This past weekend, we decided to visit the Niagara Falls on the US side.This was more of an impromptu trip for us that was planned a week before we departed for Niagara Falls and hence we were struggling to find a reasonable hotel which fit our budget. After searching for a couple of days we decided to stay at Anchor Motel near Niagara Falls and booked a two night stay using Booking.com. We booked a Deluxe Queen room with 2 queen beds and were charged $132 per room per night with taxes.
This was the first time we were traveling with our 9 month old son after he had started eating solid food. Since he is at an age, where he doesn’t like sitting too long in the car seat, we decided to travel at night when he is asleep and had planned the trip accordingly. That meant that even though we booked the room for 2 nights, we planned to check out Saturday evening so that we could drive back in the night while our son is asleep. We also normally warm the water using stove and prepare the cereal etc. for his meal. As the motel didn’t have any tea/ coffee maker, we called the motel to inquire about using hot plates so that we can warm water to prepare baby’s food. We were told that using hot plates isn’t allowed and they would provide us with a kettle to warm/ boil the water. We arrived at the motel on Friday afternoon and were greeted with a very enthusiastic front desk lady. I believe her name was Kathy (I could be wrong) and she told us about things which were nearby and how we can see the mist of the Niagara Falls from the back of the motel. She also gave us the kettle which we had requested earlier via telephone.
We checked into the room and at the onset, I felt that the room didn’t watch the reviews that people had given on the website Booking.com. The primary reason we had booked this motel was due to its high ratings in the cleanliness. The room in itself was small for 4 people and an infant. The carpet was old and the bathroom door didn’t lock from inside. There were a lot of cobwebs outside the room, and while we didn’t find spiders or cobwebs in the room, the room did have a damp smell. Since we were only looking to use the room to sleep during the night, we ignored these things. We had a pretty uneventful stay while we were at the motel and as planned earlier checked out of the motel Saturday evening and returned the kettle to the same front desk lady.
Upon reaching back, we left a negative review for the motel on Booking.com and that’s when things took a very interesting turn. The very next day we got an email from Booking.com mentioning that the motel was alleging that we had broken the TV and had not returned the kettle. They even asked us to pay $220 in damages as soon as possible to the motel and to contact the motel for any dispute. As soon as we received this email, we reached out to Anchor Motel as we had not even used the TV and had returned the kettle to the lady at the front desk. We spoke to a person named “Jose” and he mentioned that we had broken the TV and now he was left with $300 in damages. He also mentioned that “certain groups of people” damage his property and then they don’t pay. At this point, I believe he insinuating against my ethnical background. He then mentioned that how he should have cancelled the booking in the first place when we had asked if we could use the hot plate in the room. At this point, we ignored the racist tone of “Jose” as we only wanted to clear matter. We told him that we haven’t used the TV and had returned the kettle to the lady at the front desk. We also asked him to send pictures of the broken TV.
The next day, I was reviewing my profile on Booking.com and observed the below review left by the motel on Booking.com.
After reading the above feedback from the hotel, we went through a lot of reviews on Booking.com, identified the negative reviews and observed that the motel had retaliated on most of them. They had retaliated esp. on the negative feedback left by Indians who had stayed there. After doing this review, we left a detailed complaint with Booking.com explaining what had happened. We got a call from Booking.com to understand the issue and after explaining the issue to them, they said they will investigate and have asked the motel to provide proof of the broken TV. Later in the evening, we got the below email and images from Booking.com
“I spoke with Jose to discuss your case, and he confirmed the tea kettle was returned. He also said a knob was missing from a drawer, and that it looked like that could have been what broke the TV. Attached are pics of the TV and bloody linen found in the room.
Jose no longer wishes to receive calls from you about this situation.
Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.
This was the first time we had even heard of a bloody linen sheet and a door knob. We reviewed the images in detail and saw the image of the bloody linen was taken in August, 2019 before our stay and the image of the broken TV is readily available on the internet. We pointed the same out too Booking.com and told them that the motel management is unscrupulous, lying and dishonest and we were very surprised that Booking.com does not validate such claims before passing it on to their customers. We also gave them examples where the motel owner had retaliated on negative feedback (see below) and told them that we would like to get a refund for our stay at the hotel for making us go through this terrible after stay experience which stressed us out for a couple of days.
At this point, we are awaiting a response from Booking.com to see if we do get a refund from them or the motel. We hope people find this review useful and hope that other travelers are careful when they stay at this motel and do not have to go through the same experience that we underwent. Ideally, we would not advise anyone to stay at this motel as the management is dishonest, retaliates on being given negative feedback and discriminate based on ethnical background.