March 2018, I was scheduled to do one of my travel lectures in Alexandria, VA. I was looking forward to it. While planning my trip, I found a great deal at a hotel in downtown Washington, DC. I visited Booking.com. On Booking.com, I came across The Capital Hilton. The Capital Hilton is located on 16th Street near McPherson Square, in the heart of downtown Washington, DC. The hotel was perfect. Well, I won’t get ahead of myself. The experience got a bit turbulent. Later, anyone will decide whether or not to stay at this location in the future.
The price for The Capital Hilton was perfect; $169.00 per night. On Booking.com, I made my choice. I booked it. Great choice, no? I was going to be staying for just one night, March 8th-checking out on the 9th. The location of The Capital Hilton couldn’t have been more convenient. It was located one block from the Farragut North Metro subway station. Farragut North is on the Metro red line. Union Station is on the red line, just minutes east of Farragut West. Even better, the Farragut West and McPherson Square Metro stations were within a two block walk from The Capital Hilton. How much better was this trip looking!
Knowing I was going to have dinner before doing my lecture, I made a dinner reservation at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse. Bobby Van’s Steakhouse is just around the corner from the McPherson Square Metro station. McPherson Square and Farragut West are both served by the Metro subway’s blue, orange, and silver lines. All I had to do was eat, go, and hop on the blue line. Right? Well, here came the snowstorm! March 7th, there was snow predicted for March 8th, the day I was supposed to be taking the train down. Given the severity of the situation, I cancelled my train reservation. My ticket was fully refunded back to me as a voucher. It could be used anytime in the future. My lecture was rescheduled to May 31st. Lastly, I logged into my Booking.com account and cancelled my reservation at The Capital Hilton. I wound up booking at another hotel across the Potomac River in Arlington. All set for May 31st! Back on track!
The week of April 9th, my credit card bill arrived in the mail. I was absolutely shocked when I saw a hotel charge that shouldn’t have been there. I saw a charge of $194.01 by The Capital Hilton. What??? I cancelled the reservation fair and square. How was that? I called Booking.com, and discussed my situation. I followed up with them two more times. All three times, Booking.com was unsuccessful dealing with The Capital Hilton. The hotel never responded to them. I then called The Capital Hilton myself, and spoke with the reservations team. They tried to get me on the phone with their accounting manager. I never received a call back. I called two more times, asking for the accounting manager. Still, I received no return phone call. It was then forced to call the credit card and dispute the charge. It was a last resort, but hey…my stay never happened. The credit card issued me a conditional credit, until The Capital Hilton responds to the dispute. Thus far, the credit card has not received an answer from The Capital Hilton. I was advised that if The Capital Hilton doesn’t respond by June 1st, the charge of $194.01 will be officially refunded back to my credit card on default. I am very confident that will be the end result.
Any one or two-night stay, business or personal, should go on without a hitch. When Mother Nature strikes, other arrangements have to be made. There’s no argument with that, of course. Yes, we may need to stay at another hotel, because the same hotel may not be available. It could be much more expensive than before. Yes, we can always take a rain check on a steakhouse dinner. Yes, we can always wait on that fun ride on the train and the Metro subway. But, who would appreciate being charged for a stay that never happened? Anyone? No one should never want to face this kind of inconvenience. The Capital Hilton flagrantly took advantage of a would-be customer. Further, they couldn’t cooperate with me or Booking.com. Worst of all, they can’t cooperate with my credit card. This hotel’s guest service deserves a failing grade. The Capital Hilton proudly belongs in the hall of shame.