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B.C. hotel faces backlash for turning away locals

07/28/2015 06:45 EDT | Updated 07/28/2016 05:59 EDT
A hotel in Prince George, B.C., is facing criticism after a local woman and her children were refused a room by management on Friday, July 24.

"It was my birthday and me and my kids thought it might be fun to have a mini getaway — a staycation as people call it," said Aimee Bespoyasny.

The hotel describes itself as a "tropical oasis" with water slides, spas and tropical pools, and Bespoyasny said she was looking forward to a break with her children, who are 16 and 18.

"We booked a room over the phone and when we showed up at the front desk I was asked by a fellow why I wanted to stay and I told him it was my birthday and I just wanted to celebrate with my kids and have a nice dinner and relaxing night."

Bespoyasny said when she attempted to check in, a front-desk clerk told her because she was a Prince George local, he would have to check with his manager. When the manager arrived, she says he informed her that she was not welcome to stay the night.

"In his words he said, 'you locals, you come here, drink beer, party and I have to call the cops, so if you're local you have to leave.'"

After she explained she had no intention to be disruptive, Bespoyasny alleges the manager continued to refuse her service.

"I left in tears and embarrassed because there was other hotel patrons standing there listening to everything. It was thoroughly embarrassing and embarrassing for my children too."

Management apologizes

Esther's Inn general manager Jesse Park told CBC there is no official policy to turn away locals, but he acknowledged it has happened.

"It is true, I'm not going to lie about that ... We have a number of managers and it's manager's discretion whether they ... turn down business or not."

He says in Bespoyasny's case, the hotel was wrong.

"My manager who personally dealt with [Bespoyasny] already called her and apologized and admitted that he made a mistake."

Bespoyasny confirmed the manager in question did reach out to offer an apology, and while she thanked him for it, she said she's unlikely to stay at the hotel again.

Bespoyasny says following the incident, she posted a note about what transpired on Facebook, and was soon inundated with messages.

"I've been flooded with messages from people with similar experiences, so many I can barely keep up with it."

"I would just hope that they would admit that this has been a policy of theirs. They keep denying it and it's really offended a whole lot of people in Prince George."

​Park told CBC the hotel will investigate claims staff are telling the public of a no-local policy, and he insists locals are welcome to stay at Esther's Inn.

"We are all PG people. That includes myself, and the employees," he said.


To hear more, click the audio labelled: Mother and her two turned refused service at hotel because she was a 'local.'

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