Clarion Inn and Suites Orlando Near Theme Parks

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Jan 15, 2019
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#1
I'm sharing my experience because I don't want anyone else to go through what I did, and the reality of the hotel vs the reviews online is so stark that I'm sure there is review rigging going on.

I booked the hotel online the day before my arrival.

I arrived at the hotel on the evening of the 21st. When I went to my room, I knew immediately that I wouldn't be able to stay as it had a very strong fragrance of cleaning chemicals. Not just "oh, this has recently been cleaned" but "it smells like there are 3 companies simultaneously cleaning the carpets in this room RIGHT NOW" strong. I didn't even unpack a single thing- I went straight to the desk and explained the situation. I was moved to another room that they said had not been cleaned in a few days and should be better. It was not. The hotel rooms open right out to the outside; not to a hallway. I left the door to the room open for almost an hour, and it didn't help at all. (Not that it would have been sustainable if it did- I can't sleep with the door open to the outside, and it was 50 degrees out!) So, still not having unpacked or used so much as a piece of toilet paper, I went back to the front desk. I explained to Youssef B. that I have a severe sensitivity to fragrance and I would not be able to keep my booking due to the overwhelming smell in both rooms, as doing so risked asthma attacks and migraines. He said I would need to take it up with http://booking.com.

I returned to the room and got someone on the phone from booking. (His name was Matthew and he was awesome.) He agreed to release me from the booking and return all fees, as long as the hotel (who told me it would be up to http://booking.com ) agreed. He kept me on hold while he called the hotel. When he returned to the line he informed me that Youssef had told him that he would not refund the first night. I was confused, since he had told me he would, as long as http://booking.com waived their fees. Matthew stayed on the line with me while I returned to the front desk (again.) This had been almost a 2 hour ordeal at this point, and it wasn't a very nice start to my vacation. I asked to speak to Youssef again. He eventually came out and told me that there was nothing he could do- that "his manager" wouldn't let him waive the fees. I stayed at the desk, requesting the name of his manager so I could appeal the decision. He wouldn't give it to me. I explained, again, that I simply had no choice and wouldn't be able to stay, but that I couldn't afford another hotel room if I had to pay for that one. (I also pointed out that my reservation had been made the day before, and since he had several open rooms I obviously hadn't caused them to turn down business.)

He stood there, refusing to even discuss the matter with me. He acted like I wasn't even there talking to him. I told him that I didn't mind hanging out until he could give me the name of his supervisor so I could take my request up the chain of command. He then told me that if I remained in the lobby he would call the police. I again asked for the name of his supervisor and he told me that he didn't have one, that in fact, the decision had been his the whole time and he wasn't going to change his mind. I returned to my room to retrieve my bags (again- I didn't use a single thing in the room or even so much as mess up the bed), in tears. The agent from booking was still on the phone and had heard the whole thing, and he was so apologetic. He was APPALLED that the manager had threatened to call the police on me, and he told me he just couldn't believe it- as he had been on the phone with me the whole time and heard nothing that would warrant such a threat. I grabbed my things and checked out, and the manager again refused to help me or refund my first night's stay, even though it was his hotel that was at fault. He mocked me, saying that no hotels were going to be better and that every place smelled the same. (This simply isn't true. I travel a fair bit and have never experienced something like this. Ever.)


I have been in a battle with Choice Hotels since then. They have refused any help at all, except to offer me hotel points. They said it's my fault for not cancelling 72 hours in advance. Excuse me, but how the heck was I supposed to know that this was going to happen? I understand that if I had just changed my plans or whatever I would have been responsible for the room, but how was I supposed to know that they would have automatic air fresheners and significantly fragranced cleaning products in the rooms? It was so bad that my stuff in my suitcase, which I didn't unpack, still smelled like it the next day even after I had moved to another hotel. How was I supposed to anticipate that?

