I will say that this more of a PSA than my usual posts. I want to share my experience with this subject so that other brides can learn from it.
I’m not getting married at a hotel, nor am I getting married near a hotel. To be precise, the closest hotel in proximity to my venue is about 35 minutes. Now, this drive is mostly due to the fact the venue is on a mountain, and the hotel, well, isn’t. From the beginning, acquiring a discount rate at the hotel was never really a priority. Around February of this year, I tried to get into contact with the hotel, Harrah’s Rincon (which is part of the Caesar’s family, or vice-versa I suppose). All I got was a bunch of transferred phone calls that kept getting disconnected, and emails that kept getting generic responses. So, I gave up. In May, MOH S volunteered to try to figure it out, since her Mom had been planning on staying there and was interested, too. Since my drama queen of a Dad had declared that he “didn’t want to pay $300/night to stay anywhere” I thought it would be prudent to make sure he had an affordable option.
Somehow, S managed to get a hold of an actual person (something I thought would be impossible). The group sales rep at Harrah’s, Linda, promptly sent over a contract for me to sign. Now, I did my research prior to this, and while contracts were not UNCOMMON, I was looking more for a small courtesy room block as opposed to a large contract room-block, especially since I wasn’t planning on staying there. I emailed my concerns to Linda, most importantly the contradictions in the contract (one clause said I’d need to cover the cost of 37 rooms, the other said any un-booked rooms would be released at the cutoff date), and she assured me that I would not be responsible for 37 rooms, only 10 nights as that is the minimum guarantee to get a room block. I was still somewhat reluctant. However, she persuaded me that with my amount of guests, 10 nights would be easy to obtain. So I signed the contract, something, retrospectively, I should not have done.
In the weeks leading up to our 08/22/2012 cutoff date, I was handed over to Mary, who assured me that people always wait until the last-minute, and we could reserve the rooms in my name, and then transfer them to my guests after the cutoff to avoid me being penalized. Mary was so delightful and helpful. However, the one person who did call prior to the deadline (yes, ONE) had so much trouble, and they didn’t even book her reservation properly! So, I sent an email to Mary, and CC’d Linda, expressing my frustration, to which Linda sent a nasty reply, that honestly convinces me to never work with their hotel chain ever again. Three weeks before the wedding I was still hoping to get my rooms transferred to others so that I didn’t end up with rooms I didn’t need. Two weeks before the wedding, my uncle (one of the few people with a reservation) asked if he could look at the contract. I sent it to him, and he informed me that the contract stated that if the hotel didn’t sell out (yes, SELL OUT) then Mr. B and I would have to pay for any remaining rooms minus 10% attrition. I was so confused and frustrated, especially since that was the portion of the contract I specifically questioned in all of my correspondence.
At this point, Mr. B had to get involved. I couldn’t believe that she had so blatantly lied when I questioned the contract, because if she had clarified the contract for me, the way she did for Mr. B when I asked her, I wouldn’t have signed it. At that point, all we had left to do was cross our fingers that the hotel would sell out (as Linda promised us it would).
Mr. B has officially told me not to sign anything without his approval.
Did you have trouble with getting a room block? Or were you able to get a courtesy block without a contract?