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A couple's weekend away in Skegness turned into a nightmare when they arrived at their hotel to find it was 'derelict'.
Natalie Turner, 43, had booked the trip to the Lincolnshire seaside resort for her partner, Lee North's, 45th birthday.
The couple from Leicester thought they would be staying in a Premier Inn, but the £153-a-night independent Premier Hotel just had similar branding to the popular chain, LincolnshireLive reports.
They said it was 'like a building site' when they arrived there on Friday 4 June.
When they contacted Booking.com, who Natalie had used to book the hotel, they told the couple to go to a hostel outside the town – but they refused.
And the only other option Booking.com offered them was going to cost an extra £170.
Natalie said: “I’ve always booked with Booking.com and I’d booked Premier Inns before.
“I searched ‘Premier’ and one came up with a similar purple logo, so I assumed that was the Premier Inn and I booked it thinking that was it.
“When we went to check in at the Premier Inn and I told them that we’d booked through Booking.com they knew exactly what happened.”
They were directed to the hotel they had booked, the Premier Hotel, but they got the shock of their lives when they arrived there.
“When we got there the building was derelict. It was like a building site. Plus, we’d had a drink whilst we were waiting to check in, so we couldn’t even drive home.
“We rang Booking.com and they offered to relocate us to a hostel, but I said we’re not stopping there.
“They gave us another option, but they wanted to charge us a further £170 to stay there.
“It’s shocking. Loads of people in Skegness are talking about this company conning people, but I’d never expect Booking.com would be in on it.”
The couple had to borrow some money to pay for a bed and breakfast in the town.
The owner of the Premier Hotel, Dr JR Kodali, defended himself and his businesses, laying the blame at the feet of Booking.com.
He said: “When people book at Booking.com, the money doesn’t go to me. It goes to Booking.com.
“I told Booking.com that we are closed from 17 May until 10 June, but they didn’t update their website.
“Instead people are getting cancellation emails on the day or day before their booking.”
Dr Kodali has apologised to those who have booked to stay in his hotel and haven’t been able to stay there.
“I’m sorry. These people have booked at my hotel hoping to have a good holiday in Skegness, but unfortunately I have let them down.”
Booking.com has now paid a full refund to Natalie.
Booking.com issued a statement saying: "Our primary aim at Booking.com is to enable smooth and enjoyable travel experiences for our customers.
"In the rare instance that a property cannot accommodate a booking, our customer service team is available 24/7 to help support in finding a suitable alternative as quickly as possible.
"In this instance, as this is not the experience we want for any of our customers, we have apologised and provided a full refund for this booking, as well as covering the cost of the alternative accommodation.
"We are also working with the property to help them understand how best to keep the availability information they list on our site correct and up to date."
- In the News
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