On the day we arrived at the Sofia Pension there was a message from Booking.com to get in touch. I did so immediately and was told that there was a problem with our next hotel, the Ixian Grand in Ixia, which we had chosen for our last two nights, because due to a mix up they were double booked and they couldn’t therefore fulfill our booking. We were disappointed about that because we had been looking forward to stopping in a four star luxury spa hotel but now it was cancelled and there was nothing we could do about it.
Actually I never believed it for one minute because we had booked the room nearly three months ago and I suspect that what really happened was that they had received a better offer or had had to find accommodation for one of the holiday package companies and although it was nice of them to offer me an alternative, once I had established that there would be no cancellation charge, I turned it down out of principle and immediately called the Caravel where we had stayed for the first two nights and arranged accommodation there for only €50 a night.
I was surprised however when I checked my emails in a bar a couple of days later that there was correspondence that suggested I had been charged by the Ixian Grand a €135 on night’s cancellation fee and there was an explanation that this was my fault because I had not accepted their alternative. Naturally I was fuming but could do nothing about it until I could visit the Ixian Grand in person a couple of days later.
So I resolved that this would be my very first job when we returned to Ixia in a couple of day’s time. On the last morning we had a final breakfast and said our farewells and then we walked to the bus stop. The sensible thing to do was to call a taxi but I argued that this would be a waste of money so we took the cheap option instead. Kim complained most of the way because it was uphill, the cobbled pavements made it difficult to drag her suitcase and it really was quite hot. By the time we reached the bus stop I was feeling quite guilty but the bus arrived quickly and soon we were booking back into the Caravel and being allocated room 101 again and while we waited for it to be ready we had a drink in the bar with the 15% discount for guests.
While Kim rested I went looking for the Ixian Grand fully prepared to trash the place if I had to! It wasn’t far away and to be fair it was very busy. At the reception I introduced myself and demanded an explanation and whilst they stuck to their double booking lies they did agree that I shouldn’t pay a cancellation fee and they assured me that they wouldn’t so there was no need for any rough stuff after all. (When I returned home, just to be doubly sure, I emailed them and once again, to be fair, they quickly confirmed that there would be no charge).
Before I left I had a little look around the place and to be honest I was rather glad our booking had been cancelled. The pool area was busy, the lobby bar was expensive and the restaurant was corporate and pretentious and I was pleased that we were at the Caravel instead.
So, thumbs-down to the Ixian Grand but a big thumbs-up for Booking.com. I was really impressed that after I hadn’t responded to an email notification that they took the trouble to track me down at the Sofia Pension and make sure that the matter was resolved. I think good customer service generally deserves a mention and my favourite hotel booking web site certainly didn’t let me down on this occasion!