I booked for 4 nights, starting 26th November 2011. The booking was made direct several months in advance, over the phone, for a wheelchair-accessible room. On the Wednesday prior to travelling, I phoned and arranged for a late checkin due to flight schedules. The owners knew we were travelling to Dunedin for a conference on disability (the motel was on a list of accommodation for this conference). They also confirmed that due to an Elton John concert in town all other ground floor accommodation in the city was fully booked.
We arrived at 7pm to be told the owners were away, leaving a manager in charge. The manager said she had swapped our booked room with someone who had arrived in earlier and that we were allocated a room on the upstairs floor, reachable only by a set of steep outside stairs. On being told the wheelchair user could not reach that room she shrugged and said that wasn't her problem. She told us the only other accommodation available in Dunedin was at a backpackers in South Dunedin - a long way from the conference venue. She would not phone around to find accommodation for us and refused to contact the people in our room to see if they were willing to swap back to the room they had originally been allocated. Throughout all this the manager kept laughing and making inappropriate comments about disability. She treated the whole situation as a joke.
We were left at 8pm on a Saturday night in an unfamiliar city, with nowhere to go. I was in tears. Apparently this just made it all funnier to her.
We managed to find other accommodation some time later but on arriving at the conference the next day we learned another wheelchair user, a friend and his wife, had also been booked at the Bella Vista. They had received a call earlier in the week from the owners saying the motel was overbooked and there was no accommodation for them. This caused a great deal of trouble for them - it's hard enough finding accommodation when a major concert is on without the added restriction of needing ground floor, accessible rooms.
I sent an email to the motel to give them an opportunity to explain (or even just apologise) and have not had any response.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This modern Dunedin motel accommodation is a great spot from which to explore the city and the surrounding Otago region, in New Zealand's beautiful south. We realize you might have a limited time frame, so our systems are easy to ensure that you make the most of your hassle free stay. Your hosts, Robyn and Garry are warm, friendly and helpful. There is so much to see in and around Dunedin and they are more than happy to share all their knowledge and ideas. They want your stay to be enjoyable, whether its business or pleasure, so they will go the extra mile to ensure you have a great stay. If you'd like Robyn and Garry help you plan your Dunedin trip - you need only ask! Bella Vista Dunedin is centrally located and within walking distance to Restaurants,City Centre, the University of Otago, Otago Museum, Dunedin Hospital, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Logan Park, Alister McMiillan Hockey Turf and the Botanical Gardens and we are just a short drive from Mercy Hospital. Our motel-style accommodation comprises 16 superior suites, featuring one and two-bedroom motel units, with a comprehensive range of facilities. The self-contained, non-smoking suites are available in an assortment of configurations to suit families, corporate stays and travellers alike. ... more less
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