A hotel nightmare solved in a most unusual way

Traveling non-stop for over 5 years (that’s almost 2,000 nights on the road in hotels and AirBnBs) comes with surprises. We can still be thrilled with the rare, truly great place to stay – as well as annoyed that on occasion we find ourselves staying at a pretty inferior place. The ups and downs of life on the road offer another nightmare story with a happy ending.

Most people think that the better the on-line reviews are for a place to stay, the happier you’ll be. It doesn’t always work that way for us.

Fortunately, we landed at the well-reviewed Khmer Mansion Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia – one of the best places we’ve ever stayed. Khmer Mansion staff knew our names and made our stay memorable. We were offered a seat at check-in and this is how we were greeted.

But here’s where the story takes a twist – a plunge into regret and despair.

We had planned a long stay of 22 nights in Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Archaeological Sites. The visit was so long we decided to stay in two hotels: Khmer Mansion for our first 10 nights with our friends, Cliff and Ruth; then we would move to a slightly less expensive hotel nearby for our last 12 nights. Both hotels had great reviews at on-line sites, and we assumed the modest price difference was due to the less expensive hotel not having a pool.

Oh, regret washed over us as we climbed the 8 flights of steps to our 4th floor room at the less expensive hotel. When we opened the door to our room, we saw a shabby room with a broken faucet in the bathroom and under-functioning air-conditioner. The next day we were moved to another “deluxe” room that was better – except for all the mosquitoes that welcomed us to that room.

How did we deal with the situation? We walked over to Khmer Mansion and asked if we could come back. They were fully booked the next 4 nights, but they would reserve a room for us to stay our last 7 nights. That left us 4 more nights at the less expensive hotel.

What to do now? It was unlikely we’d be able to break the non-refundable reservation at the less expensive hotel. That would mean paying for both hotels. When we looked online at booking.com to understand our options, we noted that our less expensive hotel had dropped its rate by 50% since we had initially reserved the room. So, now we were paying double the going rate for a very inferior hotel with a nonrefundable reservation.

What happened next seemed quite unbelievable to us. The manager at the less expensive hotel understood our problem and was willing to help. We called booking.com from Cambodia using Skype and directly spoke to an agent, Patricia, who listened to the problem and was sympathetic. She agreed to directly call the hotel manager to see what could be done while she placed us on hold. Five minutes later she returned with a new booking confirmation, allowing us to pay only for the nights we were staying until we moved back to Khmer Mansion.

Initially, the problem seemed to have no solution that we could see. Who would have expected such generosity from the manager of the less expensive hotel? And who would have expected such great service from one of the online travel booking companies? Thanks so much, booking.com!

We walked down the shady path to the entrance of Khmer Mansion….

…and by the bowl of flowers in the lobby.

What we knew we could expect was to be warmly welcomed back to Khmer Mansion Boutique Hotel – and we were!



March 2018

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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10 Responses to A hotel nightmare solved in a most unusual way

  1. Such as amazing story and a great example of, “you can only ask!” I was so impressed (and I must admit, quite jealous) when I stopped by the Khmer Mansion Boutique Hotel to pick you up. Not only did the staff know your names, they knew who your friends were too! Anita

  2. That was some welcome back!

  3. We’ve had good experience with bookings.com in a similar experience. With their help, we were able to get out of the situation and fled to happier places.

  4. Did Khmer Mansion give you a BIG send off when you left? Ruth game them average on breakfast and excellent for everything else. They got very excited about the average but we had the airport calling. We later got an email asking if we could help them with more feedback on the average score (basically too big and slightly odd offering “muesili & cornflakes rather than one or other”). We were impressed with their follow up.

    • After conversation about the very large breakfasts, we finally realized that we could order a la carte. The perfect solution! Yes, it was a lovely sendoff and Beth shed a few tears. After such a long stay, and after so much care from the staff – we knew we faced a rude awakening in having to take care of ourselves.

  5. I will remember this place for when we do visit there. It looks delightful. Glad to know your problem was sorted so easily in the end. You can’t beat good customer service. We’ve often used booking.com too.

  6. We use Booking.com almost exclusively unless there’s a much cheaper rate with the hotel directly or another site we trust. Their customer service is fantastic and we’ve gotten money back a number of times when rooms were not what they advertised or the hotel was being fumigated, a mix up occurred, etc. They have found us a new room with whatever requirements we want and have refunded the price difference from the original. We’ve never had a problem reaching them from anywhere in the world. Also, their website is very user friendly and we can keep track of all our reservations.
    Really enjoy your posts. We only travel for 6 months out of the year – 4 overseas and 2 in the US/Canada. Can’t imagine being on the road for 5 years. Would love to see more pictures as we’ve been to the same places and I love revisiting them your posts.

    • Glad you have also experienced great customer service from booking.com and to know this actually how they operate and not just one great employee.

      As for photos, it’s always hard to know the right length for a post and just how many photos to use. Years ago a reader commented she thought the length of the post and number of photos was just right, so we stuck with that “formula”. So, maybe or maybe not, huh? Glad we can take you back to revisit past travels. We’re happy to have you along!

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