>Peaks And Valleys

>Remember I said I wanted to rip apart a hotel? Let’s get rippin’!

This weekend, my cousin got married. So, I came up to be there. The reception was going to be held at this place called the Calabogie Peaks Resort. So, being the sweethearts that mom and dad are, they booked a big suite at the place for themselves, my sister, her boyfriend, and me to stay in so we wouldn’t have to drive back late. We’d seen the spot lots of times when we used to ski there, we knew it was pretty nice. I get the sense, although mom and dad never said as much, that it cost a pretty penny to stay there. We thought this would be a nice touch to a nice wedding. Oh boy, were we wrong.

Lets’ start at the beginning, although I didn’t witness this part myself. Dad called to book a room and got transferred to the woman in charge of sales. So, when thinking sales, I picture someone who is chipper, wants to answer all of your questions, and is willing to do whatever makes you decide that yes, in fact, you do want to spend a big hunk of cash to stay at her hotel. Apparently this woman was less than friendly. When asked how big the room was, she said “It’s big enough.” When dad pressed, asking things like square footage, she just said, “Oh, it’ll be big enough for you.” He then asked if they could have a cot in the room, since there would be five of us there, and one of us needed a cot. Her response? “no. Bring your own cot.” Then, she didn’t even take dad’s visa number to make sure it was reserved. He called back, and a nice girl answered the phone. He explained that he wasn’t happy about the response to the cot question and was upset that he couldn’t reserve the room with his visa. She profusely apologized for the other woman’s rudeness, saying, “why does she always do that?” I have a better question. why is the grouchy one in charge of sales if she profoundly sucks?

The nice girl made sure there was a cot there and took his visa number. That was one of the few cool things the place did.

The day of the wedding, dad decided to call to make sure there would be a hair-dryer in the room and an iron. they assured us that all the amenities would be present. Cool, we thought, as we got ready.

Then, we arrived, all ready to start partying. When dad arrived at the desk to check in, he was given our room key, and quietly told that, “Oh, by the way, the power will be off tomorrow morning in your building from 6:30 until noon. You will have cold water, but to get any hot water, you’ll have to go to the main building of this resort, where there are showers near the pool. That building has a generator.” Dad asked why there would be a power outage. “Oh, it’s something Ontario Hydro is doing. It’s been scheduled.” Hmmm. So, first, if it was scheduled, why weren’t we warned, either when we booked the room, or when we asked about amennities? What good is a hair-dryer or an iron to us if we have no hydro? Second, if it was scheduled, and people had reserved this place for a wedding, why wouldn’t the hotel have gotten generators for all its buildings? Most folks don’t like taking showers in cold water. Finally, barring all of the above, how come we weren’t given a discounted rate? We weren’t cut any discount. Somehow, I think power is an important feature of a hotel, don’t you?

Our suite was like a chalet, and you could only get to it from the outside, after climbing this large flight of wooden steps. I remember thinking, “These would be hell in the winter.” Mom said they must salt them well, but considering the lack of service so far, I have my doubts.

I guess the place was so full that they gave us the CEO’s suite, and it was a pretty sweet suite, ha ha ha. It was a beautiful room, with a big sitting area, complete with pull-out couch that became a bed. The bathroom was massive, with a pair of sinks, a shower, and a jacuzzi tub. It was hard to look at that jacuzzi knowing we wouldn’t get to use it. Of course it had a toilet. I figured I’d better put that in, since hot water and power were optional according to these folks. We had a full kitchen, complete with, um, leftover food that the CEO had left. Other things of his were laying around the sitting area, such as board games, magazines, most of which were pretty ordinary, and DVD’s. The magazines and the DVd’s had some interesting choices. I guess my parents and sister are pretty sheltered, because they saw the heavily dogeared copy of the Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated and were appalled. I was appalled right along with them when we saw a DVD with a bunch of, um, questionable titles on it. The only one I can remember was “operation booze orgy.” What? This CEO must be pretty horny.

Update: I figured out it was some kind of rock band called Scobo (Scorpion Chainsaw Operation Booze Orgy” but there were other weird things in there.

Out back, we had a deck, but we couldn’t get to it, because the screen door was full of flies. If we opened it, we would have a room-full of flies. Nice cleaning job, guys.

I think that was about it for the room. It did have a cot in it, so I guess the second girl did her job.

the reception was nice, they seemed to have done a good job of that. Then the fun started the next morning. The power went off, and we didn’t even have cold water! We had no water! We couldn’t flush our toilet! We phoned the desk, whose staff promptly snipped at us that “There would be generators hooked up soon that would allow you to have cold water.” Well excuse me, but when things are already bad, and they get worse, we’re not usually all sunshine and Lollypops about it.

Then, we asked them what time checkout was, and they couldn’t decide. They said first that it was 11:00 and then 10:00. So, to be safe, we had all our stuff out before 10:00. Others were told it was 11:00, but to take their time, because with no power, cleaning folk couldn’t come in. Well, someone wasn’t listening to that conversation, because at 11:00, they promptly deactivated all the key cards. Yeah, that’s a hospitable thing to do.

They have quite an attitude about themselves. When dad was reserving the room and found out the hotel was nearly full to capacity, he asked where else they could stay near by if it filled up too fast. they mentioned some far away hotel, when there’s another one in the small town. This also amazes me. If they feel they can treat their guests like this because they have no competition, how bad is the other hotel in the same town?

Even their website reflects their shitty service. Take a look at their toll-free number listed on every page. Notice anything wrong? No? Try and dial it! You never connect? That would be because the last digit is missing. Luckily, when they wrote out their contact page, they managed to get the digit in there. but that line about calling them for information is on every blasted page of the site. Nice job, nice job.

How the hell is a hotel like this surviving? If the hotel was cheap and you could see that you got what you paid for, that’s one thing. but this is an expensive ski resort! How is this possible? Do they have such intense customer loyalty that people return no matter what? They really think they’re something special, so much so that they can treat a whole bunch of people who paid good money to stay there like crap. Let’s see what ye old word of mouth can do to their attitude. I’m doing my best to spread the word about their inadequate service so that maybe, just maybe, people will think twice about going there to stay. It’s sad, because apparently the place is beautiful. If the staff could only treat the customers like they should be treated, the place would sell itself.

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