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Stranded in Spain by Booking.com

Booking.com boobs and I’m the victim

IT’S a traveller’s nightmare. You arrive in a foreign town. It’s dark and cold. You don’t speak the language and the hotel you thought you had booked is closed.

This happened to me this week in Tordesillas, northern Spain, at the hands of Booking.com

They had confirmed my reservation at  the Hostal-Restaurante San Antolín but the picture below (taken in daylight the following day) shows you what I got. It says closed for a week’s holiday.

Booking.com laves man stranded in Spain

I was driving from the Algarve, Portugal, to the Spanish port of Santander to catch a ferry to Portsmouth and decided to break the journey of more than 600 miles with a sleep stopover.

I chose the little town of Tordesillas near the city of Valladolid, because it looked like an interesting place to stay. I found this small hotel on the Booking.com website which seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It was right in the historic central square of Tordesillas and it was cheap.

Having selected the hotel and booked it, I received the usual confirmation from Booking.com and set off on my journey.

I wanted to complete the major part of the trip on the first day and, after driving for around 500 miles, arrived in Tordesillas at around 7pm in the evening feeling tired and hungry.

The centre of Tordesillas is a warren of tiny streets, a bit like a mini version of old Nice, so I found a parking space for my car and set off to find the hotel on foot with my case.

It felt quite cold, after the Algarve, and I was looking forward to a warm room and food. What I got, after tramping around for half an hour trying to find the hotel,  was a sign on the front of the hotel saying, in Spanish, that it was closed for a week’s holiday.

The reason it took so long for me to find it was that it was in darkness, locked and gated up. I walked past it twice without realising it was a hotel. Needless to say, this was a nasty shock to the system and I can’t believe that an organisation like Booking.com can, in this day and age, let this happen.

My mobile phone battery had run down earlier in the day and I didn’t bother to recharge it because I had 100 per cent confidence (misplaced, in hindsight) in Booking.com as I have used them before quite often.

So I was unable to make a phone call about it. I found a café to replenish my energy with something to eat and then trundled my case around town for an hour until I found other accommodation.

I have travelled all over the world from California to Tokyo and always had confidence in hotels. I can only ever recall one other occasion in which I suffered a bad experience and this also involved a small, independent hotel.

I think, in future, I might be a bit wary about booking a small independent hotel through Booking.com

I have received an apology from Booking.com which I find unacceptable. It refers to an “overbooking situation’’. Clearly, there is more to it than that and it needs investigating by an appropriate authority and sorting out.

*Tordesillas is historic and famous because of the Treaty of Tordesillas signed there on June 7,  1494.

It laid the foundation stones of Spanish and Portuguese colonisation of the new worlds being discovered outside Europe, setting a line of demarcationfor the two competing empires to adhere to.

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