First, I humbly apologise for not staying at crazy-mad expensive hotels every other week and thus not being intimately familiar with every weird little policy they have. We can't all be made of money, y'know. :)
Back to the matter at hand, it turns out that the staff member in question did, in fact, run a full transaction - money was removed from my account, not just tied up. Fortunately my bank was able to reverse the charges on Saturday morning, and everything looked fine until Sunday morning.
That's when it transpired that the guy who was checking me out had NO CLUE how to use the telecheck machine, and kept insisting that he be permitted to put the charge on my card AGAIN. Fortunately, another guy on duty ran the check and it authorized perfectly fine the first time through the machine - but that in no way made up for the 'she's such a deadbeat' attitude that the first guy, and the manager that morning, gave me. Their technological uber-fail != me being untrustworthy or unable to pay. I may not be wallowing in cash, but like many, I saved up for this trip - and the $300+ hotel bill that I knew would be associated with it.
I will definitely not be staying at that hotel ever again. The staff are rude and abrasive, and seem to be very poorly trained on the technology that they are expected to use every day. Apparently I was not the only guest who had major problems with that particular hotel this weekend; many people were filing complaints, both with the hotel and with the convention that had made plans to have people stay there (though I do NOT blame the convention in any way for what happened to me).
Actually, the only person at that hotel who was nice and polite (and received a tip) the entire stay was the bathroom attendant. O_o Well, and the shuttle drivers.