This man literally laughed at me, told my he didn't care if I got sick, and threatened to call the cops. And the chain won't do a darn thing about it.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#3
If you "have a severe sensitivity to fragrance and I would not be able to keep my booking due to the overwhelming smell in both rooms, as doing so risked asthma attacks and migraines " you need to book directly with the properties you choose and speak to a manager before booking. You can use booking.com to search for locations but you then need to call the hotel directly or you will encounter this again.

Although you were treated poorly, your reservation was not refundable in the time frame you tried to cancel. This is clearly spelled out when you book with booking.com.

I have used booking.com extensively all over the world (Europe, NZ, Fr Polynesia among other locations) without issue, and their cancellation is very clearly spelled out on the booking page. If you are booking on your phone instead of a computer you will need to do a lot more scrolling to see everything, but it is there.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jan 15, 2019
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#5
If you "have a severe sensitivity to fragrance and I would not be able to keep my booking due to the overwhelming smell in both rooms, as doing so risked asthma attacks and migraines " you need to book directly with the properties you choose and speak to a manager before booking. You can use booking.com to search for locations but you then need to call the hotel directly or you will encounter this again.

Although you were treated poorly, your reservation was not refundable in the time frame you tried to cancel. This is clearly spelled out when you book with booking.com.

I have used booking.com extensively all over the world (Europe, NZ, Fr Polynesia among other locations) without issue, and their cancellation is very clearly spelled out on the booking page. If you are booking on your phone instead of a computer you will need to do a lot more scrolling to see everything, but it is there.
The thing is, it's not that I demand a 100% fragrance free room. I understand the reality that most places will have some sort of fragrance, and while annoying, I can deal with it.

This situation was so far above and beyond that that I really do believe it's the hotel's fault. It's really no different than if I pulled up and found the hotel to be on fire and they told me "Well, you didn't cancel 72 hours ago so there's nothing we can do."

The two rooms I was offered smelled as if someone had been in there soaking the carpets with industrial cleaners moments before I walked it. Someone else in the lobby agreed with me that the fragrance was overwhelming in their room, too.
 
Jan 15, 2019
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#6
Did you contact the hotel beforehand to let them know of your sensitivity to smell?
I didn't, because I've never encountered something this dramatic at a hotel. I travel a fair amount, and this was just off the charts. While I don't prefer it, I'm able to tolerate the normal level of fragrance most hotels use. I didn't have any problem at the Doubletree I stayed at down the road even though their rooms are fragranced as well. It was roughly 10% the amount of fragrance I experienced at Clarion.

It's the difference between walking past someone who is wearing perfume, and walking into a Bath and Body Works where teen girls are spraying every scent they have to try them out.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
The thing is, it's not that I demand a 100% fragrance free room. I understand the reality that most places will have some sort of fragrance, and while annoying, I can deal with it.

This situation was so far above and beyond that that I really do believe it's the hotel's fault. It's really no different than if I pulled up and found the hotel to be on fire and they told me "Well, you didn't cancel 72 hours ago so there's nothing we can do."

The two rooms I was offered smelled as if someone had been in there soaking the carpets with industrial cleaners moments before I walked it. Someone else in the lobby agreed with me that the fragrance was overwhelming in their room, too.
If you have this issue (and I know it’s a real problem) you need to call the hotel before you book and ask about how the hotel uses fragrance. You can’t expect to book a hotel the day before when you are already in the penalty phase and then find out the room has this issue and you want a refund. You need to be proactive before you book.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,187
1,121
113
Maui Hawaii
#8
I didn't, because I've never encountered something this dramatic at a hotel. I travel a fair amount, and this was just off the charts. While I don't prefer it, I'm able to tolerate the normal level of fragrance most hotels use. I didn't have any problem at the Doubletree I stayed at down the road even though their rooms are fragranced as well. It was roughly 10% the amount of fragrance I experienced at Clarion.

It's the difference between walking past someone who is wearing perfume, and walking into a Bath and Body Works where teen girls are spraying every scent they have to try them out.
Clarion and Doubletree are in different hotel categories and have different maintenance protocols. Higher end hotels tend to be more attuned to such issues.