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What to Do When the Accommodation You Booked Is Not Where You Want to Stay

Updated on April 10, 2018
aesta1 profile image

Mary has travelled and worked in different places for over 40 years now and has stayed in so many hotels and apartments all over the world.

The Accommodation You Booked

You arrived at your destination hotel and you open the door on what you booked. Not the one in the picture below. You were looking at this place with its space and brightness, but the cheap monkey bit your elbow and ... you took a cheaper option. Unhappily, you made a bad decision...so now what?

The Accommodation You Wished You Had

Sheraton Hotel in Dubrovnik
Sheraton Hotel in Dubrovnik | Source

Why Did You Book an Accommodation You Don't Like?

I hate to tell you this, but in spite of all your research, you sometimes arrive at your accommodation and you ask yourself, "Why did I book this?"

I believe you when you say that you spent hours looking for a place to stay. I know, too, that you read countless reviews before you made your choice. I am aware that you put the filters that are non-negotiable for you. So, how did you end up here?

Sometimes, it is not your fault. You did everything patiently and settled on a place you know you'll enjoy, one where you can go out of your door and immediately walk to the beach where fishermen bring in their catch and you can have a stroll in the beach with the one you love and enjoy watching the sunset. Even though it was a tad expensive, you wanted to give yourselves a treat. But, something happened.


The Beachfront Destination We Booked

Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia | Source

What Happened to the Dream Accommodation We Booked

Here is what happened. We were driving from Madrid to Porto and looking forward to that dream place we booked. This is our first time in Porto and we were really excited. As we approached Porto, we heard a ping alerting us to a message on our phone.

We pulled over at the next stop and looked at the message. It told us that the place we booked in Orbitz for Porto was already booked but the staff forgot to remove it from the site. We were upset as we had a clear confirmation of our booking.

They offered another option which we said we would consider as it had been a long days drive. This was our first time in Porto and did not know what to expect. We arranged to meet the staff but we were not happy campers. The place was super clean and it was alright. It was in an apartment building about 15 minutes from the beach and with no restaurant or grocery store or any attraction you could walk to. We thought we were in Porto but we were not. We kept putting Porto in the GPS and could not get a match until a lady by the roadside told us to put Vila Nova de Gaia, the neighbouring town.

We were told this was much cheaper, but cheap only works if your basic quality needs are met We were looking to stay in a place right on the beach where we could watch the fishermen in the morning preparing their nets, talk with them a bit, and walk in the shore. Maybe, also watch them come back to bring in their catch. It wasn’t summer but it wasn’t that cold either so this was possible, thus, the reason for our booking the first place. Anyway, what do you do?

Not in this Center of Town

Accommodation in the Center
Accommodation in the Center | Source

Other Times When What You Booked Was a Disappointment

Here's another scenario for you. You arrive at the place. It is beautiful but there is construction on all sides and the noise and dust are just beyond what you can tolerate.

Another time, you saw when you booked the hotel that there was parking and there really was. When you arrived, you saw the gate to the parking a few feet to your right but because of the one-way traffic, you can't turn right. You have to turn left and go around narrow streets until 45 minutes after and having asked 5 people, you found the gate. The joy of driving and being in the centre of the city.

Or, the time when you booked a place as it is "an easy walk to the attractions". The easy walk is for 20-year-old sprinters and not seniors with canes. It was one of the hotels highly ranked in the listing for that city but you found out it was not within the city but in the suburb. Well, still part of the city.

Another time, we did not have much time to book a place. We tend to wander across the countryside without a plan, and sometimes we get a huge surprise. We were driving and saw a decent place where we wanted to stay. It was exciting and beautiful so we went to the usual platform. We booked the one that had 9.9 rating as we were caught in the usual ploy that there is only one room left and half the world was looking at it right now.So. we booked it, relying on the rating.

We looked at it the following day, from the outside just to check. It was quite old but what do you expect in an old city and the view was magnificent. We arrived the next day and saw the stairs we have to climb to the top. The room was on the 3rd floor (Level 4) and there was no lift. The stairs were steep and narrow so, what do you do. We actually crawled up the last flight!

In another hotel, it said clearly that there was parking available to guests and I just presumed it was free. No, it was a paid for parking close by and that’s 25 Euros per day. With parking and highway charges, you can rack up your holiday costs far beyond your planned budget.

You can add to this dirty carpets, smelly rooms, and bedbugs. I am sure you have your own stories and no matter how much care you put into your booking sometimes you will be disappointed.

Easy Walk to the Town Center

Location of Accommodation
Location of Accommodation | Source

Travel Accommodation Preference

Which of these travel accommodation do you prefer?

See results

Advantages of Your Accommodation

Accommodation Choice
Accommodation Choice | Source

What to Do When You Don't Like Your Booked Accommodation

Here are some suggestions:

  • Shorten your stay.

Take it for one or 2 days. That will give you enough time to look around and find other places if your first choice was a tad weak. This is, of course, only possible when it is not the peak season and when you have a car. Or, if you’re staying in the place longer.

