Management Billing Problems A review of SHERATON CHARLOTTE HOTEL

I am a United States Marine Corps combat photojournalist and I recently stayed at the Blake Hotel in Charlotte for the 2006 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association men's and women's basketball tournament. We were there for recruiting purposes.

I made my reservation on or about the 27th of February, 2006 for 1-5 March with a check out on the 5th. That was 4 nights.

Background - The Blake Hotel was previously the Adam's Mark and had gone under new management. A large disclaimer sign was posted in the lobby basically stating to forgive them for any inconveniences as they were under transition. That was fine. I expected a little less than usual.

My stay there was way less than usual. During my stay, I experienced two black bed bugs, no coffee makers in rooms, construction noise, the smell of marijuana use permeating throughout the hotel, no restaurant (aside from a little snack shop which had chips, soda, and a few sandwiches and other small snacks), no water in the exercise facility, rooms which were not complete (only the bed frame was present for one member of my party), employees delivering garbage bags of ice because there was only one ice macine, only one entry way as all others were secured and several other events and items I will refrain from explaining.

At first, I didn't care about those things as I was there for only a few days on business. Again, I didn't care until I experienced a bad reservation and billing process that I want to describe to readers.

My check out was typical of any of the hundreds of checkouts I have experienced throughout my life's travels. They charged my government charge card and I quickly reviewed my statement which didn't show a complete timeline of my initial check-in to check-out (The dates of 1, 2, 3, 4 March).

I figured it was a small printing error and thought nothing of it. The signing of my hotel bill was not on the statement itself but on a receipt that you would find paying at a restaurant (small 2x3-inch with carbon copy).

After a few days, I attempted to process my travel claim when I noticed a discrepency in my bill and credit card statements. They charged me for the 28th of February for $159.00 and double-charged me for the 3rd of March at 2x$179.00 (double-charge was found after my conversations with general manager).

Granted, I may and I stress "may" have rectified my billing problem had I examined it closer at check out but I had plane to catch. I still think it wouldn't have been rectified.

Regardless of that, a hotel can and should reverse or reimburse a person if they have a legitimate discrepency. They should do what is right. However, according to Lily Sirkin, general manager, I signed my receipt and there was nothing I could do.

I beg to differ. I told her I had my reservation confirmation number but she said it was too late as it goes away when you check in. Well then how can a person refer to their reservation. Why don't they keep that on record?

I am still battling the Blake. All I want is for them to reverse the charges for the night I didn't stay and for the double charge on the third of March, which again I only found out after speaking with Sirkin. I am sure she will do that.

The Blake isn't up to speed with their billing and reservation processing. I strongly believe they need to review policies on transaction discrepencies. Until then, they are a long, long, long way from advertising themselves as a four star hotel.

I don't think the corporate office in New York really cares. It smells like slum lord management or ownership. Negative reviews date back to November of 2005. I will post photos as soon as possible.

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