Highway One, exiting at Morro Bay.  We were about to wander down memory lane.  Come back next week and wander with us.