Tonight is Our Honeymoon, An Upgrade Would be Nice!

For nearly a decade whenever we found ourselves in Penticton, British Columbia or nearby we talked about staying the night at The Penticton Lakeside Resort but we always found a better deal elsewhere in a nearby accommodation at a vineyard or guest lodge. However on this particular road trip I had gone past windshield concentration and was slowly getting angrier at the annoyance of driving. Also our normal budget conscious plans were being demolished before our eyes as our hopes to stick around $150.00 CAD for the night like the previous one in Castlegar was rapidly going down the shitter with every kilometre we drove towards Penticton.

Shauna had diligently scoured the internet looking for a budget friendly price around the requested budget but was coming up short and getting more frustrated as the minutes wound around the clock. Then I spotted a sign for the Penticton Visitor Centre and decided perhaps a nice local might have a good recommendation for the night.

We pulled the Tacoma into the parking lot near the corner of Westminster Avenue West and Power Street. Shutting off the truck she looked at me like what my choices aren’t good enough for you, that you have to get someone else’s opinion. Reading between the lines I said, “I have to use the bathroom. One too many 1.5 litres of water.”

Walking to the front door the sign read “Closed at 5:00pm” we were precisely 35 minutes late and I withdrew my phone and began the hotel search myself. My eyes blinked then blinked again. Of course she was right, there were no self respecting hotels near our nightly budget.

The five hotel choices within a five block radius of our current location ranged from a 4-star hotel along the beach front and lake shore to a no-tell motel a block and a half of our current position. Prices ranged from $300 to $185. How could a dive motel be $185 and for $115 more you could opt to stay at a 4-star hotel which included parking and breakfast?

  • The Penticton Lakeside Resort
  • The Days Inn
  • The Sandman Hotel
  • Hotel Penticton
  • Riverside Hotel

Making up my mind I punched the 4-star hotels number 250-493-8221 into the keypad and a few minutes later it was received by an automated voice messenger; please press one for cancelations, press two for existing reservations, press three for concierge, press four for valet or press five for new reservations, if you… Immediately hearing #5, I pushed the button on the cellphone. Then flipped it to speaker phone as the soft jazz tunes came out the speaker.

“Which hotel are you calling?” she asked trying to figure out what the new budget was for the night. Not trying to get into an argument I waived my hand and the cellphone said, “please hold the line an agent will be with you momentarily,” then it went back to the smooth jazz.

Knowing it might take twenty minutes or more to be on hold, I pulled up their website and noticed a deal for 20% off the daily rate if you booked your room online. My fingers began deftly moving around their website picking a double queen with a balcony lake side and mountain views. That should make up for the last hours shitty mood in the truck, I thought as she peeked into my hand still trying to figure out what hotel I was pursuing.

Look, I know I said $150 but… sometimes you just have to go with it and upgrade to whatever is available. Right now is one of those moments,” I smiled and continued pushing buttons through the online reservation whilst listening to smooth jazz.

She pulled a long draw on her water bottle and walked away to stretch and probably curse me out in her own thoughts.

Six and a half minutes later I was punching in my credit card number for the room and as I watched the ball spinning around accepting the information it finally spat out a confirmation number and a “Thank you for choosing The Penticton Lakeside Resort” followed by a “We’ll see you soon.”

Depressing the hang up button on the phone, I looked across the tailgate and poured myself another cup of water out of the 5-gallon jug then pushed it into the bed and closed the tailgate. “Looks like we have ourselves a nice room for the night, let’s go check-in then I’ll take you out to dinner. How’s that sound?” She nodded and we climbed back into the Tacoma.

Eight minutes later we pushed down on the turn signal lever and turned into the parking lot at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. Are you friggin’ serious right now? You picked this place?” Her disbelief came through with a giant ear to ear grin. She couldn’t help herself.

Lets go check-in!” I said, “then we can grab our bags and head up to the room.” She smiled shaking her head and hopped out the passenger side. Closing the door she spun around on the sidewalk. “You know, had you said double the budget, I would have picked this place like an hour ago!” I kissed her cheek, pressed the lock on the key and said, “I know…”

We walked into the lavish hotel lobby hand in hand with no cares in the world because tonight we were going to finally experience this 4-star lakeside hotel in the heart of downtown Penticton.

Standing in line awaiting one of the four hotel clerks to call us over we fumbled around our eyes wandering back and forth people watching and taking in the magnificent lobby.

“Hello, how are you nice folks doing tonight? It’s a fine evening, isn’t it?” Margaret began then asked, “do you have a hotel reservation?” Correct, we have a reservation” I replied then, “you are right it is a great evening because it’s our honeymoon and an upgrade would be nice!” Shauna squeezed my hand, as a warning sign not to say anymore because she didn’t like lying. It was a small omission I thought while squeezing her hand back, our honeymoon was back in April, okay our 14th wedding anniversary but whose counting that now? Surely not Margaret!

Oh I see, That is wonderful when did you get married?” Margaret said followed by, just give me a couple of seconds as it seems I cannot find your reservation.” We smiled back at her and informed it might be because the reservation was made about eight-minutes ago whilst we drove into Penticton, and that we were married in Banff. At least that part is true!

She excused herself and ducked behind the wall to go locate the new keycards. When she returned she had the night manager in tow. They began punching the keyboard and pulling the mouse left and right looking for the reservation within the system. “When did you say the reservation was made?” said the night manager with the gold name tag Tracy.

“About twelve minutes ago whilst standing in the Penticton Visitor’s Centre parking lot,” Shauna said to which I followed with, “Did Margaret tell you it’s our honeymoon tonight and we were hoping for the royal upgrade as that sure would be nice!” She paused looking at the computer screen to see our cheesy grinning faces before her.

