Last weekend, we took our annual drive to Williamsburg, VA to have a couple days of fun at Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream. Personally, I’m not so big into Halloween, but some other family members are, and we all like going to this place any time of year, so it’s become a Fall tradition, and we all look forward to it as the last bastion of Summer(ish) travel. This year it was very Summer-ish. The weather in Virginia was HOT, with highs near 90°F both days we were there.
The real focus of this story, however, is the hotel . . . err, the hotel reservations. My wife is our travel agent, and she booked a Busch Gardens tickets/hotel package, with 2 suites for 2 nights at a Williamsburg hotel that shall not remain nameless: Holiday Inn & Suites Gateway at 515 Bypass Road. We had never stayed there before, but even though she began shopping it 3 weeks in advance, Karen found the Williamsburg hotels already heavily booked for this particular weekend, and her criteria; suites, breakfast included, etc., quickly whittled down the available options.
So, we set out from home Friday afternoon on the roughly 350-mile drive and encountered several traffic delays along the way that set us back to where we wouldn’t be getting to Williamsburg until right around midnight. We tried calling the hotel several times, but no one answered. Seeing as our reservation was prepaid and confirmed 2 days earlier, we weren’t terribly worried. So perhaps you already sense where this is going, but upon our arrival at 12:10 AM, we were told the hotel was overbooked, we were flagged as a no-show, and our rooms had been sold. There were no more rooms available in the hotel, and probably not in the entire town. Imagine our delight.
Without detailing all the ugliness that ensued, I’ll skip to 2:30 AM, when we finally checked into some of the last rooms available in Williamsburg—and I’ll tell you—the place we ended up didn’t have the last open rooms in town because it’s just so elite and so few can afford luxury of such high caliber, oh no. But that doesn’t mean it was inexpensive, nor does it mean that the management of Holiday Inn & Suites Gateway at 515 Bypass Road, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185 was so deeply regretful of what they did to us that they picked up the tab for these alternative accommodations, oh no. In fact, as I write this, they still have not done anything but vow to “investigate the matter.”
So to you my friends, I’ll say this: When you travel, take nothing for granted, even prepaid hotel reservations, especially if they are at Holiday Inn & Suites Gateway at 515 Bypass Road, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185.
And to Holiday Inn & Suites Gateway at 515 Bypass Road, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185?