On my current trip to Europe, I booked rooms with two different DoubleTree properties and have already had problems with both of them. I’m a pretty relaxed guy, and I usually am not the sort of person to complain too much (after all, I have flown around the world in Seat 31B).
What makes me write about a problem publicly? A broken laptop and an exotic “dynamic currency conversion” swindle, both perpetrated by the same hotel chain (DoubleTree by Hilton), occurring over two different properties, and in both cases, complete failure to solve the problem amicably after complaining about a perfectly reasonable issue privately and giving the property multiple chances to resolve the problem.
First, the broken laptop. After waiting 3 months for Fujitsu to repair my laptop (never buy a laptop from Fujitsu, their repair service is horrible), I got it back and it was repaired. In particular, I was pleased to note that they replaced the LCD. I used the laptop for a day with no problems, hopped on a plane, traveled to Rotterdam, continued to Amsterdam, and used the laptop just outside the DoubleTree Amsterdam (again with no problems) to verify the address of the Sixt rental car return facility (whose sign outside the hotel I had missed). Nothing was wrong with my laptop when I put it into my bag and handed it off to the bell desk.
When I got to my room, I took the laptop out of my bag, put it on the desk, opened it, and never turned it on. I was instead invited by my parents (who were traveling with me and staying in another room) to dinner. I ended up being busy the rest of my stay at the DoubleTree and never even plugged in my laptop. I put it away in my bag when I went to check out, and headed for the lounge. I needed to take care of some work so powered up my laptop, and imagine my surprise to see this:
I immediately went to the front desk and showed the damage to the on-duty manager. However, she refused to take immediate responsibility or to arrange for repair of my laptop, instead saying that she would conduct an investigation. I gave the DoubleTree the benefit of the doubt, but naturally the results of the investigation are that the DoubleTree refuses to take responsibility. Apparently they believe that my laptop display broke on its own, or maybe it was damaged by space aliens. Either way, they will not be paying to repair it or assisting me any further.
I would maybe give DoubleTree the benefit of the doubt (“Please trust us…” their email said) if they didn’t completely rip me off (there is no more delicate way to put this) on another booking I made in London. The rate was advertised in pounds. However, I was billed in dollars at an unfavorable exchange rate (by the order of around 10%). This kind of “dynamic currency conversion” is a common swindle in the travel industry, but usually companies with whom you are doing business at least ask whether you want this. In my case, DoubleTree just went ahead and ripped me off with a bogus exchange rate, they didn’t give me the opportunity to opt out. I have gone back and forth with Hilton customer service a couple of times and the issue has not been resolved. Here is a snapshot of my credit card statement so you can see how this happened:
Hilton customer service blamed my bank for billing me in dollars, rather than pounds. However, my bank (Capital One) doesn’t have anything to do with the currency in which I was billed. You can see that on my statement, I bought a plane ticket from a UK-based travel agency and was properly billed in pounds, which was converted by Capital One to dollars (I use a Capital One card for foreign currency transactions because they do not charge a currency conversion fee). DoubleTree, as you can see, billed me an inflated price in dollars. It’s an outright rip-off. I never agreed to this.
If you are considering booking a stay with DoubleTree (or any Hilton property), or signing up for any Hilton credit cards, I suggest you seriously consider whether this is a good idea. I consider integrity very important in business, and to experience a breach of honesty and integrity at two separate DoubleTree properties is a pattern that seriously leads me to question my loyalty to Hilton.