Review: Fairfield Inn and Suites, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
We were fortunate to be among the first to stay in this brand new Fairfield inn and Suites in Penticton, British Columbia. Our stay there had a few ups and downs, all of which were (mostly) resolved in the end.
This post is one chapter on our trip through the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada. This trip was booked using Marriott Bonvoy Points. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Trip Introduction: A Pandemic Inspired Road Trip Through the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada
- Overland Travel: Getting to Quilchena and Nicola Lake
- A Day of Fishing on Nicola Lake
- Fairfield Inn and Suites, Penticton, BC, Canada
- Floating the Penticton River Channel, Penticton, BC, Canada
- Okanagan Winery Region Visits at Church & State, Checkmate and Burrowing Owl
- Okanagan Winery Region Visits to La Frenz and La Stella
- Overland Travel: Penticton – Nicola Lake – Vancouver
Review: Fairfield Inn and Suites, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
“A nice new Fairfield Inn that is still… a Fairfield Inn.
As a new property, they seem to be going through some (hopefully) temporary teething issues”
We ended up at this place based on the recommendation of a work colleague. I was pretty happy about the idea of it since Marriott has no properties at this end of the Okanagan lake and it’s a break from all the regular urban properties I have tried up in Kelowna that include the Delta Grand, the Four Points by Sheraton and the Fairfield Inn Kelowna. Unfortunately, we had some usually bad billing issues with our stay which resulted in quite a substantial amount of unnecessary effort in order to put right.
Booking and Getting There:
We booked direct on the Marriott Website. With the intent to use up our free credit card nights, we booked under several Canadian American Express Marriott Bonvoy Free night voucher under my and MrsWT73’s names. As we were staying a few nights, we also had two paid night stays. The best available night was $161 CAD American Automobile Association (AAA) rate versus the regular rate at $205 CAD. It was during high season on our stay. Unfortunately, Marriott IT systems do not allow combining special (but regularly available) discounted rates with Marriott Bonvoy reward e-certificates so we booked under 4 separate back to back reservations to save us $44 CAD per night or $88 CAD total off of the best available Marriott Rewards members rate.
Arriving to the Property:
On arrival to the property, we had a friendly reception agent. I explained the reservation situation with the 4 back to back stays of which they acknowledged but didn’t appear to make any note of. As a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium, there were no suite upgrades available but we were advised to “feel free to check with the desk on each day of your stay”. We were asked to check back with them “every day” for reservation situation in dealing with the room assignment, or perhaps re-assignment.
The Fairfield Inn and Suites was a fresh brand new property having only opened in mid July 2020. It was a complete new build and not a re-flagging of another property. As a result, everything is smelling fresh and new. We led ourselves to our first room – Room #404.
The Room: Two Queens
The room is in modern colors of blue and grey and was reasonably comfortable.
The Bathroom in the “Two Queens” offered, rather smartly I thought, a combination bath and shower combo.
The room was on the quiet side of the building away from the frontage street. I found being at the back of the hotel was a little bit quieter than staying on the front side. As a tip, if you’re able to get a room facing the back, you’ll likely have a quieter stay experience.
The Room: King Room
On our second night, despite outlaying the 4 nights of consecutive reservations on our initial check in, we were asked to vacate our Two Queen room. I asked if we could keep the initial room assigned at the front desk and was told “Err the next guest has specifically requested Room #404”. I suppose the question could be asked why did we get assigned this room if they knew we were staying three additional nights, but that’s another matter entirely. We did a quick pack up and re-positioned to the king room. We ended up in the King Room for the next three nights.
Much like the Queen Room, the King Room was smartly attired in modern colors.
The King Room offered an upright stand up shower, unlike our Two Queens which offered a bath shower combination.
The toiletries in the room were the usual Paul Mitchell Branded Toiletries.
Both of the rooms offered both a Microwave and a Fridge.
It was a little shady as I happened to notice that Suites were available that evening and no upgrade was offered when we changed rooms, despite being on a one night booking. We transferred rooms at around 11 AM, I suppose it could also be argued that there were no suites available when we moved rooms as they were being cleaned. We didn’t get occupancy of the next room until later in the evening. I didn’t push for it given our schedule took us away from the hotel quite a bit and we were on 1 night reservations; meaning that we’d likely have to vacate the room within 24 hours. This was something we were actively trying to minimize but I thought that I’d mention it.
Indeed, on the top floor, there did not appear to be too many suite upgrade opportunities. The fourth floor itself did not appear to have any suites configured according to the fire diagram in the room.
Food and Beverage:
Much like all other Fairfield Inn’s, there is no on site restaurant at this property.
