Gerald Besses did not have a good stay at the Days Inn in Point Richmond, Calif. To put it mildly.

His visit featured a confrontation with a “crazy” employee, a substandard room and a run-in with police topped off by an early and involuntary departure. His online travel agency, Hotwire, agreed to refund his room, but Besses wants more. He believes Hotwire should blacklist the property.

If nothing else, his account reinforces what readers of this blog already know: Some trips just can’t be saved. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Here’s what happened to Besses: He’d prepaid for the stay through Hotwire, requesting a non-smoking room with a King-size bed.

When I got to the hotel I asked for a quiet room. The desk clerk, who I was later told is the general manager, but who did not give her name, was extremely rude, asserting that this mostly empty motel had no rooms on the central court, only those facing the road, but, she asserted, 71 percent of people found the rooms satisfactory and even my wife didnt make me happy 100 percent of the time.

At this point, most people would have walked away. But Days Inn already had Besses’ money.

Then he saw his room.

I found the room had a cigarette odor and stains on the walls. The clock was not plugged in. When I plugged the clock into the wall socket, there was no current, which I confirmed by plugging a lamp that worked into the same socket.

So I moved the bed to use the socket behind the bed. I found three broken sockets with exposed wires, one cigarette butt, one TV remote and one used candy wrapper plus a baseboard that was pulling away from the wall.

Not wanting to spend a night with my head just inches from exposed electric wires, I called the front desk. I was told that a handyman would come by, but she didnt know when, as that person was sleeping. The time was 8:30 p.m. I requested a room change.

You can guess what happens next, can’t you? That set the already belligerent person at the front desk off, he says. He tried to photograph her. She cursed at him. The police were called. He was kicked out of the hotel.

I called Hotwire, and after I explained the situation, the Hotwire person, while I waited on hold, called the hotel to confirm that I was being told to leave. She came back on to assure me that Hotwire would refund my money and offered to make another reservation for me somewhere else.

This hotel in Point Richmond is clearly an aberration – dirty, in dangerously poor repair with incredibly rude and impolite desk help.

Hotwire promptly refunded his room rate and offered him a $25 credit. Besses also wrote to Days Inn corporate. Its reply was nothing short of Kafkaesque.

Thank you for taking the time to bring your concern to our attention and allowing us the opportunity to address your needs. We are sincerely sorry to hear we did not provide you with an excellent Days Inn experience. You can count on our team to help resolve your concerns.

To assist you in reaching a resolution, I’ve informed the Days Inn Richmond, CA general manager of the situation. The general manager will contact you by 6-4-10. As a company, we’re committed to delivering a great experience every time you stay with us, and I sincerely apologize this did not happen in this case.

Wait, Days Inn just passed the complaint back to the manager who kicked him out? That’s unbelievable.

His next step was to ask Hotwire about the property. Its response was a form letter, too:

To support our Hotel Star Ratings Promise, we constantly review our hotel partners’ star ratings to ensure we provide the most accurate and up-to-date information.

We stand behind our star ratings and promise that no matter what star rating you book, you can expect a clean and comfortable room when you check in to a hotel booked with Hotwire.

Come on.

I decided to check with Hotwire. I would be concerned if it continued to sell a seriously deficient product. Why not address Besses’ complaints?

And it did.

Mr. Besses is correct, this hotel was not up the level we would expect from our partners. As he mentioned, we initially provided both a full refund and a $25 credit with our site as compensation for his experience.

I can also understand why he wants assurances that this kind of experience would not be repeated. Fortunately, I may be in a position to better answer that part of his question.

As you know, star ratings can vary depending on the source of the evaluation. This happens because there is no truly standardized system. That’s why Hotwire has a process in place whereby we benchmark our ratings against those of other large travel sites on a regular basis. We also gather customer feedback with post-stay surveys to gauge if that benchmark is appropriate or not. In rare cases, this can result in a downgrade for a property, or in the most extreme cases, a de-listing of a property from our site.

In this instance, the property has recently received several negative post-stay ratings. Mr. Besses’ reports to us confirm this. As such, we’ve decided to de-list this property.

