We just returned from another weekend jaunt down to Orlando to visit Walt Disney World. We were so pleased with our previous stay at Baymont Inn & Suites Celebration on a 3* hotel through Hotwire that I couldn’t believe it when a 3* hotel for $27 per night popped up on Hotwire the first week of April for our April 29th to May 2nd stay. The hotel ended up being the Ramada Maingate West and from the pictures on their website I was expecting another great stay in Orlando. Then I visited Trip Advisor, my first stop prior to booking a known hotel and after booking through Priceline or Hotwire. After reading some good and some not-so-good reviews about the Ramada Maingate West I was sort of dissapointed but thought that it could still be a great property. Fast forward to last Friday morning, the day of our departure, when I checked the Trip Advisor site for new reviews. Review after review I read about how horrible this hotel was; bed bugs, cockroaches, mold on the walls, rooms not being cleaned for an entire stay (3-5 nights), prostitution and drug deals going down in the parking lot. I determined that I would not allow my family to stay and sleep in such conditions; how could this poor of a hotel (62% traveller dissatisfaction rating) be rated on Hotwire at 3*’s? I immediately began putting together a Priceline bidding strategy utilizing information from Better Bidding and Bidding for Travel and soon had my strategy all laid out. I started my bidding at 3.5* properties for $40 and increased my bids incrementally by $2 up to $52 by adding other areas within the Orlando area that I wished to stay and those areas that had less than 3.5* hotels. I then started a new bid on a 3* hotel at $42 again incrementally increasing my bids by $2 with each free re-bid until a bid of $46 per night was accepted. I then called Hotwire to discuss the Ramada Maingate West that I would not be staying in. I told them about the poor reviews and conditions and they said that the hotel had been reviewed within the past week and the hotel still was an acceptable 3* hotel to them. I requested a refund and was told that “Hot Buy” hotel rooms were non-refundable, which I knew when I purchased it. However, I purchased the room in good faith that I would be receiving a hotel room of 3* quality. I then filed a complaint with American Express requesting partial refund including only the $27 per night charge and not including the Hotwire fee and taxes. I’ll provide an update in a future blog post regarding the success of my request with AMEX. I also asked my 11 year old daughter, Karlee, to review the hotel; her review can be read HERE.
|The 718 room Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration is located
on 20 acres of beautifully landscaped property.
The hotel that we got was the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration. During my initial glance at their website I was very pleased with this hotel. As this was a resort property it does charge a $12.50 per night resort fee (most hotels in the Walt Disney World and Disneyland areas charge this fee that often covers parking, internet access, use of facility amenities, etc.) which I fully expected that I would have to pay with any hotel in the area. I then read the property reviews from Trip Advisor for the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration and was happy to see that this property had a 63% traveller satisfaction rating. The pictures from the website of their pool area looked incredible and I was excited to see it for myself. We left Tallahassee around 3:30 PM and arrived at the Radisson at approximately 7:30 PM.
The check-in process went smoothly. There were approximately 4 parties ahead of me and the three employees behind the desk were efficient in assisting those guests ahead of me. I was checked in by a pleasant young lady who explained to me the resort fee, a few of the resort amenities, and signed me up for Radisson’s rewards program through Carlson. She told me that the room was a handicapped accessible room which I told her I didn’t mind as long as it had two beds which it did. Sidenote: of the dozens of rooms I have won on Priceline I have only had one hotel turn down my request for 2 beds in the room as Priceline guarantees the room to only sleep two people. She provided me coupons for two free drinks at the lobby bar which we didn’t use and a page of other coupons for restaurants and bars at the resort. She thanked me for staying and I would rate her customer service on level with the best of any person I have dealt with in a service industry.
The resort has three or four buildings of rooms and we were in the 2000 building, 5th floor (out of 8 floors), room 2502. There was plenty of parking and we were always able to find parking within 5-6 spots from the entrance to our building. We lugged all of our stuff up to the room which we found to be sufficient for our needs. The room had two double beds with headboards made out of a wicker material, a three-drawer dresser with the drawer fronts also adorned in wicker matching the headboards, a 27″ CRT television on top of the dresser and a refrigerator next to the dresser. A desk with two chairs sat in front of a large round mirror.
The bathroom was oversized with a single sink in the center of a large marble countertop. A face mirror was mounted on the wall with one side normal and the other side magnified. There were four towels in the room which were replaced daily. Also replaced daily were the shampoo, conditioner and soap; Radisson is definitely not skimpy with the needed toiletries. There were no noticeable defects with the room except the door handle was difficult to open when both entering and exiting the room.
The best part of property were the pools. Yes, pools as in 3 pools along with a hot tub. One pool, the largest, had water that was almost too cold and had a small minimally sloped water slide. The kids loved it and went down it over and over and over. There was also a waterfall that poured out over a small grotto. The second pool was a bit smaller and was very warm… actually too warm. However, this was the pool that Tracy and the kids spent the most time in as the larger pool was just too cold. The third pool was a children’s pool probably about 2′ deef and 12′ diameter. The hottub also had a waterfall and was large; it could fit probably 8-12 adults easily. There was also a bar out by the pools. There were other poolside entertainment including a large chess & checker board, mini basketball shooting game, foosball, and table tennis. Other activities throughout the day were held by the pool including free ice cream cones each afternoon.
- Inexpensive rate (through Priceline)
- Proximity to Walt Disney World
- Some of the ponds around the resort need algae treatments
- $138.00 ($46 x 3 nights)–Priceline
- $26.79 (Taxes and Fees)–Priceline
- $37.29 (Resort Fee x 3 nights)–Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration
-$4.94 (3% Fatwallet Fatcash)–Learn about Fatcash in THIS previous blog post.
4 out of 5 Mickey’s