Mourn­ing re­make, price hike at fa­vorite ho­tel

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - TRAVEL - By Kerri Westen­berg

My fam­ily re­turns to Santa Mon­ica, Calif., al­most an­nu­ally. But since we moved from there 15 years ago, the place has gone posh. A Block­buster we fre­quented is now a spa, and the UPS store has turned into a place de­voted to pearl jew­elry.

For long­time res­i­dents that might be a prob­lem. For vis­i­tors, not so much — un­til the same trans­for­ma­tion takes place at their fa­vorite ho­tel.

For years, we’d stayed at a ho­tel that had been pricier than we’d like, but man­age­able. We shelled out year af­ter year be­cause it was near our old rental house, so we were back in the old neigh­bor­hood. We liked the fa­mil­iar­ity.

We last stayed there Thanks­giv­ing week­end 2018. And af­ter we left for the air­port, man­age­ment locked the doors and called in the con­trac­tors. The ho­tel was go­ing through a ma­jor face-lift, and we were the last guests out the old doors. And now we’ll never walk through the new doors. Room rates have nearly dou­bled.

Sure, the up­dated place looks great, but I want the faded so­fas back and the more af­ford­able rate that went with them.

Af­ter learn­ing of the price hike, I went through the clas­sic stages of grief: de­nial, anger, bar­gain­ing, de­pres­sion and ac­cep­tance.

The bar­gain­ing stage bogged down when I was promised a lower rate, but the man­ager who had made the prom­ise failed to re­turn my calls when I tried to book.

That dis­cour­tesy ac­tu­ally made the fi­nal stage eas­ier: ac­cep­tance. So did Google. At google.com/maps, I in­put the old Santa Mon­ica ad­dress, clicked the “nearby” but­ton in the search col­umn, then clicked “ho­tels” and the map was pop­u­lated with op­tions. Af­ter cross-check­ing Tri­pAd­vi­sor re­views, I landed at a great, nearby al­ter­na­tive ho­tel.

TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

Santa Mon­ica has be­come more posh in re­cent years, lead­ing to price in­creases at ho­tels in town.

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