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London Hostel

I made a booking this past winter at the St Paul's hostel in London for early in September. Last week I got this email from them : Further to your reservation here at St Pauls in September unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we are unable to accommodate you at St Pauls. YHA do however have several hostels in London and I would be more than happy to try and transfer your booking if you so wish.  
As September is an extremely busy time it would be appreciated if you would come back to me as soon as possible. I was confused and angry. In 30 years of travel I' ve never had this happen. Our trip was in just 3 months . I supposed I could have been flexible and tried to let them " try to transfer my booking ". But really why kind of help is that , to try . We had specific reasons for needing to be the vicinity of that hostel,and love to stay in the Rick Steves recommended ones . In a later email they told me the unforeseen circumstance was a malfunction in their booking program that allowed over booking of a large group of school children. Who knows if this is true or bogus, but I wasn't impressed. I feel they should have tried harder to get us something suitable since I was the one " unable to be accommodated " after having had a reservation booked for 4 months. Oh well live and learn , when wishing to travel in the 21st century anything is possible. We cancelled our trip and will travel in our own continent this year . Luckily for us we hadn't purchased our airfare

Posted by
9110 posts

Bummer. But it seems that their offer to transfer your reservation was magnificently stalwart. YHA hostels are rather uniformly good. What would have happened if you'd pursued it? Also with several tube stops five minutes away, you could have gotten to the area easily enough. Did you try to find anything else on your own? Could you still? What would you have done if they had no space when you initially made the reservation? With thirty years of travel experience , everything must have been goldenly perfect if you let a minor glitch cancel the trip. Lucky you.

Posted by
922 posts

I agree on two counts - it's a bummer to get cancelled, but they could have just dropped the reservation with less explanation and offered no help, and (2) what a shame - in the bigger scheme of things - to cancel a trip to London just because of a disappointment about one accommodation. It sounds like you may not have been terribly enthusiastic about the trip to begin with.

Posted by
6224 posts

I don't know the importance of this particular hostel to you and maybe I'm reading this incorrectly, but why would you not let them try to make it up to you by hooking you up elsewhere? They said they made an error and tried to do something about it. That sounds reasonable to me and I'm not sure where the anger and more than mild disappointment comes from (London has a great public transit system that makes it easy to navigate even from a different location). I think there's some key info missing from your post. Flexibility is the key to successful travel - stuff happens all the time. I made a mistake once and purchased hotel rooms from a shady intermediary (3rd party consolidator) and they went bankrupt and, hence, all the hotel reservations disappeared for thousands of people who booked from them. The hotel couldn't even notify me I didn't "exist" in their system anymore. It sucked, I lost money that VISA refunded (thankfully) and had to rebook my hotels. But it didn't ruin my trip in the end.