Having heard of positively glowing reviews from travel sites, word of mouth recommendations, and internet articles, I was rather thrilled when Deal Grocer (so far, my favorite online shopping site for great deals) posted a fantastic offer for a stay at Oakwood Manila, at the Joy-Nostalg Center (I didn't get a chance to inquire about the unusual building name) in Ortigas, Pasig, at a price that was around 40% off the usual rack rate.
I quickly read the "fine print" to see which dates would be blocked off as "not redeemable" and they only disallowed the use of the coupon on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I quickly called the hotel to verify if Art and I could book a room on Christmas Eve, to which the operator responded in the affirmative, and I proceeded to purchase the deal online.
I then emailed the hotel to secure a written reservation. (I like it when things are documented, and if there's one thing I've learned from traveling for some time now, you have to have everything printed, otherwise, the establishment can claim anything - and refuse everything as well.) I also requested the highest floor possible for the deal, and if we could have a room that wasn't facing a back alley or wall. (It happened twice in a 4 star hotel.)
The respondent, a reservations agent, was very helpful, and said that all my requests will be most likely granted, seeing as how I corresponded with the hotel so early (almost 2 months from the date we intended to stay). I also requested an early check in time to avoid the rush that was expected at a time like Christmas. I was assured that I would "on top priority".
A few days before we were to check in, I emailed the same agent again to ask what time we could be accomodated. He informed me that he could not give me a time until the date itself but that he was "on top of it" and would "see to the matter personally".
The beginning of the end. Or at least a descent into a cacophony of mishaps.
(To be continued in the next post.)