Q: My son, Luke, recently stayed at the Gite Maamm Bolduc – a bed-and-breakfast in Montreal – and was locked out of the building when he returned late at night. There was a digital lock, but he was not given a code for it.
After calling the bed-and-breakfast with no answer, I obtained another room for him at a hotel, albeit much more expensive (it was 3 a.m. when I started calling Montreal). My son spoke with someone at the bed-and-breakfast the next morning and was given a contact email; it hasn’t responded after two attempts.
I’d like a refund for the more expensive hotel. The room was booked with Hotels.com. I suppose the company could refund the price of the Gite Maamm Bolduc ($79), though we spent $300 extra on the replacement hotel (Delta Marriott), as it was the only one to pick up the phone at that hour. Can you help? – Paul Nahass, Glastonbury, Connecticut
A: Bed-and-breakfasts (B&B’s) offer a more-inclusive product, with hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon and a hot breakfast in the morning. But one thing they don’t have to advertise – because guests expect it – is a way to get into the property. But B&B’s can be a little tricky, because they’re often large homes in residential neighborhoods. There’s no front desk on call 24 hours. If you don’t make arrangements to access the property after hours, you could be out of luck.
You’re a good father to try to fix this for your son. You helped him at 3 a.m. by finding a hotel and becoming his advocate. I know many parents who would use this as a teachable moment for their adult kids, telling them to fend for themselves.
You reached out to both Gite Maamm Bolduc and Hotels.com. By the way, you can find executive contact information for Hotels.com’s parent company Expedia on my consumer advocacy website: http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia/. Contact information for Gite Maamm Bolduc is on its website: http://gitemaammbolduc.com/.
It appears that repeated efforts to contact both Hotels.com and the B&B amounted to nothing. That’s really unfortunate; both those businesses should have been sympathetic to a young man shut out of the inn.
I think he could have resolved this problem while he was in Montreal instead of waiting until his trip ended. An in-person visit to the B&B might have resulted in a positive, and timelier, resolution. Even though you were good enough to come to your son’s rescue, I think he might have been more successful if he’d first tried to fix this himself.
I contacted Hotels.com on your behalf and it refunded your son’s $79 room rate. My efforts to reach the B&B, like yours, were met with silence.
Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the author of “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler.” You can read more travel tips on his blog, elliott.org, or email him at email@example.com.