If you don’t have a car, take the room for one night and go back again to the booking platforms and look for another accommodation. Better to have another adventure than to mope in the place you really don’t like. Search not just in that particular area. There are neighbouring places which are just as good. Ask around. There are always people who like to help. Look for real estate offices in the area. They often have options for you.

  • Make do and enjoy your stay.

We did with the apartment in Porto where we have to walk up to the 3rd floor. We only booked 3 nights so we knew we could make do. We arrived (crawled) at the top and the view was amazing. The place was well decorated, super clean, and everything in it was top notch although narrow. But the place was right where the action is. Once you’re down, it is very easy to go around to the many interesting places. Even when it rained, we still could watch the action from our top floor and a bit of planning meant we could do one up and down each day.

There are always advantages to whatever place you end up in. What matters is your attitude. You can make yourself miserable or you can look at the pleasant things and enjoy it.

  • Leave early and forget about the money paid

We did this once.It was in Taormina. It was not the place’s fault. It was ours. We were with family and we thought that a place on the beach in Sicily would be fun for a few days in-between history and sightseeing. It was February. Nothing much was opened on the beach when we arrived and when we saw the town, we looked at each other and thought why were we there in that isolated place. Well, we immediately changed that after one night.

We went off, booked in another place which we found online and turned out to be really magnificent. This is when we discovered Syracusa.

We can’t really explain why we missed this in our planning. But when you are not familiar with a place, you miss out a few things. In fact, it had so much to offer that some family members went back there another time.

When you move on, surprises come your way and often they are much more pleasant. You know what? We can't remember what we paid but we certainly remember Syracusa. In fact, our daughter went back there and stayed in the same hotel and revelled in the mammoth history of that very walkable city

  • Chat about an upgrade.

Sometimes, you like the place but the room is too small. This happens when we choose the cheapest room advertised in that hotel. When you see a bargain in some of those 5-star hotels, it is so tempting to book it only to find out, it is one of their smaller rooms and you find it hard to move around. Well, chat with the reception. If you stay longer and the hotel is not really full, you have a good chance of getting an upgrade.

Avoid full tourist season. When the hotel has flexibility, you can benefit.

Your Accommodation is Part of Your Travel Adventure

Choosing Where to Stay
Choosing Where to Stay | Source

How You Book Your Accommodation

What is your topmost criteria when you book your accommodation?

See results

Laugh and Think about Why You're Traveling

Travel is an adventure but cleanliness should not be. Smelly room, smelly sheets, some days you are the pigeon, sometimes you are the statue.

Laugh and think about why you’re travelling. You want some adventure, don’t you? All you do in your room is sleep so don’t let that become the deciding factor in your enjoyment.

If you’re not happy, your host is probably not happy either. She/He knows that a bad review is going to hurt her business and so she wants to sort out any problems. If you’re not comfortable, don’t get angry. Keep calm and leave lots of room for compromise. A big smile is going to work much better than an angry voice especially as there may be language complications. The host knows you do not need to get angry to get even!


© 2018 Mary Norton

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    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Mona. I hope you will not have to do this. Enjoy your trip.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      2 weeks ago from Philippines

      What a fantastic, informative article. We are going on a trip soon, and the information you gave is invaluable. So far, we've had good luck with our hotels when we travel but there is always the exception. So now, if we have an exception, we will know what to do thanks to your article.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      4 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      But even if you had to pay, Virginia, I am sure you were happier in the other place and you just consider the payment as part of your tuition for your new learning.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      4 months ago from Central Florida

      30 years ago, my sister and I booked a B&B in England by phone from the rail station. As soon as we walked in the door, we had our doubts. Once in the dreary, semi-clean room, we said this just won't work, even for just one night.

      We walked out and found another, luckily. Found out later that we should have paid for the unused booking, but didn't know that at the time.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      5 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Nithya. You know this very well from your travels. Travel is indeed an adventure.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      5 months ago from Dubai

      Great advice, travel is an adventure and with the smile and some compromises we can enjoy the stay.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      6 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Yes, we have done that once but it was mire our fault as we booked a place in the beach when it was so cold.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      You've certainly been to some gorgeous and fascinating places, Mary. And your advice is spot on. "Make do and enjoy your stay," or "leave early and forget the money." Yes, sometimes that becomes necessary.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Good for you. That must have been awful. This experience sometimes can turn a dream holiday into a nightmare.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      7 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Mary, You have a lot of experiences in travel and have a lot to offer those of us who don't. That actually happened to my husband and me about 15 years ago. We booked a place according to the flyer we received and when we got there, none of the things were available. It turned out it was an outdated flyer, we didn't have computer then so on line information. We only put a down payment on an the room we booked was being painted so they wanted to give us a room that had an awful smell. We left and found a place that had rooms available. After several letters we finally got our down payment back . Thank you for all of your advise.

