Our family took our first trip to Hawaii this past February. It was an absolutely amazing vacation. We cannot wait to go back. I talked about the basics of the trip in a previous post. I’ll cover the details of the trip in a series of posts.
Our trip started in Oahu. We got in late Saturday night and we left on a Monday morning flight to Maui. We stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki. Our stay at the Sheraton was great. However, there were some issues leading up to the trip. I booked our stay at the Sheraton Waikiki using Priceline Name Your Own Price in May (9 months ahead of our trip). I called a few weeks before the trip to make sure they had the reservation. Two days before our trip, I received an email from Priceline stating that the hotel was overbooked. It said they were going to move us to the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. They would give us an ocean view room, free breakfast for 2 one day, and access to the Sheraton Waikiki pools. Priceline also gave me a $50 coupon to be used on a future booking. None of that was acceptable to me. While the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani is nice, it is not the same quality as the Sheraton Waikiki (which is located right on Waikiki Beach). I was less than happy to put it mildly.
I called Priceline’s customer service line to complain and tell them that this was not acceptable. They just kept saying that I could either cancel my reservation for a refund or accept what was offered to me. Canceling wasn’t an option since we were traveling sure winter break and almost no other rooms were available at any hotel in Waikiki. I spent 45 minutes saying that those options weren’t acceptable only to have the representative say that’s all they could do (and they said it was the hotel’s fault). So I decided to try Starwood’s customer service. They told me that they sell blocks of rooms to Priceline so this issue was Priceline’s fault.
I was about to give up when I decided to try calling the hotel directly. I told them about the email that I received. The hotel representative said she wasn’t aware that they were re-booking people at the Princess Kaiulani. She asked if she could look into it and call me back. I said yes, not thinking that they would actually call me back. But they did. They told me that there was a glitch in the system that allowed them to overbook the hotel. So they contacted Priceline so they could let people know about the situation before they arrived. She told me again about what they were offering. I told her that wasn’t what I wanted and I didn’t think it was fair that I should be moved considering I booked this room 9 months in advance and they obviously weren’t overbooked then. She said that luckily they had some cancellations that day and they would still be able to accommodate me.
I talked to my sister who used to work at a hotel about what happened. She said that this happens a lot with hotels; she said that hotels overbook rooms just like airlines overbook flights. And the hotels will try to move the people who paid the least for their rooms to a sister hotel. So the moral of that story is to call the hotel directly if it happens to you. Make sure you resolve it before the trip if you can or before accepting the room if it happens when you arrive.
With all that unpleasantness before arriving at the hotel, we were skeptical that we would have a good time when we actually got there. But we were so happy that we were wrong. The hotel was amazing. It was literally right on Waikiki Beach. You walked down some stairs from the hotel to the beach. The hotel had an infinity pool for adults. And they had a pool that had a water slide for the kids. I think our kids would have been happy to spend the entire day at the pool. Heck, I even loved the water slide. I would definitely recommend this hotel to friends. The location was amazing and the staff was great.