When my partner and I went to the USA last year, we arrived at the airport very stressed, as we had been sitting in a traffic jam on the notorious M25, and only just made it to check in. I am nervous about flying at the best of times, and this added trauma did not leave me in a good frame of mind.
In November we flew from Gatwick to Madeira, and found out that we could book a hotel overnight, and leave our car there for the duration of our stay for no more cost than the parking would normally be. It seemed like a good idea to do this from Heathrow, as we were flying quite early on Sunday, we could stay in our hotel on Saturday night, and be near to the airport.
So I looked Online
But when I looked online, I was quite staggered at the prices of hotels near to the airport, some were as much as £200 for the night, whereas we had stayed at a really nice hotel at Gatwick for £55. The more I looked, the more I was determined I would find one that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes I feel like my computer is an alien, and I just have to conquer this alien. I need to be in control!
It was about two in the morning, my eyes were weary from looking at ” special deals,” as the web site described it. Then like an angel of mercy up popped ” the one.” It promised airport and parking for the wonderful price of £78.99, so I booked it, and paid, then closed down the computer with a sigh of relief, now I could rest my weary head.
I told Everyone about my good deal
During the two weeks leading up to my holiday, I told everyone about my marvellous deal, I felt so pleased that I had found such a bargain. On the day of departure, we planned to set off about 5pm, reach our hotel about 7pm, then have a nice meal, and an early night. Well plans rarely go as they should, and when my daughter arrived at our house, to stay and look after our dog, we chatted and drank tea, and then realised it was gone 6pm.
” Never mind, our room is booked, it’s no problem.” I said confidently as we set off.
We found the hotel, and were directed to the car park, where apparently someone would come to pick up the car. When we entered the building with it’s beautiful marble floors, and ornate wood carvings, it sported such an air of opulence, my partner commented how unbelievable it was that such a high class hotel was doing a deal at such a low price.
I handed the paperwork to the smiling receptionist, but it wasn’t long before we realised something was wrong. They did not have a reservation in our name, and were fully booked. Even if they weren’t, I doubt we could have afforded their prices. I didn’t even ask the rate, there was no point.
What were we going to do now?
The receptionist pointed out that we had booked a car space there, but it didn’t include a hotel room. She even phoned the people we booked with, and over a very crackly line, they explained it was hotel parking, which only meant the car.
It was by then after 9pm, I was very tired, and so was Keith. It suddenly occurred to us that it was Bank Holiday Saturday, and we now had to find somewhere to sleep. I think I would have felt better if he had bawled me out, but he didn’t, so we got back in the car and went to find a Premier Inn.
The manager there explained that all Premier Inns in the country were fully booked, and then directed us to a Comfort Inn. The price of this was £185 for very basic accommodation, and breakfast was extra. Then we tried a local pub, which looked a real dive, and it was now past 10 o’clock. I felt like weeping, but that wouldn’t help us. We also tried a couple of b and bs, but the same story, fully booked.
We went back to the Comfort Inn, the man there said another branch had a vacant room, it was £69, the only downside was it was a thirty minute journey. We were so grateful we took it, and did the drive, they even managed to rustle us up a meal at 11pm. The accommodation was basic, but we were both so tired, we would have slept on a plank that night.
We had to get up and have an early breakfast the next day, and then it was a rush to get to the airport to hand our car over to the man we had booked the parking with. They were very understanding, even though we were half an hour late. I don’t blame them, I blame myself for not reading the page properly, HOTEL PARKING is not the same as HOTEL AND PARKING. I won’t ever make that mistake again, and I hope my experience shared here, will stop anyone reading this from doing the same.