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Hotel Policies for 18-21 yo

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NM

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As some may have gathered from some of my previous posts/threads, I am acting as travel adviser for MiniNM#3 at the moment. She decided that after completing high school she was not interested in partying at the Gold Coast for "Schoolies Week" so she and a friend decided to travel (read: use Dad's AA miles) to Canada for a holiday. Her friend is Canadian and they planned to stay with her relatives and friends for most of the stay. All good and a wonderful concept that I fully support.

MiniNM#3 needed to return home a little earlier than originally planned as she has to start her new career in mid January rather than what we originally expected would be a normal university commencement of late February when making the flight bookings many many months ago. So it cost me a few more AA miles but I managed to find her flights home (in JAL F class via NRT), which also involves a few nights in LA as she wants a day at Disney Land. I went to use IHG Rewards points for a few nights in LA, but when trying to make the booking on-line I had to check a box that said that at least one of the guests would be over the age of 21 years. She will be on her own and is 18 years old, so I could not honestly check that box.

So I called IGH Rewards to enquire and the helpful agent said she could make the booking for me and that there is not problem so long as she is 18yo (under 18 may be a problem). So I had her make the booking for me and that way I did not need to make any false declaration about the guest's age. So why would the web site state the need for over 21 when the IHG Rewards program and hotel does not impose such as restriction?

Then MiniNM#3 contacted me yesterday asking if I could find them accommodation for 1 night at Banff. They are planning a few days there but the friend/relative they will be staying with cannot accommodate them until a particular day (as already arranged) but being the responsible adults they are, they checked the weather conditions for the next week and found that the day they need to travel to Banff is expected to be nasty weather and they would prefer to travel the day before to avoid the bad weather. So they need to stay one extra night in Banff. The best they could find was a backpacker hostel with shared accommodation and they really did not like the sounds of that. So the rescue call to Dad came though. I located a reasonable deal at a proper hotel (not a hostel) for about $15 more than the hostel price - perfect. Started the booking process through a generic hotel booking website that uses PriceLine as the back-end (not direct with the hotel as the site had 25% discount that was not available directly from the hotel) and decided I should actually read the Terms and Conditions, and there again was a constraint that the guest must be over 21 years.

I called the hotel directly and asked about this policy. They had not heard of any such policy and their hotel policy is that at least one person must be over 18yo. They were very happy to have 2 x 18yo sharing a room and said to go ahead and book it. The confirmation from the booking site says "The reservation holder must be 21 years of age or older".

It seems many of the on-line systems just impose this 21yo limit in their terms and conditions regardless of the actual hotel's policy. So I suggest contacting the hotel directly to clarify any such restrictions. I was not comfortable just accepting the on-line terms and conditions without checking directly with the hotel first.
 

clazman

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I wonder if the T&C's are tied into US laws where in some states you have to be 21 to drink alcohol or a get out of jail card for the booking agents so they can say we thought they where 21, because of the alcohol in the bar fridge?
 

RooFlyer

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I wonder if the T&C's are tied into US laws where in some states you have to be 21 to drink alcohol or a get out of jail card for the booking agents so they can say we thought they where 21, because of the alcohol in the bar fridge?
Reasonable hypothesis, but you'd think that the hotel would have the T&C then. Its not the job of any booking system or manager to decline or discourage guests that are perfectly acceptable to the accommodation provider.

Thank you NM for pointing this out. I think the daughter of a friend of mine may have fallen foul of this issue - they didn't book the hotel they wanted.
 

NM

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I wonder if the T&C's are tied into US laws where in some states you have to be 21 to drink alcohol or a get out of jail card for the booking agents so they can say we thought they where 21, because of the alcohol in the bar fridge?
I expect its a generic situation as you suggest. However, it obviously does not apply across the board, but is present on many on-line booking terms and conditions lists.

Neither of the hotels have alcohol stocked minibars in the rooms, so applying such a policy to all hotel bookings would seem an inappropriate application of the lowest common denominator principle.
 
