The Red Shirt Refund
I made hotel reservations about six weeks ago to stay in Bangkok starting the second week of May 2010. I used orbits.com to find a hotel since their website always seemed to be the easiest to use. I selected the Holiday Inn Silom, Bangkok. The room rate and amenities were right and the comments of previous guests were very favorable. I made a pre-paid reservation to get the best rate.
Things have tragically changed in Silom since then. Yesterday, April 23, 2010, a few contacts in Bangkok strongly advised me to change hotels and stay the hell out of Silom. They told me of the grenade attack and killings that day. Even before the sad events of April 23rd, major hotels had the foresight to suspend operations. I found this article dated the April 22.
More Hotels, Restaurants Down Shutters in Bangkok
Apr 22, 2010, 1:54 am, from ehotelier.com, by Suchat Sritama
At least four luxury hotels located near the protest site at the Rajprasong intersection, and Silom area have confirmed they would be shutting operations for a short period even as the number of restaurants downing their shutters is increasing………………..The four hotels account for 1,500 rooms and employ 2,000 people. The general manager of Holiday Inn Bangkok and InterContinental Bangkok, Markus Platzer, expressed concern for the safety and security of hotel guests and employees. .……….”On April 18, we decided to temporarily suspend services at Holiday Inn Bangkok and from today [yesterday] we have stopped taking bookings for InterContinental Bangkok and relocated our guests to other IHG managed properties," he said
The Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel Bangkok also announced temporary closure until Saturday. A statement by the hotel said the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) protest has been taking place in the vicinity since April 3. "And for the safety and security of our guests and employees, the hotel has at this stage decided to suspend all guest services and not to accept any reservations until April 24."
I called Orbits to cancel my reservation and get a refund of nearly $700. Orbits advised I would need to call the Holiday Inn Silom. I then did so and the polite young lady in reservations advised the reservation was non-refundable when it was made. I acknowledged the point, but said that due to the security situation in Silom the hotel would not be able to provide the advertised and expected accommodations. She stated the hotel was in a designated “safe zone”. I asked her if she had heard of the killings in Silom that day. She reiterated the hotel was safe and open and therefore a refund would not be forth coming.
I called Holiday Inn international’s customer service for assistance and spoke to a young man. He promptly told me to call the Silom Holiday Inn. I retold my story to him. He stated he would make a note of it, but there was little he could do since it was a prepaid reservation. I inquired if anyone at Holiday Inn headquarters had heard the most recent news from Bangkok. Apparently they had not.
I called Orbits customer service again and spoke to a helpful lady. I related all of the above. She stated Orbits’ usually has its hands tied in the matter, but given the situation she would call the Holiday Inn Silom directly and address the matter. I was then put on hold.
When she came back on the line she said she had gotten the same story from the hotel about it being in a “safe zone” and no refund. She told the reservations manager she had just googled “Silom, Bangkok” and knew the situation was not as the hotel stated. The Orbits lady advised me the hotel gave in and would refund the money to Orbits and thus Orbits would give me a full refund. I can’t help but think she leaned on the reservations manager a bit and said something to the affect that Orbits might have to re-evaluation its listing of the hotel on their website if a refund was not forth coming.
Imagine that, a farang actually got a refund in Bangkok !
All that aside, I know nothing of Thai politics and it’s really not my business anyway. I would like to extent my condolences to all the families who have lost love ones and to those injured on all sides. I think Democracy it is worth fighting for, but why is it always only the little people bleeding on the streets. Did anyone who was killed really think they’d be martyred for the cause that day?
I don’t know who Thaksin Shinawatra is. I just hope this guy is worth all the trouble. I guess he feels he is entitled to a refund to.
Well done on getting a refund. The one thing I will say is that Silom Road is a long road and the Holiday Inn is just as the woman had said, in a safe area, well away from all of the nonsense!