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Would You Pay $999 A Night To Get Away From Irene?

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 370 4th Avenue [map], Brooklyn, NY, United States, 11215
August 30, 2011 at 9:50 AM | by | ()

Yesterday, we gave a mention to NYC hotels who put on a brave face for hurricane-afflicted guests. But it's not all free breakfasts, goodie bags, and general hotel humanitarianism. The NY Daily News reported on a scary case of hotel swindling that took place over in Brooklyn (evacuation zone C, in case you were wondering).

Before we name the actual hotel who was caught charging stranded guests a spine-tingling $999 per night, we have to ask: in this day and age, is it really worth taking advantage of helpless hotel guests just to make a few extra hundred bucks? Inevitably, once the panic is over and the storm has passed, bad reviews will pop up, horror stories will make the rounds, and a once-passable mid-range hotel's reputation will be irrevocably besmirched. Yes, we said it.

The monochrome evildoer in question is the Hotel Le Bleu, an eight-story hotel located near Park Slope, Brooklyn, that usually charges around $229-$279 per night. That's quite a difference from the jacked-up rates that were flying around this weekend during the worst of the Irene-inspired hysteria.

And that's without the rooftop bar, Vue, which closed back in March 2010. So all you're really getting with this place is a room on a desolate stretch of Brooklyn, without much in walking distance. Then again, in a hurricane, you're probably not likely to make use of a rooftop bar. But still!

The Daily News reports:

"'It was just because of [the] high demand,' said an employee, who would not give her name. 'A lot of hotels did that.'

But about 10 blocks away, at the Fairfield Inn & Suites on Third Ave., the rates remained unchanged from the usual $240 a night.

An employee at the Fairfield Inn said about 30% of the guests who arrived there Saturday night were people seeking shelter from Irene's torrential rains, but none of them was charged a premium rate."

UPDATE, 10:34am: Hotel Le Bleu has released a statement denying any occurence of a $999-per-night rate, saying the most they have ever charged for a room was $399.

"Our hotel never posted a $999 rate on our website or quoted any person on the phone of such rate. This was strictly an Expedia published rate and we are now going back thru the proper channels to investigate what caused the hotel unnecessary scrutiny with our loyal guests and most importantly, the community we dearly love.

The highest rate any guest paid this past weekend at our sold-out hotel was $269/night. We've been in business for four years and the highest rate our hotel has ever charged is $399/night and that was on New Year's Eve."

What do you think? Is it right to charge so much when guests are left stranded by a category three hurricane? Let us know your thoughts below!

Archived Comments:

Price Gouging

This is the definition of price gouging.  Laws regarding the legality of such actions vary state by state.  I am not sure how they work in NY, but anyone who paid that rate should consider filing a report with the AG.

United We Stand...

We all live on this planet together.  When the planet rears up and takes a swat at us, it's only by standing together and helping one another that we will survive.  People helping people, and that includes corporations!! (Right, Mr. Romney?) This is nothing but unbridled greed. And it is a microcosm of what's wrong with this country, and what's going to be even wronger in the future, unless we get a handle on these greedmongers.

Yes United

Rates of a resort should not change becasue of these problems, we never changed our prices <a href="http://www.bahamabeachclub.com">http://www.bahamabeachclub.com</a>

Did Anyone Actually Pay It?

Sometimes, especially with cash only for the room, it is the front desk employee skimming but here a hotel employee is quoted trying to defend the gouging.  And, yes, maybe many hotels were doing this -- raising rates probably to $349-$379 but not to $999.