My husband (what?!) and I recently got married, and after what felt like an Indian Wedding, jam-packed with many different events and crazy family members, we decided to sneak off to London for a week to relax and unwind. A close friend of mine, who is a Londonite herself, laughed hysterically when I told her of our plans, and was quick to explain to me that “London is not a place you go to unwind.”
O.K, point taken, but the smell of scones and tea was calling my name (as well as the prospect, of course, of bumping into Kate and Will). Tourists unite!
As this was not our official honeymoon, combined with the fact that it was a very last minute thing and prices for decent hotels were about the same as buying a house, we decided to get onto good old trusty Expedia, and book a ‘secret deal’. If you’re not seasoned bargain hunters, then a secret deal is basically a nifty little trick, where you choose the general area you’d like your hotel to be, as well as the number of stars, and then pay for the hotel without knowing the name, or anything about it. Hashtag LiveOnTheEdge. We chose a 4-star hotel in a great area – how wrong could we go?
WRONG. Very wrong. Very, very, very wrong.
As soon as we received the name of the hotel, we had a look and read about forty very worrying reviews, explaining that basically the hotel was a scam. After hours on the phone to Expedia, they explained to us that because it was a ‘secret deal’, we could not cancel, and not to worry, as they had been in touch with the ‘hotel’ and they were expecting us.
We finally arrived at the hotel in question, after a 5-hour flight and a sleepless night. We rung the bell a good fifty times – no answer. Finally, what we thought was a fellow hotel stayer arrived, and we followed him in. We asked him where the reception was, and he laughed, saying this was an apartment block, and there was no reception.
Another five very long, expensive calls to Expedia, only to be told that “because we received such a great price, there was nothing they could do.” I calmly explained that “it’s wonderful we received such a great price, but this ‘hotel’ is a scam, and we don’t have anywhere to sleep!” Another few very long and expensive calls to Expedia, speaking to, what felt like robots. We finally understood that unfortunately we were not getting anywhere, and we had wasted five hours of our much needed ‘relaxing’ vacation. We decided to cut our losses, and venture off to find a different hotel to rest our tired little heads.
Luckily, just around the corner, a cute little hotel invited us in, and to our delight, had one last available room. We put our suitcases down, and ventured into cold London for some Indian comfort food, and a glass (or four) of wine to drown our sorrows.
I’m happy to say, that it only went up from there, and we had a fantastic holiday in freezing London, filled with three theatre shows, delicious food, and unforgettable moments with wonderful friends.
Moral of the story: Definitely go and visit beautiful and vibey London, but NEVER book a secret deal with Expedia. I know that’s the last time I will be using their services. It’s one thing to make mistakes (as we all do), but what matters most, is how they’re dealt with after. #LoveLondon #HateExpedia