Charlottetown Inn apologizes for turning away guests from western P.E.I. on New Year's Eve

When some young people from western P.E.I. tried to check into a hotel in Charlottetown New Year's Eve they say they were turned away, despite having reservations.

'Cannot apologize enough.... It was an indiscretion that was made by one associate'

'Cannot apologize enough for those that were affected. I can only imagine the terrible feeling they must have had,' said Wayne Cotton, the general manger of the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

When Cole Hackett of Tignish, P.E.I., arrived at the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre on New Year's Eve to check into his reserved room, he'd been looking forward to a night out with friends from home.

But instead he said he and his friends were turned away. The only explanation he was given by the employee at the front desk, he said, was that he and his friends were from the West Prince region of P.E.I.

"She said it was a hotel policy that they don't have to take anyone from West Prince," said Hackett.

Hackett was among three young adults from West Prince who have told CBC News they were denied accommodation at the inn for that reason.

Cole Hackett said that he and his friends were turned away from the inn and were told that the inn was not accepting guests from West Prince. (Submitted by Cole Hackett)

Hackett said the front desk employee told him the reason for the policy was because individuals from that part of the province had caused problems at the inn in the past.

He added that he'd never stayed at the inn before.

"I'd understand if they banned people who caused the misery at the hotel, instead of banning the whole West Prince area," said Hackett.

"It's kind of like a slap in the face, you know what I mean? Just because you live in this spot, you can't really stay in our hotel."

'I felt really disrespected'

Jasmin Myers said that she was also turned away by the inn on New Year's Eve and was told it was because she was from Tignish.

"I was just in complete shock.... I felt really disrespected. I just feel like this shouldn't be going on. It's 2018. People shouldn't be treating others this way."

She said she and her boyfriend were unsure of what to do next. 

"At this point, we were two hours away from our home, we had all our bags packed, and we had no room to stay for the night so we were kind of panicking, you know, 'What are we going to do?'" she said.

Myers said she'd stayed at the hotel years ago, and had never had any problems in the past.

Several individuals from the western part of Prince Edward Island have told CBC that they were turned away from the inn on New Year's Eve. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Amber Ellsworth, of Bloomfield, P.E.I., said she had booked her room weeks in advance, only to be turned away as well.

"When I went to the desk ... they weren't able to explain why, they just straight up said, 'We aren't able to take your reservation because of where you live,'" she said.

"I was just mortified ... I couldn't really wrap my head around it at the time. But like, it's not right. They're not allowed to do that."

​Ellsworth explained that she'd stayed at the inn before and she'd never had any problems with her room in the past.

Ellsworth, Myers, and Hackett were able to find rooms at other hotels in Charlottetown.

'It's not how we do business'

Wayne Cotton, the general manager of the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre issued an apology on Facebook on Tuesday, expressing his regret for what was said to individuals who had been looking to stay at the inn but were turned away.

The general manager of the inn issued an apology on Facebook on Tuesday. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

"It's not how we do business," Cotton said.

"Cannot apologize enough for those that were affected. I can only imagine the terrible feeling they must have had. Not the intention of the hotel, certainly not the intention of myself, the team, and it was an indiscretion that was made by one associate and it's very, very unfortunate." Cotton said.

"And all I can do is offer my apologies to everybody that was affected and hope they can forgive us for a terrible message. That was wrong."

He said it was a "one-off" case of wrong messaging which does not represent the beliefs of the hotel, and won't happen again.

When CBC News asked what the message was supposed to be, Cotton replied, "It's standard business, so it's not really a message that goes out. It's if somebody has come in and caused damage in the past, then we can — the most severe case would be, we wouldn't take their reservation." 

Cotton added, "It's hard to speculate on how people come out with a message and some verbiage. I guess when you're working in a front desk circumstance where perhaps you say the wrong words, sometimes typical to any people having a conversation."

"It's such an unfortunate circumstance," Cotton continued. "The employee feels terrible for the message. Certainly didn't mean any harshness towards any individuals and we've just dealt with it internally."

About the Author

Katerina Georgieva

Katerina Georgieva is a multi-platform journalist with CBC P.E.I. She has also worked for CBC in Toronto and Winnipeg.