Dropping this property was a serious, but appropriate step. Maybe the staff at the Days Inn was having a bad day when this guest checked in, but until it starts having a few good days, Hotwire is probably smart to keep its distance.

(Photo: multi santi/Flickr Creative Commons)

Here’s what happened to Besses: He’d prepaid for the stay through Hotwire, requesting a non-smoking room with a King-size bed.

When I got to the hotel I asked for a quiet room. The desk clerk, who I was later told is the general manager, but who did not give her name, was extremely rude, asserting that this mostly empty motel had no rooms on the central court, only those facing the road, but, she asserted, 71 percent of people found the rooms satisfactory and even my wife didnt make me happy 100 percent of the time.

At this point, most people would have walked away. But Days Inn already had Besses’ money.

Then he saw his room.

I found the room had a cigarette odor and stains on the walls. The clock was not plugged in. When I plugged the clock into the wall socket, there was no current, which I confirmed by plugging a lamp that worked into the same socket.

So I moved the bed to use the socket behind the bed. I found three broken sockets with exposed wires, one cigarette butt, one TV remote and one used candy wrapper plus a baseboard that was pulling away from the wall.

Not wanting to spend a night with my head just inches from exposed electric wires, I called the front desk. I was told that a handyman would come by, but she didnt know when, as that person was sleeping. The time was 8:30 p.m. I requested a room change.

You can guess what happens next, can’t you? That set the already belligerent person at the front desk off, he says. He tried to photograph her. She cursed at him. The police were called. He was kicked out of the hotel.

I called Hotwire, and after I explained the situation, the Hotwire person, while I waited on hold, called the hotel to confirm that I was being told to leave. She came back on to assure me that Hotwire would refund my money and offered to make another reservation for me somewhere else.

This hotel in Point Richmond is clearly an aberration – dirty, in dangerously poor repair with incredibly rude and impolite desk help.

Hotwire promptly refunded his room rate and offered him a $25 credit. Besses also wrote to Days Inn corporate. Its reply was nothing short of Kafaesque.

Thank you for taking the time to bring your concern to our attention and allowing us the opportunity to address your needs. We are sincerely sorry to hear we did not provide you with an excellent Days Inn experience. You can count on our team to help resolve your concerns.

To assist you in reaching a resolution, I’ve informed the Days Inn Richmond, CA general manager of the situation. The general manager will contact you by 6-4-10. As a company, we’re committed to delivering a great experience every time you stay with us, and I sincerely apologize this did not happen in this case.

Wait, Days Inn just passed the complaint back to the manager who kicked him out? That’s unbelievable.

His next step was to ask Hotwire about the property. Its response was a form letter, too:

To support our Hotel Star Ratings Promise, we constantly review our hotel partners’ star ratings to ensure we provide the most accurate and up-to-date information.

We stand behind our star ratings and promise that no matter what star rating you book, you can expect a clean and comfortable room when you check in to a hotel booked with Hotwire.

Come on.

I decided to check with Hotwire. I would be concerned if it continued to sell a seriously deficient product. Why not address Besses’ complaints?

And it did.

Mr. Besses is correct, this hotel was not up the level we would expect from our partners. As he mentioned, we initially provided both a full refund and a $25 credit with our site as compensation for his experience.

I can also understand why he wants assurances that this kind of experience would not be repeated. Fortunately, I may be in a position to better answer that part of his question.

As you know, star ratings can vary depending on the source of the evaluation. This happens because there is no truly standardized system. That’s why Hotwire has a process in place whereby we benchmark our ratings against those of other large travel sites on a regular basis. We also gather customer feedback with post-stay surveys to gauge if that benchmark is appropriate or not. In rare cases, this can result in a downgrade for a property, or in the most extreme cases, a de-listing of a property from our site.

In this instance, the property has recently received several negative post-stay ratings. Mr. Besses’ reports to us confirm this. As such, we’ve decided to de-list this property.

Dropping this property was a serious, but appropriate step. Maybe the staff at the Days Inn was having a bad day when this guest checked in, but until it starts having a few good days, Hotwire is probably smart to keep its distance.

(Photo: multi santi/Flickr Creative Commons)