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Old 01-24-2013, 12:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Check In "Begins" at ???

Okay, so I wasn't sure where to post this. It is not a WDW or DL exclusive question, so I thought I'd try here in this forum. Have you ever heard of a hotel/resort policy where check in "begins" at a certain time but that there is no guarantee that the room will be ready at that time??? Let me explain:

This past weekend, our family traveled to Great Wolf Lodge (very fun BTW) for a little getaway. Check in was at 4:00. This was listed on all reservation pages, receipts, confirmations, etc.

We planned our travels so that we would arrive just before 4. We figured that we'd have to wait until 4:00 to have access to our room, but that if we planned it right we wouldn't have to wait more than a half hour or so.

When we arrived to check in (at 3:30ish) we were told our room was not ready and that we'd be called when it was. We were given our wristbands for the waterpark and had access to the resort, etc. (much like WDW). I said that was fine but then asked, "But, we will have access to our room at 4, correct?"

The answer I received was shocking: "No." I was then told that check in BEGINS at 4. They try to have the rooms done by then but there is no guarantee. HUH? I had never heard of this before. I discussed this with the person checking me in, and said that I had never experienced anything like this. She was adamant that is just their policy and how they do things. I questioned how long after 4 we would be expected to wait and she was very evasive with "It shouldn't be too long" and "I have your room in the queue to be cleaned next" kind of answers. I had indicated that I was not pleased but would have to accept the situation because what else could I do?

Yes, if we arrived at noon and check in is at 4, we should not expect to be in the room until 4. But this is a little weird right? I am still trying to wrap my head around it for two main reasons: First, many people plan their travels around check in. They like to be able to get into their room upon arrival so they will plan accordingly. If there is this weird "beginning" time with an open end, there is no way to plan for that. Second, technically, it is just wrong. Check in began before 4 because I checked in at 3:30. I just didn't have access to a room.

While I am no Samantha Brown, I have done my share of traveling. I have never in my life heard of check in like this. But, maybe my experiences are in the minority. So, my question is: in your travels, have you ever experienced anything like this?

For the record, we received our "call" just minutes before 4 indicating our room was ready. But I wonder how long we would've been expected to wait???
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have to be honest, it's not something I've ever come across before in our travels.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That sounds very strange. I have stayed in hotels around the world (Asia, Africa, all over Europe, and the U.S.) and have never had a situation like that. Sure, during busy season, I've had to wait a few extra minutes because the staff had so many rooms to clean but that is very rare. Usually, whenever we arrive at a hotel (often before the official check-in time), a room is already waiting for us.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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While I haven't had this happen to us, I can see them saying no guarantee. I'm sure they have only so many people to clean the rooms and if it's a time where maybe lots of people are sick (look at how many people have been hit with the flu recently), it's going to take longer than usual to get the rooms clean. While I wouldn't be happy about waiting past check in time for it, I'd rather go into a clean room than one they haven't gotten to yet.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chezp View Post
I have to be honest, it's not something I've ever come across before in our travels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disneybine View Post
That sounds very strange. I have stayed in hotels around the world (Asia, Africa, all over Europe, and the U.S.) and have never had a situation like that. Sure, during busy season, I've had to wait a few extra minutes because the staff had so many rooms to clean but that is very rare.
Thanks for the feedback. At least I know I am not crazy. Well, I may be a little crazy but not for this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CinderAbby View Post
While I haven't had this happen to us, I can see them saying no guarantee. I'm sure they have only so many people to clean the rooms and if it's a time where maybe lots of people are sick (look at how many people have been hit with the flu recently), it's going to take longer than usual to get the rooms clean. While I wouldn't be happy about waiting past check in time for it, I'd rather go into a clean room than one they haven't gotten to yet.
.
I totally appreciate the fact that anybody can get behind on things for any number of reasons - sickness of staff, as you mentioned, for example. But, I feel like running behind is the exception, not the rule. The way it was explained to me at check in, Check in "begins" at 4 and the room might be done at that time, and it might not. It's simply their policy. Period.

That is what I found odd and what prompted me to post. Thanks everyone for your feedback.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've not run into it before but it makes sense at a place like GWL.
They limit waterpark access to resort guests only and they don't want folks arriving at 8 a.m. getting wristbands then cancelling the ressie at 6 p.m. after a day at the waterpark. So they restrict when you can check in. Check in at Great Wolf isn't as much about room access as waterpark access.
I suspect that the rooms are almost always available within a short time after the checkin time but they say no to keep some wiggle room -- like turning rooms over after a sold out night with late checkouts.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Carousel96 View Post
Check in at Great Wolf isn't as much about room access as waterpark access.
Hmmmm .... I hadn't thought of that. It's a good point. The GWL policy is such that guests are allowed to access the waterpark as early as 1 p.m. the day of check in (although we didn't take them up on that offer) and that you need to check in to get your wristbands (like the KTTW at WDW). And we were permitted to use the waterpark until closing the day we checked out too (which again, we didn't do). But the idea of managing waterpark access is certainly something they have to consider ... and I hadn't.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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They limit waterpark access to resort guests only and they don't want folks arriving at 8 a.m. getting wristbands then cancelling the ressie at 6 p.m. after a day at the waterpark.
That's not what this thread is about, though. The OP was able to check in before 4 p.m. but was told that the room may not be available until even after 4 p.m.

If somebody checks in early and get access to the waterpark, well, they're checked in and can't cancel their room reservation for that day.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's not what this thread is about, though. The OP was able to check in before 4 p.m. but was told that the room may not be available until even after 4 p.m.

If somebody checks in early and get access to the waterpark, well, they're checked in and can't cancel their room reservation for that day.
Yeah -- I realized that after I hit "post." They really let you check in at 1, which means the whole thing is squirrelly.

I think the "may not be available" language is really about keeping wiggle room for unexpected events. Because we all know there are people who would pitch a royal fit if they got the room key anytime after 3:59.
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