No One Had Ever Heard of My Hotel — Reader Mistake Story

Jun 3, 2019

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Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Tania, who got an unwelcome surprise upon arrival in Hawaii:

I’m a fan of using apps to book any and everything, especially hotel reservations. In May of 2015, I used Marriott’s iPhone app to find a hotel for the trip my boyfriend and I were taking to Maui. The app showcased a few properties and I picked one that best fit our travel needs. The next month we set off, and after landing and claiming our checked luggage, we excitedly went to the taxi stand and asked the driver to take us to our hotel. There was just one problem: the driver never heard of it!

He asked other drivers nearby, and they too had never heard of the hotel. Totally confused as to why an airport full of taxi drivers were unfamiliar with a Marriott hotel on an island, I proceeded to call the hotel directly. It turns out the hotel wasn’t on Maui at all; my reservation was for a hotel on another island, but the Marriott app showed it in the wrong location as if it were an option! Horror set in, as all the Marriotts in Maui were sold out.

Fortunately, the Wailea Beach Resort spared a room even though they were sold out, and they saved the day. I spoke to several representatives from Marriott, who committed to fixing the proximity issues on the app so it wouldn’t happen again to another traveler. Since that experience, I have never used a hotel’s app to make a hotel reservation — it’s the trusty old desktop version for me.

Hotel apps are handy for browsing nearby properties and monitoring your accounts, and can help with tasks like checking in, selecting your room or even unlocking your door, but I don’t think they’re ideal for deciding where to stay. You can tell a lot about a hotel from pictures, but apps tend to be light on details about the surrounding area — they might not mention that a hotel sits on a busy street or is far from public transportation, for example. Before you book, I recommend you check out the neighborhood on Google Maps and read a few reviews to paint a more complete picture of where you might be staying.

Reading up on your hotel can also help you avoid experiences like Tania’s. I haven’t encountered similar complaints about the Marriott app, but I’ve heard other stories of guests arriving to discover their hotel isn’t where they thought it was, is undergoing massive renovations, has changed ownership (so elite benefits won’t be honored), or has closed its doors entirely. Even if the hotel is operating as expected, a little research can spare you from your own mistakes (like mixing up one hotel with another or forgetting to check local events). I don’t think you need to swear off hotel apps; just make sure to do your homework before you book.

Related: Which Hotel Programs Offer Guaranteed Availability Benefits?

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Tania a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Featured photo courtesy of Wailea Beach Resort.

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