      Blessings to you.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I hope so. I will look forward to reading it. Friends who had been there really liked it.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      Hopefully, when I get round to it, there'll be an article from the trip.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Our friends always enjoy doing this. I like the freedom of being able to do that. I have not yet been to Cyprus so would love to hear your adventure.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      There are definite advantages of self-catering in the freedom you have to eat what and when you want. Planning an upcoming self-catering break to Cyprus at the moment.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I can just imagine the stories you could tell. Still, I have a great image of your plane flight from Mallorca to the Olympics.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I think that almost everyone who travels sometimes experiences disappointments as well as surprises with prearranged lodgings. A good attitude really helps! It ends up adding to the overall travel experience. We have a few stories of our own. (Smile)

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      You are right Nikki. That happened to us, too, that what we booked turned out even much better. That's a very effective advice, to remember the best always.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      7 months ago from London

      This is a great hub Mary, had a bit of laugh, and tips are very useful for travelling and stays.We normally book online but sometimes we don’t get what we expect but at others, morr fascinating than we expected.

      So it happens often when you’re staying out, best thing is remember the best part and learn some new tips for next time.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am not familiar with it but we stayed in Porto Beach Apartment and the owner was really very helpful. Staying in apartments was much better for us especially when the family is with us. It is easier and cheaper and you can prepare food you like.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      I noticed apartments overlooking Matosinhos beach that looked good. I even wondered about recommending them to the family with young children for summer holidays.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks, Li-Jen. That happens when you travel. We used not to book any place and start looking for one at around 4 o'clock, look at it first before we make our booking but we found that was more expensive and risky now that we are older. You take your punches.

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      8 months ago

      Hey Mary. Sorry you had to go through many troubles like moving on to a new accomodation and walking up the stairs but glad you found the right places. Wonderful share. :) Thanks! Useful as always.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Eurofile, we stayed in Vila Nova de Gaia but the one we booked was cancelled. We shortened our stay and moved to one right beside the D. Lluis bridge, beautiful with a great view but on the 3rd floor, stayed for 3 days and then, moved to Porto Beach Apartment, right on the beach and the owner was really nice. We will go back there again anytime.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      I was interested in the reference to your Porto stay. We ended up partway between coast and city.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      You are right Eurofile. Travel is an adventure and we never know what happens the moment we leave our door.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      I really enjoyed reading this article and it rang true with me on several points. Oh, the joys of traveling!

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      That gives me an idea. I have never brought a sleeping bag but it is a great idea. The hostels have really gone 5 stars nowadays. We recently picked up a granddaughter in one of those and we were surprised at how much they have changed.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Funny Mary but I do not stay someplace unless I find someone to suggest it. It has always worked out. Some funky ones that were actually cool. The corp I worked for was all 4&5 fives star stuff as we had to look good. Boring. Hostels traveling around for 3 mnths were the best, because at the hostel you were at you could get the low down for the next stop.

      On my own I always have a sleeping bag just in case the place is too raunchy.

      I love your travel stuff, you do it so well. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Nell. Some places like Bournemouth could be really busy in the peak season.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 months ago from England

      I have been in some appalling places! last minute one was down by the coast in Bournemouth England, we couldn't find accomdation so took what we could. two rooms so tiny I could touch the ceiling!

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Gregory. I am sure, you'll make the most amazing choice.

    • Gregory DeVictor profile image

      Gregory DeVictor 

      8 months ago from Squirrel Hill, PA

      Mary, thank you for a great article. Well, the topic is about something that I have never focused on. However, I will be thinking of what you said later on this year when I take the big plunge.

    • Gregory DeVictor profile image

      Gregory DeVictor 

      8 months ago from Squirrel Hill, PA

      I will be thinking more about your article later on this year. Thanks for writing it.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Oh my. I haven't had that experience yet. Thank you Flourish.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      8 months ago from USA

      We were given a room that belonged to someone else. We used our key and walked in on someone else. Whoopsie! At least they were dressed.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      You're right. Learn from the experience. There is a great advantage to staying not more than two nights.

    • CYong74 profile image

      Kuan Leong Yong 

      8 months ago from Singapore

      In such situations, I'm almost always saved by my own flaws. I always cramp too many things into my trips so I hardly ever stay more than two nights at the same hotel. To answer your qn, I'd just bite the bullet, return as late as possible, and forget about it.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Heidi. It is good when you can chuckle about it. Attitude really matters. Otherwise, why travel.

    • aesta1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Norton 

      8 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Bill. I am sure you will make of it a great experience.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      8 months ago from Chicago Area

      When I was traveling earlier this year, I booked a hotel that was near to where my friend and I were going to be sightseeing. It was clean and comfortable. What I didn't realize is that there were freight train tracks nearby and that freighters were going through all night. Plus, the rooms were quite noisy. We had a good chuckle about it and enjoyed our time there anyway. Thanks for sharing your travel tips!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That would be disappointing for sure...great tips here, Mary! I'm not sure how I would handle that kind of disappointment/news...probably take it in stride.

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