Struggling with insomnia, Darcy Jamieson decided to treat herself to a night in a Courtenay hotel.
The Cumberland resident hoped that a night of room service and a quiet suite might help her fall asleep.
“Of course, I had been fantasizing about my stay for a couple of hours, I was just seeing me crashing down on my bed,” said Jamieson.
But after paying and booking into Courtenay’s Best Western The Westerly Hotel online on Oct. 13, she showed up at check-in to get anything but the room she expected.
“And he was like ‘We don’t take locals.’ And I was like I thought he was being a little joker, I thought he was just being funny,” said Jamieson.
But the front desk clerk insisted he was serious. Not because there were no rooms, but because Jamieson was a local and that was against their hotel policy.
“It made me question, like had I been in real trouble, that would have been like my last option for a bed that night, I could afford it, I could pay for it. And I would have been turned away,” said Jamieson.
Westerly Hotel General Manager Jamie Lewis, told CHEK News that the policy is in place for a good reason and practiced at many hotels because locals are known to use their rooms for parties, or they’re in a fight with their spouse so suddenly need a room, and can bring the argument to the hotel. Scenarios that can put hotel staff in difficult situations.
“It’s not that we want to say no to locals. I mean any business is appreciated business but is it worth the cost at the end of the day. If all of a sudden you’ve got a room with 20 people and they’re all sneaking in the back door and I’ve seen all this on video. I’ve seen it happen,” said Jamie Lewis, General Manager of The Westerly Hotel.
CHEK News called all eight hotels listed in Courtenay and asked them if they rent to locals. In response, three said “no,” one said “occasionally” and four said they do.
“I think it’s a bunch of crap. I think anybody should be able to rent a room,” said Courtenay resident Wendy Souin.
“It’s a funny way to do business. Especially in these times, like ‘support local’ but yet the local businesses are not supporting the locals,” said Jamieson.
Jamieson is still looking for that good night’s sleep in a hotel room, that she now knows she’ll need to travel further away from home to receive.