Although we do appreciate your humour, the unfortunate truth is we are fully booked this weekend and wouldn’t be able to provide you with a royal upgrade. However I do believe we located your reservation and room. I’ll just step around the corner to get your keycards prepped,” said Tracy.

Another five minutes or so, slipped past as Margaret prepared our initial room statement, gave us the low-down on the WiFi and provided us with a list of accessible restaurants, their opening hours, the gym, the pool and the hot tub. Tracy appeared and handed us the two key cards in their foldable cardboard holder.

WiFi password: lakesideresort_guest Log-in: Room number

Back at the Tacoma we pulled around the parking lot then headed for the covered parking area. We spotted an open space near the parking machine and backed him in for the night. We grabbed our bags, tossed the sticker on the dash and headed back to the lobby to grab an elevator up to the 3rd floor.

Inside the elevator we idly chatted with a couple ten-years my senior who had been in Penticton for the past week for a friends second wedding. They informed how lovely this side of the Okanagan Valley was and wished us a pleasant stay.

We stepped out of the elevator, read the plaque with the arrows point left or right depending on your room number and determined we were headed right.

Down the hallway we passed a loud group of young women all dressed up and wearing penis earrings, a sachet that read “the bachelorette’s last night” and a large purse with balloons and other paraphernalia popping out. We smiled at them and they smiled back as we split the hallway in two and walked on by.

“Do you remember those nights,” I said to Shauna’s backside as we approached room 311. Turning left she withdrew one of the keycards and slid it into the magnetic reader, pulling it back the LED turned green followed by a clicking sound of the lock giving way. She pushed the handle down and pushed the door inwards.

The door opened before us as I began to say, “I’m SUPER EXCITED to see what the view on the balco…” but before I could finish my sentence we both stopped dead in our tracks. There were clothes everywhere on the floor, the walls, hanging off lamps and suitcases turned over in the hallway. It was total chaos a literal tornado.

SHIT!! SHIT!! Close the door,” said I, as she yanked back on the handle with more strength then she had opened it with. “Did you see that?” she says as the door clicked closed, “its like someone dieeeed in there!! What was that smell? Oh man it reminds me of…” her voice trailed off as we headed back down the hallway towards the elevator.

“Have you ever had that happen to you?” she asked as we waited for the elevator to reappear and take us back downstairs. On the elevator we conversed about this being the first place in the ENTIRE WORLD were we had this experience. Then we giggled about it being a 4-star hotel as the doors opened and we stepped back into the luxurious foyer.

Someone was just finishing up with Margaret and as they peeled aside I stepped in front of the next couple and excused my sort of rude behaviour then said, “Hey Margaret. Long time no see,” trying to break the what was about to be said to her. “It appears whomever was supposed to check out last night from room #311, forgot to leave because that room looks like my younger brothers room did when he was twelve! Clothes everywhere, suitcases open and turned upside down, beer cans on every surface and the TV is still on,” said Shauna.

Horrified by the news, Margaret excused herself and headed for the back room. A moment later Tracy appeared with Margaret in tow. They stepped up to the computer and keyboard banding on both trying to figure out how they got this assignment wrong.

“I’m sorry folks,” she began starring at the screen, “it shows they were supposed to check out this morning and per the computer it shows that room as available.” Tracy continued punching keys into the keyboard and moving the mouse frantically trying to make heads of this weird situation. She informed about the wedding parties, and local events attracting the early summer tourists. We nodded our understanding and informed “this is why we usually travel in the shoulder season.” Then all of us laughed out loud.

“Just to recap. You opened the door and it is a mess?” Tracy asked. Before I could respond Shauna says, “it looks like a tornado came through the room. Lampshades are on the floor, the TV was on, beer cans everywhere, underwear, jeans, boots, socks and more. You name it and it was visible. They certainly had a REALLY GREAT party up there last night!!…” Tracy grimaced when hearing this explanation then apologized for being sent to that unforeseen room.

Shauna now sensing terror in Tracy’s disposition as her fingers continued to pound on the keyboard says to her, “you know. Its a good thing we are not like some of those other 4-star travellers who usually stay here because they’d probably want their money back, a free nights stay and they’d be awfully rude to you right now. But not us. We have are well seasoned global travellers. Although we were both saying how ironic it is that this experience we are currently having happened in our home country at this prestigious lakeside resort... I mean other than that..” she let the sentence dangle before them.

Tracy finally looked up from her computer and smiled at us both in her best effort not to seem condescending then said, “give me two quick seconds to re-key your room keys and I’ll let you know where you will be staying.” She walks away and returns with the new keys in a new card holder. Before she started talking, I said to her, Looks like you should have agreed earlier with the upgrade when we requested it. Ironic how fast karma works for some people,” as I began to laugh which made everyone else around us laugh too.

“We are truly sorry about what has occurred and you both have been very patient with this,” Tracy began saying as Shauna squeezed my hand knowing full well what was coming next, “I’ve upgraded you into one of our suites in the West wing. We are very excited to offer you this upgrade for your “honeymoon” and for all the “interesting things you saw upstairs, and we hope this upgrade will help you forget all about this odd debacle by morning.”

Then she handed over the set of keycards and explained how we were to get to the West Wing as it is an entirely separate new building across the parking lot. This suite came with a late checkout of noon, and a hot breakfast in the Buffalo Head Cafe between 6:00am and 9:30am. Again they were truly apologetic for what transpired and wished us wonderful stay.

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb