My hotel closed for renovation, but nobody told me

Marie Kvistero was expecting some construction work to be taking place when she arrived at the Country Inns & Suites in Omaha, Neb. But she wasn’t expecting what she found when she arrived — the renovations had completely closed the hotel. She had to find a new hotel room at the last minute, in a crowded city with multiple occurring events.

“I was forced to incur this expense solely because Country Inns & Suites failed to honor my reservation,” Kvistero says. “Since then, every offer from Country Inns & Suites / Carlson representatives has been inadequate and representatives have repeatedly misled me.”

When Kvistero asked Country Inns & Suites to reimburse her for the cost of her replacement hotel room, its only offers of compensation were loyalty points and an inadequate cash amount.

And its agents were unhelpful.

But Kvistero’s story has a happy ending. She wrote a letter to executives at Country Inns & Suites’ parent company, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, that yielded satisfactory results.

Kvistero reserved a hotel room online for a stay in August. Before she booked the room, she spoke to a hotel representative who informed her that renovation work was scheduled to be done at the hotel while she would be staying there. However, the work was not expected to interfere with her stay.

Two weeks before Kvistero was scheduled to arrive at the Country Inns & Suites, she received an email reminder of her upcoming stay. There was no mention of the renovation work in the email, which contained wording welcoming Kvistero to the hotel.

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But when Kvistero arrived at the Country Inns & Suites, the hotel was closed and there were no Country Inns & Suites representatives at the hotel — only construction workers.

Her welcome email had contained no warning that this would be the case. Nor had Kvistero received any further communications from Country Inns & Suites or anyone at Carlson Rezidor warning her that the hotel would not be available for her stay.

Kvistero tried calling the phone number on her email confirmation of her reservation, it was answered with a recording. She was unable to speak to a person to request assistance.

And unfortunately for Kvistero, there were few hotel rooms available in Omaha at that time. Tourists had flocked into the area for a solar eclipse and a Lady Gaga concert. When Kvistero was able to book another hotel room, it cost considerably more than the room she had reserved at the Country Inns & Suites.

“Because Country Inns & Suites / Carlson would not assist me, and there were few rooms available in the Omaha area due to multiple events in town, I took the first available room I found,” says Kvistero.

Upon returning home, Kvistero emailed Country Inns & Suites to request reimbursement for the replacement hotel room. Country Inns & Suites offered Kvistero Club Carlson points. She turned down this offer, considering it inadequate compensation for her trouble and additional expense. Country Inns & Suites followed up with a cash offer that Kvistero felt was too low. And its agents repeatedly failed to follow up on promises to call Kvistero within specified amounts of time.

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Frustrated, Kvistero finally used our contact information for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group to write a letter of complaint to its executives, closing with:

This is abominable customer service. Your company accepted a reservation, confirmed that reservation when the hotel was clearly closed for construction, did not assist me when I arrived expected to check into a functioning hotel, and have continually refused to offer an acceptable resolution to your operational failure.

An Online Customer Care agent for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group replied:

Thank you for reaching out to us today!

I am truly sorry that this has been allowed to go on for this long. I want to assure you that this type of service is not how we would want our guests to experience.

I understand that you had paid a total of $211 for alternate reservations. I would like to issue you a check for this amount to cover your expenses. As for all the trouble that you have had to receive this I have taken the liberty of depositing the original offer of 28,000 points into your Club Carlson account so that you can give us another chance at a similar hotel. It is my hope that these tokens of apology will help heal the hurt that have been caused. …

Thank you again for the opportunity to assist you. I know it has been a rough road but I do hope that you’ll give us another chance to show you the quality hospitality Country Inns & Suites are known for.

Kvistero is happy with this resolution. Our advocates are pleased to share this positive, successful example of self-advocacy with our readers.

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Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    It was disclosed that she booked the room online but did she booked the room directly with Country Inns & Suites or with a third-party site? Given the account of the incident, it seems like the closing of the hotel wasn’t a last minute closing…so was a ‘closing notice’ sent out to all of the guest and 1) it went to the OP’s spam folder (in case if she booked directly) or 2) it went to the OTA and it wasn’t forward. Regardless, the ball was dropped. It was good to hear that Country Inns & Suites did the right thing.

    In regards to hotel renovations, I think that most hotels could do a better job in disclosing them.

    I think that hotels should fully disclosed that the hotel is going through a renovation (whether it is a full or partial) and what ‘features’ (i.e. swimming pool) are open and closed.

    Personal, it is very frustrating when I travel with my family and the swimming pool is closed for renovation. If we were told that the pool is closed, we will select another hotel.

  • LDVinVA

    The article states she received a welcoming email 2 weeks before her intended visit so it is clear to me this was not a case of her missing something as you suggest.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    Similar but better, we are scheduled to visit Houston and scheduled one night at the Best Western near the Hobby airport. The customer service manager called us, in advance, to warn us of a musty smell so we could choose a different hotel if we wanted until they complete repairs. I thought they provided excellent customer service (though we are staying at a different chain).

  • jsn55

    Radisson (the entity prior to Carlson/Rezidor) did this to me several years ago. I discovered that the hotel had been sold a couple of weeks before when I checked my res; the new owners declined to match my rate. I rebooked elsewhere, and Radisson told me that they “were going to let me know” … when? The day before I arrived? Really small-minded and guaranteed to cause ill-will.

    In this case, Carlson seems to have (finally) stepped up when a CS rep acknowledged the situation and apologized. Few things are as annoying as receiving boiler-plate garbage in response to a complaint. But we here at Elliott understand that you don’t need to accept garbage – you can persist. Carlson seems to have ‘gotten it’ and compensated her with a generous refund and points. I only wish that hotel chains would do this the FIRST time they are contacted and not jerk the customer around for several communications. CS reps should be trained to move an issue up so that it can be rectified. Great story, Jennifer!

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