Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Contrasts in Hotels

We started off in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino Resort. We ended up there because it was one of Expedia's "unpublished deals" through Hotwire.  We've never had any trouble booking hotels through Expedia, but this time when we arrived they had no record of our reservation. We showed them the confirmation from Expedia but that didn't help. We called Expedia and got an extremely unhelpful person. First he tried to tell me it was the wrong date. I've always had a recurring fear of booking stuff on the wrong day so I had a moment of panic but no, I had the right date. Presumably the call center is on the other side of the date line. I got nowhere with the Expedia guy so I handed the phone to the Palms clerk. She didn't have much more success. She wanted him to fax the booking to her. He said he couldn't fax but he could email. But the Palms didn't seem to be set up for staff to receive email.

We didn't resolve anything, but the reception person gave us a room anyway, and even upgraded us to compensate for our trouble. Our room in the "Fantasy" tower was very nice, with a great view over the city (see photos). But typically, the more expensive the hotel, the more they try to add on extra charges - like $15 per day for wifi (which we didn't pay). The other downside was having to go through the noisy, smoky casino to get in or out of the hotel.

We went from the Palms to a much more mundane La Quinta. It was the weekend, with less deals available and we paid almost exactly the same price. The hotel and the room were nowhere near as fancy, but wifi and breakfast were included, and it was about 10km less driving through traffic to get to Red Rocks. (The weather was good enough to camp, but the campground close to Red Rocks is an unappetizing dust bowl.)

And now we're at the historic Palace Hotel in Silver City, New Mexico. The hotel is over 100 years old - a long way from either the Palms or La Quinta! If you want a spotless modern  hotel, don't come here. But if you want a small, local, quiet place with character, it's great.

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