Worst Hotel on the planet and my letter requesting a refund!!

We had a pretty awful experience at a hotel we booked on the internet last week.  It’s our first accommodation disaster!!

We were unsure of how long the bus would take to arrive in from Cambodia to Bangkok (after being told it would arrive 8pm) so we waited until we were closer to book accommodation on Gert’s iPad.  We thought we were geniuses.  A few things went wrong with our plan!!

The first problem was the bus forgot where it was meant to go!!  We were told it stopped at Khao San Road.  It didn’t!  It chucked us out 15km away!  Which would have been fine if we had known – we would have booked a room where the bus dropped us!

Second problem was our sunburn.  We couldn’t really carry our packs.  It was 10.30pm after 15 hours on the bus with barely any food and our ankles were very swollen!  (god that makes us sound old!)

Third problem.  Everyone in Thailand had apparently forgotten how to speak English in the 12 days we had been away in Cambodia!!

Fourth problem.  We booked directly on the hotel website and didn’t get a confirmation email – only confirmation that my credit card had been charged!!

So we finally get to the hotel in two taxis (who tried to scam us as well – changing the price half way and turning off the taxi metre before we got there!)

They didn’t have our booking.  I have since requested a refund.  It’s been 5 days with no response.  I’m not seeing my $43 again so I’ve decided to post my letter here on the site – it gives me a giggle to read it and I think it explains just what went on nicely.  Please note it’s not to be vindictive, but I wouldn’t be unhappy to save someone else the same misery!!

Oh and don’t ever stay at the Sawasdee Welcome Inn!!!  Ever.  Ever.  Ever!!


I am writing to request a refund to my credit card of 1429 Thai Baht for one nights accommodation at Sawasdee Welcome Inn, Bangkok.

I made an online booking approximately 4.30pm on March 1 to stay in this hotel with 2 rooms for 2 nights – booking reference 20120300020160. 

Although the booking screen showed the rooms as available, charged our credit card for the full amount and said we would receive an immediate email, we never received a confirmation of our booking. 

When we arrived at the hotel the front desk did not have our booking. We explained that we booked online and they were very impatient with us. Your staff talked at length to each other in Thai, answered the phone only to have another long conversation while we stood at the desk. I was asked for my passport and your staff member stood with her hand out while using her computer, refusing to look at me. I finally placed my passport in her hand before she would bother to look up.  She insisted she had no booking and we started to discuss leaving to find somewhere else to sleep as no one was offering us any assistance. 

A different staff member offered to open the rooms for us, explaining that the booking may come through in the morning.  We showed her the rate that we had booked on the Internet which included breakfast and she said that was fine. 

We were relieved by this but were still delayed by your staff mucking around cuddling each other and laughing and talking in funny voices to each other.  By the time we received our keys my son was asleep on one of the couches in the reception area. 

The rooms we were taken to were NOTHING like the rooms on your website. The paint was peeled, the beds had no topsheets-just a bottom sheet and a blanket.  There was mould all through the bathrooms  The rooms were full of mosquitos and the triple room had louvres missing from the window. We had to go out and buy mosquito spray before we could put the children to bed and they ended up putting a towel that was on the floor as a mat under the door to stop more Mosquitos getting into the room.  Wireless internet does not work in the rooms we were allocated and there were no bath towels supplied for showers. 

While we were out buying the spray we checked with the Sawasdee in the same street as the welcome inn, to see if they had our booking – your staff member was not very interested in looking up the details and once she realized she did not have a booking for us she started talking to a fellow staff member leaving us standing at the desk.  It seems your staff are just as rude at other hostels you operate. 

The next morning we checked with the front desk (approx 8.45am) and they still had no record of our booking.   They told us the booking had obviously (with eye rolling like we were stupid and didn’t know how to use the internet!) not gone through and our credit card would not have been charged.  We informed them nicely we would be checking out after breakfast and would pay for our one night. 

Upon checkout we were asked to pay 1680 baht which was much more than the promised rate. Your staff member insisted that it was because breakfast was not included. We told her it was. She just kept saying no not included, over and over. We showed her the Internet rate again and she was very rude to us and walked off into another room. 

She came back with another staff member who insisted we should have booked on the Internet!!!  They were saying we were just walk ins!    We explained the situation again but they were not interested in helping us and became aggressive and sulky.   They kept saying we had to show the confirmation but it was never emailed to us. 

Finally my husband became very upset and tossed the room key onto the counter and walked off. Your staff member picked up the key and threw it across the room!!!  At this point I agreed to pay just to get away from these horrible, horrible people!!

But my ordeal was not over yet. The bill was 1680 baht. I had paid 1000 as a key deposit so I put that toward the bill and gave the girl another 1000 for the balance. She gave me 320 change, I thanked them ( though they were refusing to look at me or speak to me at this point) and we went to wait for our tuk tuk by the sidewalk. 

