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Lynn's review of Imagine Cruising
Inferior hotel substituted
Review of Imagine Cruising
We have travelled with Imagine Cruising before with great appreciation of the package and the package we recently took "No-Fly Christmas in the Caribbean" was also much-appreciated - so it is with reluctance that I am complaining vociferously about one element of that package but the problem was too important. Our contract was for a one-night stay at the Westin Times Square during the trip and this was to be a highlight for us as we had arranged meetings with friends, a theatre visit and a shopping trip. At no point were we notified in advance that the hotel on the final booking arrangement had been changed to a dosshouse called Element by Westin Times Square. Only a handful of Imagine Cruising's customers had had their booking changed to the dosshouse as the rest of those travelling were correctly staying at Westin Times Square. Our precious time in New York was foreshortened by this out-of-contract change as no-one realised that Element by Westin Times Square was a completely different hotel so the bus transfers were delayed by an hour as guests were told to get off one bus and get on another. One lady was greatly distressed as she was travelling with her sister who was correctly staying at the Westin whereas she was being taken to the Element by West Times Square which was some distance away (the lady was recently widowed and unused to travelling alone and frightened by staying in this dosshouse instead of safely with her sister). We were horrified by the hotel and as we already late for a meeting because of the hour-long wait while the transport was sorted out we didn't check in but went to our meeting and emailed Imagine Cruising. We insisted on being transferred to a hotel of the calibre we had contracted but on our return to the dosshouse nothing had been done for us. I still have a copy of the holiday package which clearly states "Westin Times Square". The company's reply was that if we moved to a safe and decent hotel we would have to pay ourselves. This we would have been happy to do (and the Marriott that night which is where we usually stay in New York was only US$80) but we just didn't have time to do this as we had an early dinner booked with friends and then the theatre. The hotel had the air of a prison, dosshouse or worse. There were not enough lifts for the number of rooms and we had a 20-minute wait for a lift to our floor so after that had to set off a half-hour before we needed to as we had heard other guests saying they had waited longer and our room was on too high a floor to walk to and from. The staff were surly and unhappy. On arrival in our room we found another guest's luggage there and told the front desk but we returned hours later to find it still there. We rang down again and it was removed and we heard the staff complaining about the luggage service, saying that cases had "just been left in the corridor" by staff on occasions (presumably because of the length of time to wait for a lift). There was no central heating in the room so we had to turn the unit under the window on to blow maximum so that we could change to go out which was uncomfortable and the shower room at the opposite side of the room from this wall heater never became warm. The furnishings in the room and public areas were prison-issue shabby and stained. I was afraid there might be bed bugs so I checked the mattress and linen (which were both clean but the linen was of thin, poor quality). There was no carpet on the floor just a cheap and grubby floor covering. As for breakfast - that was so gross that we couldn't eat or drink anything. It was dosshouse fare. People were queuing to get into the breakfast room and then taking their food to the lifts where, of course, they had to queue for some time again. I have taken photos of all this to put on TripAdvisor to warn others. It may be that backpackers would appreciate somewhere like this but average, respectable tourists would not. We quite simply actually felt that the hotel was unsavoury and unsafe. We don't think that it was reasonable for Imagine Cruising to place this small number of people in a much inferior hotel to everyone else without explaining what they were doing and why and should have ensured that at least it was of an equivalent standard and location to the Westin Times Square which is what we contracted for.
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