Home > Uncategorized > Aloft Bolingbrook Hotel Review

Aloft Bolingbrook Hotel Review

There are quite a few good things that could be said about the Aloft Bolingbrook hotel. You aren’t going to find them in this review. The hard, cold reality of business, and especially the hospitality industry, is that your service has to be excellent from beginning to end. Sometimes, even after the stay at the hotel is over. Unfortunately, after the stay the Aloft Bolingbrook has been a miserable failure.

Our stay at the Aloft Bolingbrook outside of Chicago, Illinois was booked through Priceline – prepaid. So, in theory, you would think there would be no problems with the billing. You would be wrong. Today, I go to the gas station to fill up my car with gas. After filling up my tank, my debit card was declined, so I go back to my car and get some cash to pay. Upon checking my balance I learn that Aloft Bolingbrook has pre-authorized my card for $750.00. Two nights booked through Priceline was supposed to be under $160.00. So, Aloft dinged my account for $750.00 for a stay that was only supposed to cost $160.00.

Worse still, when I called the Aloft Bolingbrook front desk multiple times I could never reach anyone at the front desk. I did speak to a sales rep twice who ultimately directed me to the operations manager’s voice mail. By the way, the operations manager never called me back either.

Priceline was a little better (barely). Calling in to their customer service is a royal pain. I had to have either a reservation number (or another number which I forget) and the telephone number associated with my Priceline account. Without the phone number – which I couldn’t recall, there was no option to speak to a customer service rep – a dead end. So, I went on their website and changed my phone number. Finally, when I did get through I ended up speaking to a friendly customer service rep. Unfortunately, his English was very, very difficult for me to understand. He promised to have the issue resolved within – get this – 5 business days. Five business days? So, although I don’t expect this to be the case, Aloft Bolingbrook might have my money tied up for 5 business days because of their mistake? That is insane.

Afterwards I spoke to my bank’s customer service. The customer service rep said that the $750.00 pre-authorization is supposed to drop off my card by 6AM tomorrow. So, it is possible that the hold will be taken off my debit card by tomorrow. Regardless, I won’t likely be booking another hotel through Priceline, nor do I plan to stay at the Aloft again. I could say good things about their hotel, but I am not going to. They failed in the end, and their lack of response is not acceptable.

Update 3-18-12

Funny thing about poor customer service, it lives virtually forever on the Internet. Tripadvisor sent me an email today detailing how many people have read my review of the Aloft Bolingbrook Hotel. Answer. So far, 449 people. No, it isn’t a million, but it is way more people than would have heard about my awful experience at the Aloft Bolingbrook had I merely told friends, family and a few unfortunate random strangers.

In the end, I did get the $750.00 back in my account that Aloft Bolingbrook charged me. It was all pretty ridiculous. I pre-paid for the trip online through Priceline. That should have been the end of the story. Instead, my debit card (yes, I know, charging the stay to my debit card was a dumb, dumb thing to do) was pre-authorized an extra $750.00 – which locked the account nicely.

Trying to get an answer out of Priceline is almost impossible as their customer service (I suppose with some reason) passes the buck to the hotel. Unfortunately, Aloft Bolingbrook did not promptly return my phone calls which mad a bad situation even worse.

To be fair, management from the Aloft Bolingbrook did finally call me. By the time they did – the next day if memory serves – the situation was already resolved. What frustrates me about the whole experience is how nobody ever bothered trying to get to the bottom of the situation. To me, the manager should have investigated to find out why such a large amount was temporarily charged to my card. It doesn’t make any sense. My whole stay was pre-paid. Instead, the management of the Aloft Bolingbrook called and left me inane messages about how they couldn’t see where my card had been charged. Well, of course, by the time they bothered calling me back, the charge had dropped off my card.

Had something major happened on my return trip home – an accident, automobile breakdown, etc. I would have been without any cash. Again, I should have planned a little better. I don’t have a credit card any more. For the next hotel stay and trip I will likely buy a pre-paid debit card to prevent any potential SNAFUs.

Bottom line: With the Internet, bad customer reviews live “forever”. If you don’t want an annoyed and angry  customer like me to give your business a poor review and then spread it as far and wide as possible, try answering my phone call promptly, and then let me know what caused the problem and how you intend to prevent the same thing from happening to someone else in the future. It isn’t difficult. It’s basic good customer service. Not doing it has a price which will be continue to be paid as long as the bad review lives on the Internet.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Andrew Tabar
    December 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Why do you use a debit card for such transactions? My debit card is used for 3 very specific things. Get a credit card and use it for this sort of thing.

  2. Terry Kinder
    December 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Yes, using the debit card isn’t optimal. I don’t have any credit cards. Next time I will likely use a “refillable” card or something not tied to bank account. Have never had anything of this magnitude happen using card before. Like my wife said, “Live and learn”.

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