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it obviously does not apply across the board, but is present on many on-line booking terms and conditions lists.
Seems a bit odd but I think the different US states have different legal ages so perhaps they just find it easier to have it generic. I can't see why though as they can change currencies for various countries so I can't see why they can't change the legal age requirements for various states as well.
 

Sprucegoose

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Seems a bit odd but I think the different US states have different legal ages so perhaps they just find it easier to have it generic. I can't see why though as they can change currencies for various countries so I can't see why they can't change the legal age requirements for various states as well.
And so do the Canadian Provinces. BC for example is 19 yo for alcohol consumption
 
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Gogo65

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We had a similar problem when my son was 17 and travelling to fernie for schoolies instead of the Gold Coast, we called the property directly and they were more than happy for him and his friend to stay for a month, regardless of the online booking statements. In fact they went out of the way for them because they knew they were younger, all because of a simple email explaining our predicament.
as a side note my now 21 year son is staying in Banff at the moment, working on the ski fields, living in a hostel and having a fantastic time! Plenty of Aussies there that will take care of them. I spoke to my son this morning and it is snowing +++++
 

JohnM

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The HI (Hostelling International - affiliated with YHA Australia) hostel in Banff is one of the best I've ever experienced (Lake Louise is another). Don't know which one she was looking at but certainly the HI is excellent.

I would have thought 18 yo's would enjoy hostelling (at a good hostel). Shared accommodation is great for meeting other people and getting travel tips. If they've never done it, this might be a good opportunity to start. I'd be surprised if they didn't enjoy it. Hotels are boring.
 

NM

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Alcohol was NOT any part of the issue for the Canadian booking. There was no minibar in the room. They had no issues at all checking in and not questioned about age at all. Just welcomed to the hotel and asked for a credit card for "incidentals" (Citibank Plus Visa Debit accepted) as the accommodation was pre-paid on my 28 degrees card. The only logical conclusion is that the booking company (this was a local agency that uses Price Line at the back-end so T&C was from Price Line) have included a generic condition that they know is rarely enforced by they include it for all reservations purely to cover themselves just in case the hotel does have such a policy.

I recommend checking directly with the hotel first before completing a reservation/booking if the party does not include anyone over 21yo.
 

NM

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The HI (Hostelling International - affiliated with YHA Australia) hostel in Banff is one of the best I've ever experienced (Lake Louise is another). Don't know which one she was looking at but certainly the HI is excellent.

I would have thought 18 yo's would enjoy hostelling (at a good hostel). Shared accommodation is great for meeting other people and getting travel tips. If they've never done it, this might be a good opportunity to start. I'd be surprised if they didn't enjoy it. Hotels are boring.
While I expect you are 100% correct about the hotel in question, they were not interested in sharing accommodation with strangers. They are not the party type (hence choosing to travel to Canada for "Shchoolies" celebration and have enough friends/family to meet during the trip to not be interested in meeting others for a one-night hotel stay. Paying a few $ more for the privacy of their own room with a queen bed each was certainly appreciated by them. While her friend was born and bred in Canada, as an 18yo all her limited driving experience has been in Australia, so there was enough stress driving on the wrong side of the road in -20C temps that eliminating any concerns about accommodation sharing with strangers was a positive move.
 

NM

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We had a similar problem when my son was 17 and travelling to fernie for schoolies instead of the Gold Coast, we called the property directly and they were more than happy for him and his friend to stay for a month, regardless of the online booking statements. In fact they went out of the way for them because they knew they were younger, all because of a simple email explaining our predicament.
as a side note my now 21 year son is staying in Banff at the moment, working on the ski fields, living in a hostel and having a fantastic time! Plenty of Aussies there that will take care of them. I spoke to my son this morning and it is snowing +++++
Yes, making direct contact with the hotel is certainly recommended under such circumstances. They are not skiing at Banff - did that at Kimberly already where it was a bit cheaper. They were planning to go snow tubing. Then to Edmonton and then back to Calgary, so a little more driving to be done in interesting conditions.
 
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