Beware When You Travel Abroad- Our Bad Experience in Copacabana Apartment Hotel, Surfers Paradise, Australia
The incident started when our group decided to negotiate with the building manager named, Michael to help extend our check out time on our last day so that we can leave our luggage there as we do our last minute shopping. He charged us AUD$60 for the deal.
Done with the shopping, we were back at the apartment around 5:30pm and discovered some of our luggage went missing.
We found out that the management took the luggage and left a note on the table stating that we did some damages in the units we were staying. The damages includes:
1- Broken toilet light bulbs
2- Damages on toilet vanity
Prior to this note, we actually reported to the management about the toilet light which stopped working on the 4th day of our stay. It was odd as we weren’t home the whole day and came back to see it’s not working is just unexplainable. But nobody came to repair although we reported it twice so we had to use it in the dark for the next 2 days.
In regards to the toilet vanity, it was already worn out since the first day we came as the wooden powder kept scattering on the floor each time the sink is used. Coincidentally, it gets worse during our stay as it came in contact with water. The sink was used only for facial wash and nothing more, but the damages seemed absurd for a 6 day-vacation (in which we seldom at home as our touring schedule is very packed).
For these two damages, Michael charged us AUD$1000, saying he has to replace the vanity with a brand new one. As we were rushing to catch our plane within the next 3 hours, we had no other choice but to negotiate with him about the payment. After a long negotiation and hot debate, he reduced the amount to AUD$400. We had to pay him using our last few cash to claim the luggage as soon as we can.
Ok let us see the situation, again…
First off, he 'stole' our luggage and forced us to pay him this ‘ransom’ for the damages which is based only on the possible circumstances that he could think of, without any proof that we did it. Knowing we were in desperate hurry to catch our plane, he insisted it was our fault, claiming we use too much of water to cause the vanity to break. The toilet light was broken as it was possible that we took our clothes and ‘swing’ it around the light or let our children play with the light, he said (seriously? Carry our babies and let them play with the light? And we have nothing else better to do?!).
Obviously, he had no work ethics as he entered our apartment a few times without prior notice when we weren’t home. Before the incident, some of the items in the house were displaced during our touring activities although there were no cleaning services offered / requested. Is it possible that someone entered and break these items in purpose to come out with these damages? I would say yes, definitely possible.
When we questioned him why he took the luggage, he said it’s because he doesn’t have our information and blamed it on Agoda. Again, he twisted his words because before that he warned my friend that we have to pay for the damages as he has all our credit card and other details that he could use against us.
His judgement and credibility is also questionable, especially when he blames on hotel guests. Never in my life have I encounter a building manager (who's supposed to keep guests comfortable) who blamed the guests for breaking some light bulbs!
Anyway, we lost AUD$400 for nothing, so I vowed to myself that I won’t keep my mouth shut about it which is why I would NOT recommend this Copacabana Apartment Hotel, in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia.
Other than that, please be careful when staying at hotels / apartments abroad and bear these in mind:
1- I've blacklisted Copacabana Apartment Hotel. The cheap price with complete facilities could possibly indicate that the apartment is just too good to be true, hence it's your risk to stay there.
2- Do not extend your check out time and leave your luggage unattended. In our case, the management knew that we were out the whole day before catching our flight, so this was the best time for him to find some reasons to make extra money from us during our desperate time.
3- Find out any luggage storage services available around the area you’re staying, better yet, the ones provided by the airport so that you can use their service before flight if needed.
4- Please make sure all the items, rooms and facilities provided in the hotel / apartment you're staying are in good condition once you got the key. If there are any fishy situations or if the facilities seemed shabby (even a bit), report it immediately to the management. This is to ensure that when it coincidentally break, you as the guest are not held responsible for the problem.
We learned a lesson the hard way so I do hope that the experience is worth sharing.