The Llama and the Bad Hotel

My last visit to my daughter’s college town was complicated by a difficult hotel stay.  Remembering my hotel room at family reunion, and the benefit of having a handicapped suite, I decided to schedule the accommodations for the handicapped again.  At family reunion, a well-equipped room and bath had made my stay much easier.


I chose a hotel that I have visited a number of times.  My last stay there had involved a questionable microwave and refrigerator setup, with lights dimming in the room whenever the microwave was started.  Otherwise, it had been uneventful.  This particular hotel had especially comfortable mattresses, and a convenient (and free!) parking arrangement which mimized the distance I had to roll my luggage to get to my room.  In addition, I’d always liked their kitchen.  It is an independent property and has previously been acclaimed as the best accommodations in Athens, Georgia. 


I checked in to the handicapped suite and was immediately confronted with inadequate air-conditioning and the musty smell of old carpet.  The forecast was for temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s.  I set the unit on full blast and hoped for the best.  After all, I was there to help my daughter with her move-in, so I wouldn’t spend most of my days in the room.  I was more concerned when I saw a crawling insect on the night table.  Before the first 24 hours was over, I had seen and killed several, and I told the housekeeper about it the first morning.  She was nonchalant, reporting that the room had been recently sprayed.  She noted that they just crawled in under the door.  I resisted the urge to ask “If a snake crawls in under the door, I shouldn’t complain about that, either?” 


The second day, I left my room early, returning to find a note informing me that I had left personal items on the bed, and that prevented housekeepers from making the bed.  No problem, except that they hadn’t done anything else in the room or bath.  No vacuuming, no bathroom cleaning, no coffee pot cleaning, no replenishing of coffee supplies…a clean sweep of no cleaning.  (Yes, I still enjoy bad puns.)  I called housekeeping and voicemail sent me to the front desk.  A polite clerk took my complaint and my request to have housekeeping come back and clean in 30 minutes, as I was leaving my room again and wished a bit of privacy in the interim.  In three minutes there was a knock on my door and I opened it to see two housekeepers.  “Somebody said you had some trash that didn’t get emptied?”  I explained again.  Somehow, it took several repetitions for the women (native Georgians) to understand that I wanted them to wait and start in 30 minutes. 


The third day I sweltered.  The desk clerk had arranged to have one night of my stay comped, but I couldn’t wait to leave.  Between the inadequate air conditioning, the crawling bugs, and the difficulties with housekeeping, it my worst hotel stay in recent memory.   I moved to another hotel to get a breath of cool air and rest up.


Once I arrived home, I wanted to let someone with more seniority than the desk clerk know about my stay.  I emailed the staff members in marketing, described my stay, and emphasized that I was in the handicapped suite and that it was the last place that should make one’s stay more difficult.  Their remedy (paraphrasing):  “Come and stay with us again and we’ll be very nice to you.”  My response:  “No thank you.  You haven’t refunded my money for totally unsatisfactory accommodations and service, and you’d like me to sign up for more?  Are you kidding me?”


That hotel and its recent steep decline speaks to me of the current situation in this country.  The signs of declining income and rising transportation costs are everywhere.  That independently owned property has probably seen considerably less business in the past year, and it has evidently cut into their budget for maintenance and staff.  In my previous stays, the parking lot has been full most nights.  After all, there should be plenty of hotel business in a college town with a university of more than 35,000 students.  This last visit, the lot was empty every night except one. 


Next visit, I will be among those who are avoiding expensive hotel visits.  I’ll stay at my daughter’s place. 


Today I’m knitting fingerless mitts from 100% baby llama, Miski by Mirasol.  It’s unbearably soft, and has the added advantage of funding schools for shepherd’s children in Peru (  I’m even writing down my pattern, which is evolving as I knit.  Show and tell soon.




One Response

  1. I’ve not stayed in a ton of hotels, but I tend to like Embassy Suites. I remember my sister, nieces and I checking into a hotel across from a waterpark years ago in Williamsburg Virginia that was awful. Dark, dank, wet.

    At first we tried to rationalize for about fifteen minutes or so…”It’s not sooo bad.” Then we said, “Forget this” and switched to an Embassy Suites that was, at that time, bright and clean.

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