April 1, 2014

Dear Hotel Manager

We found ourselves in your city this past weekend, with plans to return home that evening, but as so often happens, we decided at the last minute to stay overnight and make the drive home the next morning. When we called our usual hotels (the Candlewood Suites and the Marriott), we were disappointed to learn that they were both sold out...apparently there was an NCAA game going on.  Our next preferred hotel, the Hampton Inn, was sold out as well.

We were about to lose hope (or settle for lodging 20 miles outside the city) when we tried calling your establishment.  We'd had an unpleasant experience with your chain in Tampa some years ago, when we arrived to find the hotel in the midst of a messy, noisy renovation, with the room itself looking like that of a cheap motel rather than the mid-range accommodations the rate suggested.  We ended up leaving and going to the AmeriSuites down the street.  Still, you were the only hotel left who was charging under $129, as everyone's rates, like roses on Valentine's Day, had shot up for the special event.

There were renovations being done at your hotel as well, specifically the installation of plush new carpet on the steps of the exposed staircase (the hallways had already been re-carpeted, even if the baseboards hadn't yet been replaced).  Our room itself was lovely and comfortable, but when my husband tried to turn on the television he met with a pink screen.  When we tried to call the desk, we couldn't get a dial tone.  I had to go down to the desk myself to inquire and was told that a) if we disconnected the power cord of the TV momentarily and plugged it back in, it should be fine, and b) that she would connect our telephone (I've never heard of a phone in a hotel room having to be turned on). 

When we tried disconnecting and re-connecting the TV, we were not successful in getting it to work, and when we tried to call the desk the phone still didn't work.  I made another trip downstairs, made it clear I wasn't happy with either situation, and the clerk came upstairs, got the TV working, and once more said she would turn on our phone.

I went to work out that evening.  Whoever decided that the workout room should be adjacent to the indoor pool and Jacuzzi, with a partial glass wall that did not extend all the way up to the ceiling, made a serious error in judgment.  Indoor pools require warmer temperatures while cooler temperatures are best when exercising, and the thermostat read 81 degrees.  I lasted for 12 minutes.  The exercise equipment itself was cheap, without any cup holders (and that water fountain with its lukewarm water was a poor substitute for a water cooler putting out cold, refreshing liquid) or book holders.  The weights of the bench press kept falling down.  I had to get someone from the desk to get the TV to come on.  

Before going to bed, I went to place a wake-up call...and the phone still did not work.  Instead I set the in-room alarm clock to the correct time and set the alarm manually. 

While your hotel came through in a crunch, we weren't impressed.  The problems we encountered were not indicative of a room that cost over $100.  The hotel looks quite nice, but I predict all those redecorating dollars wasted when someone either has a heart attack in that sauna of a workout room, or suffers injuries from a slip and fall when walking through the pool and Jacuzzi area to get to the sauna--er, workout room, because water and rubber-soled shoes just don't mix.  
That's my unhappy experience this past weekend. What are some of your hotel stay horror stories?