Blatant Disrespect at the Doubletree Cariari – Costa Rica

In the last 30 days I have spent a total of 14 nights in three separate stays at the Doubletree by Hilton Cariari San José-Costa Rica, and I even wrote a nice review of one of my stays as part of the Costa Rica resource I’m assembling. I’ll need to update that post with this new information.

On my most recent stay however, an incident occurred that I feel compelled to write about.

I was there on a paid 4 night stay as a Diamond member. Not that those things should make a difference in this situation, but just adding that information here for posterity.

I was scheduled to check out at 12 noon on February 6th, and I was changing hotels that day for a lower price, so I called down to the front desk to inquire on a possible late check out, since I was doing some remote work on my computer and I couldn’t check in at the next hotel until 3pm.

I asked for a 2pm checkout and the front desk clerk offered me 1pm. I said that was fine, thanked him, and hung up the phone.

At 11am, since I had to switch hotels and it wouldn’t be ideal for me to go to her apartment, my Costa Rican friend Ana was arriving to work with me (we do remote construction design work), and then to have lunch at the restaurant at the Doubletree. We were then going to leave there so I could get checked into the new hotel, and then continue working for a few hours.

As we had done the other few times previously, as soon as she arrived, we stopped at the front desk, and notified them that she would be visiting me, and as usual she handed her ID to the guy.

This is where things went south quick. The desk clerk took her ID and went in the back room, presumably to make a copy of it, which actually shouldn’t even have been necessary because they had done that several times before, and when he came back out front, he notified me that there would be a $60 charge to have a visitor.

Keep in mind that at this point it’s 11am, and I’m checking out of the hotel at 1pm! I looked at him in disbelief, actually at first thinking he was joking, and asked him “$60…for what? I’m checking out in 2 hours, and I’ve had visitors here before and have never heard of this”.

He offered no explanation, and just told me repeatedly that “that’s the policy.” He kept typing on his keyboard then said, “let me just print this out for you to sign”, and I replied “sign what? I’m not paying you $60, and I’ll also never stay at this hotel again”.

He quite obviously didn’t care at all, and at that point he told me “ok, well you are welcome to go to the restaurant.” Just totally dumbfounded, I told him no I won’t be spending any more of my money here, and that I would be leaving immediately.

I went back to my room and gathered my things, and I came back to the front desk. They had already prepared my bill, so the guy handed it to me in an envelope and we left.

I’m no detective, but based on the facts in this case, I’m going to make an educated guess as to this guys nonsensical thought process. He assumed that the only reason a local woman would possibly ever come to this hotel to visit a gringo, was to “fool around”. 

This is quite apparent, since the other times she had come to visit me, she was either with her boyfriend, who is also a good friend of mine, or another of our friends (also a male) who works with us. There was no “$60 visitor charge” for any of those visits.

So…since she had come alone this time, this goof decided she was a prostitute.

This brings a couple questions to mind:

Is this what these people think of their fellow Ticos?

Is the Doubletree Cariari the new Hotel Del Rey? (Do a search on that if you aren’t familiar)

This is so highly offensive to this young woman that I will certainly, out of principle, never stay at this property again. We’ll see what Hilton’s response to this is, if any?

The idea that this guy would prejudge this situation as anything other than what it was is an embarrassment. I don’t know if there is a problem at hotels here, and this “policy” is supposed to be some sort of deterrent, but this guy should have used better judgement.

If I’m wrong about the reason for the obscene charge, and it truly is a general visitor charge, then certainly they would have tried to extort this money from me on one of the other occasions that I had visitors. 

If not for the reason that I believe it to be, are hotels now charging guests for visitors? Is this the new “resort fee”?

Final Thoughts:

Even though I have stayed at this property for 14 nights this year alone, I’m sure they won’t miss me, but my hope is that I can spread the word about this nonsense, so others understand the type of people that are employed there. 

I can let a lot of things slide, and usually do, but this was, as far as I’m concerned, unacceptable treatment of a guest, and a frequent guest at that. Oh, and by the way, to make matters worse, they also overcharged me by about $80 for the stay…

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