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Brad Stonesifer thought he'd found the perfect Ultra Music Festival party pad for himself and five pals. The 41-year-old electronic dance music aficionado from York, Pennsylvania, booked a four-night stay at the Residences at Bayside, directly across from Bayfront Park, where his crew planned on enjoying the second weekend of Ultra. They shelled out a combined $2,700 for VIP tickets to the EDM extravaganza but scored a deal for a suite with a full kitchen at just $1,500 for the weekend. It almost seemed too good to be true.
That's because it was. Two days before Stonesifer and company were set to drive to Miami, he got an urgent call from a customer service representative from Travelocity, which he used to book his room. "The hotel was not honoring our reservation because apparently it was not renewing its lease with the building's owner," Stonesifer explains. "So the hotel closed down."
Travelocity was able to find Stonesifer another hotel, the JW Marriott on Brickell Avenue at SW 11th Street. "But we had to book two separate rooms and pay four grand," Stonesifer grouses. "That's $2,500 more than we originally planned for. I can't believe that a 20-story hotel with a rooftop pool would give no one any indication that this was going down."
Maybe that's because Residences at Bayside does not appear to be an actual hotel. The address, on Biscayne Boulevard at NE Second Street, is for the 48-story Vizcayne condo tower. There's no sign or phone number for a hotel in the building.
Stonesifer says he placed several calls to the toll-free number for Elite City Stays, the company that ran Residences by Bayside, but no one answered. The voicemail message gave no warning that the Biscayne Boulevard location was closed, yet it is no longer listed on the Elite City Stays website, he adds.
Riptide spoke to a man named Matthew, who identified himself as the sales manager for Elite City Stays in Miami. He declined to provide a last name or comment on the complaints. "I'm not in a position to discuss anything," he said. "I have nothing to say."
Stonesifer is not the only person to complain, though. On March 19, someone posted a scathing review on travel website Trip Advisor also claiming the toll-free number went straight to voicemail and that emails to Elite City Stays received no reply. "It wasn't until four days before my arrival that they emailed me to let me know they were unable to honor my reservation," the reviewer alleged.