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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hotels fully booked as far north as Tilton; online confirmations not always guaranteed

NASHUA – David Roth thought he was booked for a warm hotel bed twice this weekend, only to get burned both times by “bogus” online reservations.

Roth, 67, said he confirmed a room at Courtyard by Marriott in Nashua through Marriott Worldwide Reservations on Sunday but showed up only to be turned away. The hotel was full. When he booked another room at the Fairfield Inn in Manchester, he later found out the hotel was closed and without power.

Roth said he called “every hotel in the Yellow Pages” before resigning to his cold, powerless house in south Nashua on Sunday night, when temperatures dipped to about 20 degrees.

Turns out he wasn’t the only person desperate for a room, as hotels were fully booked in Concord and selling out quickly as far north as Tilton.

Public Service of New Hampshire reported a peak of 237,000 customers without power in the state after Saturday’s snowstorm, and more than 100,000 remained without power Tuesday.

The company estimated that in many towns, 95 percent of customers wouldn’t be restored until Thursday afternoon or evening.

The continued outages have caused a mass rush to area hotels, where front desks have been forced to turn many people away.

“We have a lot of people walking in, but we have to tell them, ‘I’m sorry, but we’re sold out,” said Ellie Wooldridge, social sales manager at Radisson Nashua, which has 326 rooms. “We’re sold out until Saturday.”

The same was true at Crowne Plaza Nashua, which is booked until Sunday, and other hotels further north.

The Radisson Hotel Manchester is sold out for the next three nights. Four Points by Sheraton by the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is full at least until Thursday, a front desk associate said.

The Highlander Inn Manchester was taking names for a waiting list, in case of cancellations, but it was booked, too.

Best Western Concord sold out Tuesday and was running out of rooms for Wednesday night. The front office manager, who preferred to remain anonymous, called it “a little bit of chaos.”

Fairfield Inn Concord was fully booked Tuesday as well, but it had 22 rooms available Wednesday.

“Some have made the trek up here, but we’re sold out already,” said Peter Sajko, front desk manager at Days Inn Concord. “There are a few hotels in Tilton, but a lot of those places are sold out, too.”

That wasn’t true Tuesday afternoon, but the few remaining rooms in Tilton were filling up quickly.

Hampton Inn and Suites Tilton had seven rooms left around 3:30 p.m., while Rodeway Inn Tilton and Holiday Inn Express Tilton had about a dozen rooms available at the same time.

Roth and his wife lucked into a room at the Radisson Nashua hotel Monday night, but he said they had no plans for Tuesday.

“I don’t know what we’re doing tonight,” he said. “We’re still without power, and PSNH is totally useless.”

He also advised fellow hotel-seekers to be wary of online confirmations.

“It’s not really anything you can count on,” he said. “Anytime there’s a tight situation, booking through any of the online services is very risky. I would call the hotel directly after you get the confirmation.”

Courtyard by Marriott Nashua declined to comment.

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or Also check out Kittle (@Telegraph_CamK) on Twitter.