It was now around 10.30am. 

Suddenly I became aware of someone calling out. I turned around but they were not looking at me so I turned back. Then more calling out and a gentleman in the foyer told me they were talking to me. I approached the desk and asked if they wanted me. 

Without looking at me the girl starts giving me money back. 1360 baht to be exact. I asked her why and she just shoved the money towards me. I asked her again why she was giving me money and she says I already paid with my credit card!!!  I explained that I told her this already and she just shoves the money at me.

Then I told her it wasn’t enough. At that point she became agitated and angry with me insisting that it was correct. I pointed out that my receipt was for 1680 and she only gave me 1360. I almost fell on the floor when she told me that was because she already gave me 320!!!  I explained that the 320 was my very own change from paying the 680 balance but she said no. Then she got the calculator out and showed me how 680 minus 320 is 360!!  So I showed her on the calculator how 1000 minus 680 is 320 and how she owed me 1680 total not 1360. 

Again she became angry and started talking in Thai and just walked out of the room. Another staff member again returned with her to try to explain the math to me. 

They asked me to give the 320 back and that they would give me 680!!!  

I told them I would give them the 320 if they gave me 1000 back that I originally paid!!!

After about 5 minutes of back and forth and much eye rolling, sighing and grumbling to each other in Thai from your staff members, they finally agreed that my math was really the best option and refunded me the correct amount of 1680.  It was very rudely handed to me as though I had committed some crime. 

Once again I asked them why they were refunding me the money and they finally told me they had the email confirmation of my booking from more than 20 hours before!!  They would not give me a copy insisting we already had a copy. We then checked our email and oh joy we did have our own copy, finally. 

I asked them how to get a refund for the 2nd night and once again they were most unhelpful and told me to “check the website”. 

I have finally checked into a different hostel tonight and am using their Internet connection to send you this request for refund. 

I have checked your website and there are no terms and conditions for cancelling because the room is not what is shown on the Internet, is dirty and the staff are beyond rude. 

I would therefore request you to please credit the amount of one nights accommodation (1429) to my credit card immediately. 

I have read your website and it states “Our willing staff are ready to serve you 24 hours a day with the excellent service and they are also adorable and friendly to all tourists around the world.”

May I suggest you consider extra training for your staff or consider removing this from your website?  

Your staff are anything but friendly and we are fairly sure they were making fun of us while speaking in Thai. They were giggling and mentioned “credit card” and “Falang”. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what was going on.  I resented being made to feel stupid when they were attempting to give me an incorrect refund and the throwing of the room keys right across the hotel foyer was extremely unprofessional.  They are sullen, sulky and plain rude.  

I look forward to your earliest positive response to this email.

Best regards

Tracey Pedersen

Can any of you believe they didn’t reply???????

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Worst Hotel on the planet and my letter requesting a refund!! — 14 Comments

  1. Well, small world. Last weekend we went up for a night stay at Best Western. Free, courtesy of Delta rewards. Hotel was nothing like the pics. It wasn’t even the same hotel. I called Delta and they refuse to take ownership. But guess what, i show them the blog I bet they come to their senses.

    It happens all the world over.

    Tweet the hotel. See what that does!
    Justin recently posted..It Might Not Be As Hard As You ThinkMy Profile

    • Oh good idea!! I’ll tweet those suckers and see what happens. It’s really only $43 and won’t break my heart but still, that’s a night’s accommodation somewhere else I guess! By comparison, the place we are staying in Chiang Mai has great rooms, a pool, an amazing restaurant and is central to lots of good stuff!! And for just $46 a night for 5 people!!

  2. Aaah sounds like fun. I too have had some fun experiences with accommodations. While going through them makes you ponder consequences of actions versus jail time in a foreign country, later it gives you something to remember. After all what is travel without a crappy experience or two. All kidding aside you handled it better than I would have.
    The Travel Fool recently posted..Hotels, Motels, Condos and DumpsMy Profile

    • You’re right. This is a great story and I was thrilled to get no reply!! Made me not feel too mean for describing to the world how awful it was!!

  3. Oh Tracy what an ordeal! We had a similar thing happen on our first night in Bangkok back in the day and it was also in the Koh San Area. I have to say in all our travels in Thailand we met the rudest people in the Koh San Area and we vowed to never ever stay there again. I guess treat this as a lesson to not book ahead unless you really, really need to. 🙂
    Amy @Worldschooladventures recently posted..Vaccinations: What We’re Getting and What We’re NotMy Profile

    • Hey Amy. Sounds like a cast-iron rule – Don’t stay at Koh San Road!!! How do you cope not booking ahead. If it was just Gert and I we would wing it but since we have the kids we are a bit OCD about them having somewhere to sleep!!

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