“I WANT to make it known that I am mad as hell.”
This was Shirley Maddin’s attitude after she discovered the hotel reservations she had made for her son’s wedding, booked two months in advance, had been cancelled only two weeks prior to his big day. When demanding a reason as to why her reservations were given the boot at the last minute, Mrs Maddin was told Bechtel had booked out the entire establishment for a one-year minimum at an offer the hotel couldn’t refuse.
“My son has multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair so (he and his fiancee) had to look long and hard to find a venue for their reception which had good wheelchair access,” she said. “They finally found the Club Hotel who could cater to all their needs, and we decided to book two rooms the night of the wedding so in the morning it would be no problem getting the relatives to the airport in time.”
It wasn’t until July 4, 12 days before the couple were due to be wed, that Mrs Maddin received a phone call telling her that her rooms were cancelled.
“I started ringing around immediately to find another room only to find that other hotels had been made the same offer,” she said.
“Thank goodness Gladstone is not trying to promote itself as a welcoming tourist stop as people would not be able to find any accommodation.”
Ian Witt, manager of the Club Hotel, said Bechtel had indeed booked out all of the rooms for a period of 12 months, with an option to continue their agreement for a further four years.
However he denied Mr and Mrs Maddin would have had their rooms cancelled without warning.
“No-one is guaranteed to have a room. Bechtel has first option to all rooms,” he said.
“However we are now not accepting any bookings that aren’t Bechtel.”
Mr Witt said the decision to rent out all rooms to Bechtel was a strategic one.
“It was a decision that guaranteed me business,” he said.
When asked where in Gladstone non-industry clientele were supposed to stay, Mr Witt declined to comment.
Shirley’s husband, Kerry Maddin, said when they called their son, to tell him the bad news, he was dumbfounded.
“It was pretty hurtful, to hear that so close to the wedding,” he said.
“We thought we’d have to drive 75km back to Nagoorin after the wedding because we had nowhere to stay.
“It was pure luck that (another establishment) put us up for the night.”
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