Hotel Capital Kota Kinabalu: Our Worst Nightmare

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I did promise a nasty review before we checked out, didn't I?

As I said in my previous post, our hotel reservation was done the last minute. I looked online and found several options on My first choice was Hotel Eden 54. Unfortunately, they informed me that they're fully booked on the dates I requested.

And so I found Hotel Capital in Kota Kinabalu. The pictures suggest that the hotel is pretty decent. The rates were well within our budget. A good review from a former colleague finally convinced me to book a room for three nights. I paid through PayPal. Excellent. We're all set.

Little did I know that this hotel was going to give me one of the worst experiences in my life.

Upon arrival, we were not greeted hello. Nobody assisted us right away. We had to wait for this lady on the phone to help us. After 5 minutes, she finally gave us our keycard.

As we were walking away from the reception area, a European couple approached the desk and complained about not having running water in their bathroom. Melai and I looked at each other and said, 'Did you just hear what I think I heard?'

When we got inside the room, we were excited. The view we got was good. The room was okay for the amount we paid. But when we checked the bathroom - THERE WAS NO WATER! This means the entire hotel didn't have water!

To make matters worse, the air-conditioning was also not working.

We were told by the receptionist that water SHOULD be back at around 10pm. So we decided to grab some dinner first. We went to Suria Sabah mall for dinner. We went back to the hotel at around 930pm.

When it was finally 10pm, we called up the front desk again to let them know that we STILL did not have water in the bathroom. The person on the phone didn't seem to know what to tell us. On the other hand, we were tired and sweaty and wanted to take a bath so badly.

At that point, I had to make a decision. I called up Agoda (thank God they have a 24/7 customer service number) to cancel the reservation and ask for my money back. The agent was so nice. He called the hotel and cancelled the booking. I received a confirmation email minutes later. (Thank you Agoda!)

The worst part: the hotel personnel DID NOT even apologize! They only told me that the reservation was cancelled and that I will be refunded. (What's even worse is the refund to my debit card will take 7 business days, thanks to PayPal's refund policy.)

Now we have a huge problem: it's almost midnight and we were walking around Sabah looking for rooms. For some strange reason, almost every hotel we walked into said they're fully booked!

I found that a bit odd: if the hotels are all fully booked then how come there are no people on the streets during the day? Are they just hanging out in their rooms watching TV?

After about an hour or so, we went to Sarangnova Hotel on Gaya Street. They didn't have rooms available for that night but they have one available for the rest of our trip. We booked those dates immediately - we were only required to pay a deposit of 50RM. (A full review on Sarangnova hotel will follow.)

The problem isn't quite solved yet. We still have to figure out where to stay for the night. After spending another hour walking in and out of hotels, we ended up booking a room at Hotel Garden. The room looked like a hospital ward but we didn't have the energy to complain.

But we were determined not to end our night with a silly hotel mishap. We put on our happy faces and went to a local bar and got freaking wasted. (FYI Tiger beer is their most popular beer. It tastes like Red horse beer in Manila. Gives you the same kick too.)

That wraps up Day 1 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

You might also like: Trip to Seoul, South Korea

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