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Closed Baltimore hotel selling rooms online, problem for busy tourist weekend

Posted at 6:39 PM, Oct 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-06 18:47:20-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — You've heard the saying - don't believe everything you see on the internet. Well, apparently you can't even trust that a hotel is open, when you make reservations there.

"We go to the hotel, where we find it is no longer a hotel," said Christa Mason.

Back in January, she got tickets for the Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks concert Saturday night in Baltimore. She's from Towson, but several of her friends were coming from out of town for the concert, so she booked rooms online at the Holiday Inn Express at the Stadiums, hoping to get a good price by booking early.

In August, another friend decided to join. She accidentally booked for the wrong date, so Christa called the hotel to switch. No answer after multiple tries. She drove down to the Holiday Inn, and found security guards posted by the entrances, which were blocked off with traffic cones.

Turns out, the city has been funding a homeless shelter at the property on Russell Street since April 2020. The current contract runs through December 31, 2023.

"It would've been 8 of us showing up, between 95 and the casino, with nowhere to go."

Up until today, when the hotel owner got back to us after we reached out - not only were rooms available to book on third-party sites like Priceline, but on the company's own website, there were several rooms listed as available.

"It's quite bizarre," Christa said.

Christa was able to get a refund from the third-party travel site where she booked, and found another place to stay. But not everyone who planned to come to the city this weekend has been so lucky.

That's evident from the reviews left for the property online, people warning other customers not to book here, it's closed.

One poster says the only way he found out the hotel is closed is because he called to ask a question, saying, "This is an absolutely ridiculous experience that has left us without a hotel as all hotels are completely sold out in Baltimore."

Between the O's game, and the concert, it's a busy weekend here.

"Some of the hotels that are pretty reasonably priced are charging over $1,000 a night for a room. It's not something you can just decide on the fly, oh we can't stay here, let's go over to the Hampton Inn, they're all booked. And the ones that have rooms are charging a premium."

Christa made it her personal mission to get the listings off the internet. She contacted the Holiday Inn back in august, and was told someone from the property's management team would get in touch with her.

"No one from the property has ever reached out."

She also contacted the hotel's parent company, IHG Hotels and Resorts, and was told the hotel is currently undergoing renovation, which is obviously different from what the city told us - that it's being used as a homeless shelter.

We reached out to the company too, which said it's hotels are independently owned and operated. The owner then reached out to us, with the following statement:

"The Holiday Inn Express - Baltimore at The Stadium is currently closed. There was an online error that allowed rooms to be booked temporarily. Customers who made reservations are being contacted and refunded. We apologize for any inconveniences."