Typically, there is a breakfast served in the lobby. Thanks to the world wide pandemic, breakfast boxes weree being served in the lobby cafeteria in lieu of the usual included Fairfield inn breakfast bar.
Around the Property:
The property offered both a gym with free weights and an indoor pool.
There was also a small patio area at the back of the hotel, that was quite heavily used by guests during our stay. The patio area receives full warm sun until the early evening, making it a great gathering space.
Self parking was free at the hotel and I appreciated that we did not need the bureaucracy of a hotel parking pass to be displayed on our dashboard.
There is not much food and beverage in the immediate neighbourhood of this place. There is a Chevron Gas Station with a White Spot Triple “O”‘s burger bar across the street. There was also a Cascades Casino a short 4 minute walk form the hotel with a Match Eatery inside it that was completely closed during our visit due to the pandemic.
At the time of our stay, there were forest fires buring in British Columbia. They are typically set off by lightening. It was so bad that my boss had warned me to be careful on my trip as the scale of the fires was making the national news as much of the town of Penticton was under Evacuation Alert. It was the first time that I have had a Room with a View that included Forest Fires.
At the end of our stay(s), we checked out with an emailed folio. I asked at the front desk if the combined stays issue had been sorted and got a “I think my colleague took care of it” for an answer. I was satisfied with that (unfortunately), and with no reason to doubt it, and left for back home.
Our Accounting Issues and Eventual Resolution:
Upon returning home, I happened to notice by signing into my American Express account, that the hotel had charged us for three paid nights, instead of the two paid nights (and two e-certificates) that we had initially booked over our a four night stay. When we checked out, we were emailed a receipt for our last two nights stay. Since we had two paid nights, I didn’t think much of it until I was reconciling my receipts at home. After a little investigation, I noticed that the hotel had charged us for three paid nights on two separate invoices; treating one of the free e-certificate nights as a paid stay (but also taking the e-certificate).
I contacted the hotel directly to get this straightened out using the telephone number provided on the hotel invoices. There was no email address listed or available on the invoices. I left phone messages with the “front desk mailbox” on two occasions (a weekend and a week day) and never got a call back after 7 calendar days. Making my third call to follow up, not getting any response from the hotel, I escalated it by calling the Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Support line, who asked for 5 days to contact the hotel to get the matter sorted out.
I eventually returned a phone message left for me from the hotel, calling back the hotel for the third time (my fourth call to Marriott). They indicated that they had received the referral “from their boss” and would be following up. They asked for a week to get this sorted out as they needed a form of corporate approval. After I didn’t hear back from them after another 7 days, I called the hotel (my fifth call to to Marriott or their representatives) and they indicated that they were awaiting final approval from Marriott. They did call back within 24 hrs as promised and, with their apologies, indicated a refund would be forthcoming in the next 3 business days.
I did check and the refund of $167 CAD of the one night was refunded to my American Express account. However, the hotel didn’t refund the taxes and fees (State Occupancy Tax, Convention and Tourism Tax, and Occupancy Sales Tax) associated with the stay, which amounted to about $26.72 CAD. I didn’t bother further following up on this amount, deciding that the time and energy was better spent elsewhere.
About 38 days after my stay, I got an automated emailed invoice entitled “Your Sep 17, 2020 – Oct 01, 2020 Stay at Fairfield Inn & Suites Penticton”. I had a small panic since our stay was in August and this period was for fourteen days. On this receipt, there was a refund of the room and taxes. Sure enough, some 41 days after our stay, the taxes refund turned up.
For some reason, my stay and night credits posted out of sequence to by Marriott Bonvoy account. One stay posted after 7 days where as the other one took 13 days to automatically post. I wasn’t prompt on following up with the missing stays given the other billing issues were in the process of being followed up.
In the end, the issues were mostly resolved. However, it took 5 phone calls, a substantial amount of chasing them including escalation to corporate and some twenty three days to make it partially right. Issues with the stay were persisting and eventually finalized after the forty one day mark. As someone that spends 75 nights a year in hotels, this was hardly something that I was enthusiastic about dealing with.
We enjoyed our short four day stay at the property. Unfortunately, as new as the Fairfield Inn is and the new car smell that comes with staying in a new property, it’s still a stay at a Fairfield Inn. While everything is clean and new, it’s not a super aspirational stay.
As indicated. we did experience some headaches with room adjustments and over billing that took several phone calls, time and several weeks of follow up in order to get resolved. As a result, I’m a touch reluctant to consider staying again on anything other than a straight forward reservation given the billing headaches that came with our stay. Hopefully, this is just a management team that is growing into a property and that they’ll be up to scratch real soon. Otherwise, this would be a great addition to Marriott’s portfolio and I look forward to staying again as the hotel grows into maturity.