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Frankie's avatar

Is this motel's reservation policy normal?

Asked by Frankie (4032 points ) March 12th, 2010

I’m looking for a place for my friend and me to stay while we’re in Florida for spring break. I found a motel, called Amber Tides Motel, and they have availability for when we will be there, but the owner said in the email he sent me that “to hold the room we would need your credit card information and then we send the reservation confirmation. There will be a charge of $100.00 on your card which is nonrefundable by cancelation.” Is this normal? I’ve never booked a hotel room before so I’m a bit in the dark here. The motel has really great reviews on TripAdvisor, so I’m assuming other people who have stayed there did not have issues with this $100 fee or with the motel in general, so does that mean I shouldn’t really worry about it?

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19 Answers

noyesa's avatar

I’ve never heard of anything like a $100 fee, but usually a motel/hotel will put a deposit on your credit card before giving you access to the room, usually more than your stay is worth, to make sure you don’t try to skip out on paying.

lilikoi's avatar

Is the $100 in exchange for your stay there, as in is that the room rate? It is not unusual for a place to ask for credit card info to hold a reservation. All the major hotels do that. When you rent a car, they take your credit card info and sometimes put a “hold” on it – not the same as a non-refundable fee, though. It would be extremely odd if they were charging you a booking fee or something for a $100 on top of the room rate. In that case, I’d run away and find something else. I’ve never booked a motel in advance. One time I showed up at a motel, and the family kicked their Indian grandma out of bed so we could have the room. We felt terrible and happy to pay at the same time.

Snarp's avatar

It’s not that unusual, especially during spring break when they can easily fully book the hotel, to prevent people from skipping out on rooms that they have held that they could easily have given to someone else. I’ve paid deposits on hotel rooms before even at lest crowded times/places. Usually something like that is refundable if you give enough advance notice, but I can see why it might not be when you reserving for spring break.

Frankie's avatar

Well, the room rate is $85/night, so slightly less than the $100 they’re asking for…since he said it was non-refundable by cancelation, maybe that means it is refundable at the end of our stay if we leave the room in good condition? I’m planning on calling later on in the day, so I can get more information at that point, I just wanted to make sure, before I take the time to call and possibly book the room, that asking for $100 to reserve the room is normal…sounds like it is, so thanks guys!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I would ask what the fee is for, and whether it is an advance payment or some type of gouge. (And I wouldn’t use that word while talking to them.)

lilikoi's avatar

^Yes, this. If it is going to the cost of your stay, fine, but if it is just some random fee, then no way!

Snarp's avatar

I checked out their website, this is a small hotel and they are probably just making sure they don’t get stiffed. I expect they’ll roll the $100 into your room charges, otherwise you might want to make sure that any difference is refunded. On the other hand, once all the taxes and surcharges are added to your $85 hotel room, it will probably be more like $100 a night. Just call and ask if the $100 goes toward your room charges once you are actually there. They won’t mind you not understanding and will explain it. Then I wouldn’t sweat it at all. If they have good reviews, there’s a reason for that.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s not a fee but more of a deposit.
Motels and hotels would lose a lot of money due to cancellations if they didn’t do this. Especially motels.

Seek's avatar

This is Florida on Spring Break. Hotels book out weeks in advance. The last thing they want is to have a bunch of kids rent a room, then not show up the day of their reservation. The hotel is protecting itself from losing out on your reservation. It’s just a guarantee that you are actually going to show up, and if you’re not, they don’t lose the cost of that room. This is normal, especially during Spring Break.

Frankie's avatar

I called and booked the room, and the $100 is part of the total price for our stay, not separate. So you guys were right! Thanks for the help!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

What room number and how much beer are you storing there?

Frankie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Beer?? What are you, 14? It’s spring break! We’re drinking straight 151 to the face ;)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Back in my day it was Mad Dog.

Seek's avatar

By the way, @Frankie good choice on the Gulf coast. Daytona is a Spring Break hot-spot, but I can’t stand the place. Plus, the rip current makes swimming anything but fun.

I love Clearwater, though. I hope the water will warm up a bit by then, we’ve had a really cold year so far. I know I’m itching to visit Sunsets at Pier 60 again.

Frankie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Yes, we’re very excited. My girlfriend knows the Clearwater area very well, which is why we chose to vacation there. We’re definitely not looking for a “WOOOO SPRING BREAKK!!” type of experience…we did that last year when we went to the Bahamas with a huge group of friends and it sucked. We just want to lay on a beach for 5 days, haha. As long as it doesn’t rain a lot I don’t mind colder than usual weather, because cold-ish in Florida=warm compared to Ohio!

Seek's avatar

You’ll love it, then. If you really want a quiet experience, one day you should take the drive up to Dunedin (shoot right up US 19) and go to Honeymoon Island. The beach in the back of the state park is pretty much always deserted. That’s my favorite place to go and bake for a few hours. You can get away with a little topless tanning, too. It’s that cool.

Frankie's avatar

Thanks for the tip! We’ll definitely try to check that out!

JeffVader's avatar

Blimey…. that soounds abit harsh!

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