Please, may I pay your exorbitant parking fee?

I had a bizarre parking experience a few weeks ago that I’ve been meaning to blog about.

Early one morning I had a meeting scheduled at The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. I like The Charles Hotel. I have spent many-a-night enjoying jazz gigs at Regattabar, have had many meals at Henrietta’s Table, and my wedding reception was at Rialto. I’m certain I cannot count how many meetings I’ve connected for at The Charles.

So this particular morning the weather was nice and I decided I’d take the motorcycle instead of the cage. Big mistake, apparently.

The Charles Hotel garage adamantly refused to let me park my bike in their garage. I was willing to pay their exorbitant parking fees. I was willing to pay them in advance. I was willing to park in some out of the way space they couldn’t possibly fit a car – this was “free money” for them.

In the end, after cycling through a couple levels of “garage management” (this whole ordeal quickly became an exercise in satisfying my curiosity re: their behavior, not my need to park the bike), I was allowed to alight in a boxed-in, not-car-accessible corner that otherwise would surely have sat empty for the few hours I was at the hotel. They collected their regular parking fee upon my exit.

What confused me is that I could not get a straight answer as to why they have this “no motorcycles” policy (which was not posted at the entrance, AFAIK). One person I spoke with just didn’t know – it was just “the policy”. This is never a good answer for the customer. Another person said the gates wouldn’t open up for something as light as a motorcycle. This seemed specious since I had to pay a human being upon exit, and one can reasonably assume they have control and mastery of a pair of “gate up” and “gate down” switches/levers/etc. Another person said bikes could get around the gates without paying. No motorcycle I’ve ever seen – there are only a few inches of clearance to the wall, and going under would only work if you laid the bike down.

So does anybody know why a garage would have such a policy? Do most garages have a “no motorcycles” policy?


PS: The One Kendall Square garage in East Cambridge next to Landmark Theaters has a “no motorcycles” policy (posted at the garage entrance) however, they provide FREE parking for motorcycles on the other side of the garage outside. Now that’s class!

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