Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Read the Fine Print

This is my final post about our weekend in Fujairah and I'm choosing to share it because it's a good example of the cultural/language/perception mix ups that happen over here all the time. With so many different cultures, nationalities, religions, etc. it's a wonder we can communicate at all sometimes! ;)

In looking for a hotel for our trip, I started out with Orbitz, which is what I've used most often in the states. Orbitz works just fine, but I've also found a different site called, which has better rates than Orbitz. I found a few of the luxury resorts, but because we would spend most of our time on the dive boat, we opted for cheap, so I made a reservation at Carlton Furnished Apartments and provided my credit card number to secure the room.

We found the place easy enough as it's located on the road from Dibba to Khor Fakkan and has a huge sign above the supermarket where it is located. There's a lot of construction around the area, so you actually have to park at the supermarket and then squeeze around the side of the building to get to the apartments.

Okay, we made it - whew! When we checked in, they wanted one of us to leave either a credit card or ID with them for the duration of our stay. Seemed a little weird as I had already paid for the room by credit card on so we argued and finally reached a compromise that they could make a copy of our passports. There was no way we were leaving our IDs with anyone.

We got up to our room to find a very clean place ... with two twin beds! Well, I guess a romantic weekend away wasn't going to happen. ;) But, you get what you pay for and this place was a fraction of the cost of staying at one of the resorts. On our way back down to get some dinner, we were again asked to leave a form of ID and we again refused - I suggested some kind of deposit and they suggested that I could leave the full room price for our 2 day stay! Brian said okay, we'll bring it down later, and then we conveniently forgot about it. I know, not very nice, but this just seemed ridiculous - were they afraid we were going to trash the place or something?

We had a nice stay there, aside from the power going out 3 different times (once in the middle of a movie we were watching on TV). Check out time and we haul our bags out to the car. I went back in to sign off for the room and return the key and the desk clerk tells me I owe him the price of the rooms. I said, "no, I paid for the rooms already with my credit card through" and he said, "you did? I don't have that noted here, let me call." I had brought my confirmation email with me, so I pulled that out to show him the receipt for payment ...   ...   ...  and it said clearly that I needed to pay in full and in cash upon arrival!  Oh dear.  Now I finally understood what all the fuss was about the other day.  And I was really embarrassed. After profuse apologies on my part as well as the full payment in cash (thank goodness I had enough cash!) I slinked out of there to tell Brian the story.

Next time, I'll read the fine print on my booking confirmation!

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