I haven’t blogged in twenty days. It isn’t because I haven’t been traveling, because I have. It isn’t because I have not had anything of substance to share, because there has been so much to tell. Anger is the reason for my absence. Honestly, I needed some time to cool down and time to process the fact that we were robbed at a trusted hotel. So, today is day 355 of the Nowhere To Be Project, and I think I’m finally ready to share the details of the robbery we experienced at Kimpton’s Palomar Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.
Let me begin by stating that I have had a love affair with the Kimpton chain for years. I love that they are both pet friendly and borderline luxurious. I love their quirkiness and the remarkable uniqueness of each property. I love that their goal seems to be to make travel even more fun than it already is. I always felt that their mission was perfectly aligned with my life as a constant and curious traveler (and one who almost always has a huge rescued service dog with me). My adoration makes what I am about to share even more upsetting and perhaps that is why I’ve held off for so long.
My husband, the pooch and me decided to take a break from our months long west coast winter RV trip in Phoenix (after seemingly endless rain and frigid air). We chose to pop into the city specifically because it had a Kimpton. We called in advance of making the reservation to inquire about RV parking because not all locations offer it. We were welcomed wholeheartedly and told that the hotel had recently obtained an adjacent lot for the secure parking of their guest’s oversized vehicles. With our typically pre-visit inquiry satisfied, we booked two nights.
Upon arriving at the hotel, the valet directed my husband to the specific spot and told him to pull in nose first. The lot is visible from the valet stand and we could literally see our RV from the lobby. We were assured by the friendly staff, as we tossed them the keys to the castle, that they would take good care of our home on the road. The whole experience seemed almost too good to be true for the bargain price of just over $100 per night (we reasoned that the price we were offered was so low because we are frequent guests). Unbeknownst to us in that moment, it was, in fact, too good to be true.
Flash forward to the following morning. It was 8am and I was lingering in the plush bed after weeks of sleeping in my RV above-the-cabin cubby hole bed. I was awakened by a phone call from the front desk clerk who was in search of my husband. She told me that the police had arrived to assess the damage to our RV and that he needed to meet with them. I quickly figured out that he had been out with the dog and noticed that our bicycles had been cut from our rig during the night. He reported this to the valet (who was still in eye-shot of the rig) and the police were called.
The police said that, given the area, we were lucky that the damage was only $3000 and that no one had taken up residence in our motorhome. What?!? How could this have happened when the 24-hour valet staff could see our RV? Safety patrol agents who work for the city of Phoenix told us that the hotel “was reckless” in directing us to park in a “known homeless camp”. Again, what?!? We had been told that this lot was secure and that was patrolled and that it was managed by Kimpton and…
Needless to say, our time in Phoenix was ruined. The police had hoped to find our bikes at the homeless shelter one block over. No such luck. Despite repeatedly asking to speak to management at the hotel, we were only able to converse with front desk staff. They apologized, comped our two nights, submitted a claim to their insurance company and told us to expect a call within in few days about potential reimbursement for the $3000 Trek road bikes. It is now over two weeks later and we are still waiting for that call.
The love affair is over. I feel betrayed. The trust I had in the Kimpton brand dissolved in the aftermath of the theft of our bicycles. It crumbled as they fumbled through awkward apologies and declarations that their hands were tied because it is not their lot. What?!? The trust evaporated when the ball was passed to someone who has yet to reach out to us, AND as we were refused the option to connect with management.
I think I speak for all travelers when I state that trust is an unspoken yet integral element of travel loyalty. We trust that we’re safe in the hands of the companies we select (and return to year after year) to help us execute our travel fantasies. Simply stated, Kimpton shattered that trust with their mishandling of this unfortunate episode. What a shame, for me and for them.