For the prudent, frugal readership that you are, an awful lot of you seem to frequent Las Vegas.

Ed: ‘I had a similar experience at the Venetian. I arrived for a convention (for which I had to book and pay a full night’s room charge as a deposit months in advance) at 9pm. The front desk clerk told me that housekeeping had not completed cleaning the rooms because so many people HAD arrived that day, but he could upgrade me to a nicer room for $500 extra a night. He offered me several other ‘solutions’ which all involved me paying more money. I told him that I’d like the room for which I’d already paid and that I assumed that as they were a hotel, they should be prepared for large numbers of people checking in and out. They promised to send housekeeping up to get me a room right away. After keeping me waiting two hours, my room was finally ready at 11pm, only a mere eight hours after published check in time. When I checked out, I ask for a late check out. The front desk offered that they could accommodate me – for an extra half-day room charge. It took me three moves up the ladder in front desk management seniority telling the story of my check-in before they agreed to offer me a late check-out. After the conference, I was planning to stay on for a little vacation. I booked a nice room at a Candlewood Suites just a few blocks away for $99. The staff there was extremely pleasant, courteous and helpful. The room was ready when promised. I could make a cup of coffee in my room (and get extra coffee packs for a mere $1), unlike the Venetian where if I wanted coffee while I got ready for the day, I had to order a half pot from room service for $15.99. All in all, the Candlewood Suite offered a smaller room but a much more pleasant and satisfying travel experience and if I ever traveled to Las Vegas again, I would stay there before one of the Casino hotels.’

Daryle: ‘To say no to a hotel guest is a deal breaker. My wife works at the best hotel in our city. I asked her what she would do in a situation like yours. She said the Internet charge would be removed, the hour you asked for would be extended to two hours, and she would ask if you would like to have a soft check-out now. (Meaning the bill is cleared, you have access to the room until you depart.) Customer service is not so difficult: give the people what they want.

☞ It’s not as though I was asking for the moon. The TV and Internet had not worked; I asked for a one-hour-later checkout or else to remove the $39 in Internet charges from my $882 bill.

Ron: ‘The Paris is quite a bargain (I doubt you paid much if anything for your room) with great amenities (wonderful spa) and a great location on the strip. On a recent trip, I forgot my phone charger but was sent to the business center where they have every charger imaginable and they gladly charged my phone for free. If you are not satisfied with your room (or the T.V. in it), they are glad to move you to another. Sorry they didn’t comp your Internet service. Since it is for 24 hours service, I usually pay for it every other day (using it in the afternoon on the odd day and in the morning on the even day). The hotel is especially gay friendly and even has a special GLBT website.’

Emerson Schwartzkopf: ‘As someone who goes there at least once a year on business for trade shows, I’d really have to nominate all the hotels on The Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) as ‘the worst,’ for finding numerous ways to extract large fees for substandard service in all sectors. I’ve become partial to the city’s supply of Residence Inns. OK, they aren’t flashy and plush, but you generally get a decent room and high-speed internet for free. The one by the Convention Center is surprisingly quiet and includes a campus of real trees and grass. BTW, I recommend going to The Peppermill restaurant for breakfast. The restaurant is a blender-mix of hot 70s colors, paper-leaf trees, and exceedingly friendly waitresses in short-skirt floral outfits. It’s the last holdover from the old Vegas and the highlight of any of my visits.’

Peter Baum: ‘I’m a frequent visitor to Vegas. Once I was arriving a day before my brother and sister-in-law and, perverse individual that I am, actively sought the worst hotel room in Las Vegas. Not wishing to devote tremendous resources to this task, the question became: how can one find such a place based solely on signage? The two answers (naturally): (1) in-room porn; (2) hourly rates. The hotel lived down to its billing. In addition to the expected flaking paint and cigarette-burned blanket, it had the following novel feature: the TV was programmed to turn on to the porn channel no matter what channel you’d left it on when you turned it off. It was revolting/amusing – everything I’d hoped it would be.’

Steve: ‘Call your credit card company and complain, explaining the situation and that the service did not work and that you complained to the merchant at the time and they refused to adjust the bill. The credit card company will reverse the charges. At least they did for me at the MGM Grand in Vegas two years ago for me, when I had the same complaint.’

Tomorrow: Eggplant and Asperger’s


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