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My friend and I checked into the Travelodge Golden Gate on March 26th, 2011 and paid in full for our 7-night stay. We dropped off our luggage and things and decided to go take a walk to explore the area. We came back to our hotel a couple hours later and opened the door to find two transvestites half naked (changing, applying makeup, etc) They were shocked and freaked out, as were we (obviously).

We immediately went to the front desk to complain and demand an explanation. Turns out what had happened was the two men in our room had a friend book a room with the same number at a different Travelodge down the street. Their friend gave them the key card, so when they arrived at the Travelodge Golden Gate, they immediately went to our room. When their key card did not work, they went to the front desk to sort that out. The front desk, without double checking to see if that was actually their room, simply gave them new key cards with full access to our room. They didn't think much of our luggage because they simply assumed that the luggage belonged to their friend.

They told us that they were preparing to have men come over to meet them. You can assume what they were planning on doing there. Had we come back later, it might have been an even more shocking situation.

The two men were very apologetic, as was the man on duty at the desk. We were shocked and confused, as something like this has never happened to either of us before. It took a while for them to get dressed, pack up their things, and leave. Before leaving, we checked to make sure none of our belongings were missing.

We immediately asked for new sheets and for a cleaning of the bathroom at the very least. We were given new sheets and a blanket that was much smaller than our King size bed. We were told that there was no cleaning staff on site at the time, so we simply asked if we could use some cleaning supplies to clean a bit on our own. The man on duty asked us if anything was stolen, and we told him no.

At this point, we were still in shock, but hungry. We had been out all day and had had little to eat. We went out to grab some dinner and let our minds calm down a bit. But the thought "What the heck just happened?" crept through our minds constantly. It was quite surreal that our security and safety could be so easily compromised.

Upon our return to the hotel around 10pm, we decided we would go in and speak to the manager, Jay Patel, directly. We asked how this situation could have happened and whether or not there were policies in place for double checking IDs for occupants. He said there was, that his man on duty should have checked, and agreed that the situation was the fault of the hotel.

We then proceeded to ask if there was some sort of compensation that he could offer us, because let's face it, when we pay money for a place to stay, one of the most basic things we should assume is that we will be safe and secure. This is when Mr. Patel became very defensive and his nice attitude turned 180 degrees.

He asked me what I expected. I told him something like this has never happened to me, so I'm not sure. I asked if there was some sort of discount he would be willing to compensate, or even a full refund for their mistake. He became very defensive and angry with me (but a controlled kind of anger).

He said we should have made a complaint when the situation was unfolding, and if we had, he would have filed a police report and held the two men accountable.

This is the part that confused me the most. I asked him how those two men should be held accountable for the mistake of the hotel. Sure, those two men had the wrong hotel, but it was the hotel that gave them access to our room. On top of that, they did not take anything, so what would this police report say?

He then replied by saying that it was a human error and that it was a one in a million chance. He refused to give us a full refund and simply kept asking me what I wanted. He kept reiterating that those two men made a mistake and, had we complained earlier, he would have held them accountable. In addition, he said "It's not like there were two thugs pointing a gun to your head. You are safe, and nothing is missing."

I understand that this was a human error, and it happens. I also understand that, while our safety was not compromised, this could have potentially been a very dangerous situation. Any smart person with the wrong motives could have easily gained access to our room with the intention of hurting us or stealing from us. Simply stating that it didn't happen isn't a good reason for not compensating us. I was curious if he would have compensated us if we actually were held at gunpoint. We are two girls, on our own in a foreign city, and I did not appreciate being talked down to in such a condescending tone. It took us a few hours to process the situation (sorry if we are young and naive to bad situations like this) but that should be no excuse for his poor attitude and unwillingless to properly make up for the mistake of his staff.

At this point, I'm sure he was tired of arguing with us when he knew he was in the fault. He told us that he would allow us to have 20% off our first night's stay but this was his best offer. Alternatively, he offered us a full refund but we would have to leave by 2pm the following day. He said he would give us until 10am the following morning to think about it, but that he would require an answer by 10am.

We are on vacation and should not be subject to this kind of attitude when the hotel is clearly in the wrong. I'm not sure if you travel often, but it is not easy to find a suitable room in a hotel that is decently clean, in a good area, bed bug free and within budget on such short notice. Most smaller run hotels do not have anyone at their front desk past 11pm.

We had no choice but to "think about it" until the following morning. We looked for a better hotel, with little hope.

We have chosen to stay, at the very least, until Tuesday (March 29th) so that we can attempt to find another hotel. Mr. Patel has agreed to charge us for Saturday night (with the 20% discount), Sunday night, and Monday night. However, as we were talking to him, he received an inquiry about the availability of a room with a King sized bed for Wednesday night. He told the person on the phone that if anything opened up he would call them. He then proceeded to tell us that if we did not tell him by Monday morning if we wanted to room, he would release it at 10am Monday morning without warning.

To be honest, I do not mind the quality of this Travelodge. It is clean, bed bug free, and was affordable for us. it is in a very nice neighbourhood. I am, however, concerned about the service of the manager here and his unwillingness to properly make up for a mistake that his staff had made which put our safety in jeopardy.

Travelodge needs to seriously look at how its franchises are run and properly review safety regulations with its staff. A big part of the hotel experience should be the security of the guests. We will most definitely think twice before booking a stay with another Travelodge hotel.


UPDATE (Mar 28-2011 7:58pm)
Here is the reply I got from Travelodge Customer Service. It's a pretty cookie cutter response, so we'll see what happens.
Dear Veronica,
Thank you so very much for letting us know of your ordeal, I am so very sorry to hear what you have encountered.   I have opened up a customer care concern on your behalf and have already forwarded this to the property.  They will be contacting you as well.  Please be assured I will follow up on this for you.  Again, thank you and enjoy your trip in San Francisco!
Count on Me!
Melanie Adkins
Brand Specialist
Wyndham Hotel Group
1910 8th Ave NE
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Phone: 605-229-8057


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:26 am (UTC)
File a complaint with Travelodge HQ telling them that if you don't receive compensation that you deem appropriate in this situation, you'll contact the local news and publicize this situation more. Or just send them this link which calmly states all the facts.

Thankfully nothing serious happened, but as you said any number of situations could have happened. Just because you are safe after the fact does not make the situation any lighter in severity.

And lastly, "we are two girls in a foreign city"? Really, Veronica? Playing the gender card. :P
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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