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November 18, 2020- by Steven E. Greer
In October of 2019, I made my annual West Coast trip to Los Angeles. I also spent several days in Palm Springs at the La Quinta resort.
When I checked into La Quinta, I was pleased with the pretty scenery and nice stand-alone villa. However, I was appalled at the golf management. They were still overseeding and did not bother to tell me when I booked the reservation. Only two of the five courses were open, and those were cart-path-only making it impossible to play. The Nicklaus course had extreme elevation changes from one side of the fairway to another. If one hit a tee shot to the side opposite the path, they had to take the entire bag to the ball because yardages could not be estimated.
This year, I waited until November to take my trip thinking I would avoid the overseeding problem. I chose the Hilton-run Boulders Resort & Spa on North Scottsdale, Arizona. Again, I was pleased by the scenery and stand-alone villas. However, the bait-and-switch scams employed by resorts for decades are now out of control due to the financial struggles of hotels caused by the lockdowns.
I was also surprised to learn that the courses were still cart-path-only. So, it seems that desert courses are only fully functional for a few months out of the year. But they won’t tell you this. Be sure to inquire.
In general, hotels across the globe treat guests as sheep to be fleeced. The extra fee scams started in Las Vegas, I think, where tourists have always been the mark to be robbed as soon as they step off of the plane. The hotel industry copied the extra-fee scams used by the airlines and began these illegal “resort fees”. Crooked congress allowed it to go unchecked. So, now they are expanding these secret fees into things like “water fees” on the golf course. Courses in the desert are charging additional $30 fees to the $200 greens fees for water.
Below is the letter I sent to the general manager of the resort and CEO of Hilton. I will never stay in a resort again. It is a shame too, because the concept of golf resorts, or resorts in general, is a good one that has been ruined by crony capitalism and corrupt congress.
Sally Shaffer, General Manager, Hilton Boulders Resort & Spa
Dear Ms. Shaffer,
I am currently a guest at your Boulders resort. I am writing to express my outrage over a discovery I made while looking at my online banking and charges made by this resort.
I came to this property for the golf. I chose this time of the year because that is when the overseeding should be out of the way. Instead, I was surprised to learn that it is still cart-path-only, which means one has to walk long distances to the golf ball, not knowing the yardage, and guess at which clubs to bring. For balls that might be lost on the opposite rough, it is more challenging.
Because I was already here and had few options, I decided to try to play your courses. I asked what the greens fees were and someone told me $120. However, they made a concerted effort to never give receipts or show the prices being charged. Now, I know why.
I checked my bank account. I have been charged $220 per round. I inquired and they said that a “water fee” was added. This is more of the illegal hotel industry practices of bait and switching customers once they arrive. You all have gotten away with it for “resort fees” and now you are extending it t the golf course.
If I had known of these prices and mystery charges, I would have found any number of other better courses nearby with no cart path restrictions.
Mind you, this is all in addition to the obvious scam being perpetrated by Hilton, exploiting the pandemic as an excuse t cut costs by not offering maid service. When I checked in and you deducted $3,000, I was not informed of this policy. Only after you took my money did your front desk tell me “Oh, by the way, we will not be sending in housekeeping all week due to COVID” There is not a scintilla of science to back up your policy. It is clear that the hotel industry is in a crisis and you are cutting back on essential services.
I deal with senior members of federal government. I am going to share with them this email to you and urge that no federal tax dollars be used to bail out the hotel industry. I am also filing a complaint with the Arizona AG office.
Steven E. Greer