We made this reservation at booking dot com, with all money paid.

At that day, we arrived at 8pm at the property, the property owner insisted that we arrived late and refused to check us in. According to the property’s policy, the standard check-in time is 2–7pm, while check-in between 7–9pm will be subject to a surcharge. We were fully aware of this policy so when booking this accommodation we made a special request of arrival between 7–8pm (the booking was confirmed with this written clearly on the confirmation, and our money taken).

However, for some strange reason the property owner tried to "get in touch with us" only TWO DAYS before the check in time to confirm our arrival time (!?). We were not aware of this because at that time we were on our trip already and didn't have good access to emails and phone calls to our domestic number. Now, when we arrived at the property, at 8 pm, the person we got to speak to insisted we were late and refused to check us in even if we pay the surcharge stipulated in their policy (he claimed that the property owner had left but when we called the property owner's phone number, he's mobile phone rang!).

After arguing with the person with no success, we had no other choice but looking for other place to stay. It was steamingly hot and full of mosquitoes, but we had to traverse the whole town even though we were all exhausted after a day's trip. In the end, we only managed to find an empty room in a restaurant to stay, thanks for the help offered by a kind stranger.

We are now trying to get in touch with Booking dot com, hoping to at least get our money back, but Booking dot com insists they are a third-party and cannot do anything about this. They also argue that the property owner cannot get in touch with us to confirm our arrival time, so it's on us for not being there before 7pm! This sounds ridiculous to us because we had requested arrival between 7-8pm (which according to their policy will be subject to a surcharge but not denial of entry!), and the booking was finalized with this request written on the confirmation. If the owner did not accept this on that particular day, how come they didn't get in touch with us immediately, but did that only two days before the check-in time!

Now we really don't know what to do to protect our rights. Our money was taken, and we had a horrible night. We cannot even write a review of this property to reveal what happened because we were marked as "no show"!

Our reservation

  • 5
    The booking.com website says for this property: "A surcharge of EUR 10 applies for arrivals from 19:00 until 21:00. All requests for late arrival are subject to confirmation by the property." Did the property confirm your late arrival? – mdd Aug 12 '18 at 15:36
  • No. But on the basis that they had confirmed this booking, we assume the late arrival as requested on the reservation was confirmed as well. After all, they've said we can use Special Request to inform them about our arrival time and they didn't get in touch with us saying anything, whether the time is OK or not, until two days before the check-in time. – kostio Aug 12 '18 at 16:03
  • @kostio Did you pay the surcharge at the time of booking? – Traveller Aug 12 '18 at 16:09
  • No. There is no place for us to pay this online, but we were to pay it on arrival and even though we were still denied entry. This also reminds me that we have paid 10 euro as city tax (I believe the property owner should not take this even in the case of no show?) – kostio Aug 12 '18 at 16:24
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a legal wrangle, not a travel question. A legal wrangle with a hotel doesn't make it about travel. – brhans Aug 12 '18 at 20:32

It seems that there is not much that you can do. When making the reservation, you agreed to the conditions of the booking, which specify that late checkin is subject to specific approval of the hotel, which apparently did not happen as they could not get in touch with you.

What you can do is:

  • Ask the hotel directly for a refund, which they might do as a goodwill gesture.
  • If you booked a stay for more than one night, check in on the second day.
  • You can write a review on other websites, such as Google Maps or Yelp.

For future bookings, there are a couple of things you can do to avoid such a situation:

  • Book directly on the hotel website, a special request there is much more likely to be seen and approved early.
  • Make sure to specify a contact number under which you can be reached during your travels.
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    @kostio If you paid by credit card you could try contacting your card company and ask them if they can assist eg make a disputed transaction request. – Traveller Aug 12 '18 at 16:44
  • Yes. You're right. There's always a way for them to argue around on the policy. It's hard to realize there are so many holes there until it happened to you once. Thanks for your suggestions. – kostio Aug 12 '18 at 19:17
  • @Traveller, yes, we're trying that at the same time. – kostio Aug 12 '18 at 19:18

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