In All My Years of Travel, a New Hotel Mistake for the First Time

I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables several times this year, and I’ve written about it a couple of times here and here.

It’s a good solid hotel for what it is, I find it convenient to the Miami airport (it’s not an airport hotel) and friendly staff. They take care of Gold Passport Diamond members well, with good upgrades (the two reviews above involved complimentary upgrades to junior suites) and good breakfast beenfits (they let you take your breakfast benefit via room service if you wish).

So imagine my surprise when I showed up there recently with no reservation.

I’ve made some booking mistakes in the past. Four and a half years ago I showed up at the Novotel Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok with a reservation for the wrong month. And I’ve turned up at airports having forgotten to make a rental car reservation. But I’ve never gone to the wrong hotel before.

I think I must have decided that I wanted to try a different hotel, I made a booking somehow for the Hyatt Regency Miami. Only since I’ve been staying at Coral Gables, I drove to Coral Gables out of habit. I didn’t check my hotel reservation, the way I recommend doing for airline reservations.

When I approached the front desk they had no reservation for me. They couldn’t find it by name. I was incredulous, I gave them the confirmation number, nothing. Looking at the reservation I was finally humbled. Hyatt Regency Miami.

Fortunately the front desk couldn’t have been more helpful. The hotel did have rooms. They asked if I wanted to stay with them or at the other property. I was there, it was the most convenient for me, I wanted to stay there. They assured me they would straighten things out with the other hotel, getting them to cancel the booking even though ti was past the cancellation deadline, so I could stay without penalty.

Great move, even as I was a bit embarassed. Since I had no advance reservation though they couldn’t pre-block me into an upgraded room, but I was perfectly happy with the one I was assigned to under the circumstances.

It was on the same floor as the pool and had a patio rather than a balcony.

Travel long enough and you’ll make every mistake, I suppose. Or at least I will.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Hyatt Regency Coral Gables is my all-over favorite Miami hotel. I live in Sarasota and occasionally need to head into Miami, and that is my hotel of choice. Granted, it’s not a resort, nor is it on the ocean, but the central location is fabulous, it’s just one street and a 3-minute walk from the Miracle Mile, with all the upscale clubs, restaurants, and bookstores. The area is safe and very quiet, especially after work hours and on weekends. Most important, the service is consistently good.

  2. It happens. What’s even worse is when you stay at a bunch of “big box” hotels that all look the same (Hampton, HIX, etc.). It’s really easy to forget what city or reservation you made not to mention not knowing where you are when you wake up in the morning. I can’t believe I seem to remember my hotel room number every night 🙂

  3. @DaninSTL – I always take the key folder with the room number written on it in addition to taking the key.. or I take a photo of the room number with my phone. Back in the day I might have put phone books up on he night stand underneath the alarm clock, spine facing me, so I would know what city I was in.

  4. The worst is when you do that to your husband! I swear you have a reservation….er, somewhere else. Oops, sorry! 😉

  5. I definitely have done what you did before, particularly in an area where there are multiple number of Marriott brands, and multiple properties with the same brand.

  6. do you use a webservice that tracks your reservations? I usually try to put my info in my google calendar. I don’t travel as often as many, but it still works.

  7. Reminds me of the time I was headed to the Canary Islands. We landed, I saw “Gran Canaria” and figured I had arrived. Took me an hour to realize I was supposed to get off on the next stop in Tenerife!

  8. Got a free breakfast at the Prague Marriott once because I accidentally wrote down the room number of my Frankfurt hotel from the night before.

    I have directed a cab to take me to the wrong hotel once in NYC, although I realized it right before i got there. Fortunately, the correct hotel was only a couple blocks away.

  9. I did that in New Orleans with the two Hyatt’s there. I called to switch to the French Quarter right before I boarded my flight there, and I didn’t have a chance to check my reservation. I arrive at the French Quarter and open up my email to find a booking for the Superdome! They switched it just fine without penalty, and even transferred my suite upgrade.

  10. @Gary I think those of us that travel a lot for work have made the same mistakes, it happens but having elite status really helps in this case…

  11. Once showed up at my usual hotel in Westchester County and was surprised that the front desk couldn’t find my reservation. It turns out I never actually made one. Of course, this was a few days after the major Halloween blizzard a couple of years back, so the place was completely sold out with locals escaping downed power lines at home. I ended up having to stay in northern New Jersey.

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