We stay in Hotels for a lot of different reasons. Most of our stays are pretty straightforward and we get just what we expect, but sometimes we find some issues when we arrive.
Selecting a Room
Sometimes we just need a crash pad for a big adventure that gives us a place to sleep, shower and grab a quick bite to eat in the morning. If we are looking for that crash pad room, a Holiday Inn Express is usually perfect. They are affordable and have everything we need. There are tons of them, so we can usually find one near our destination.
Other times we may be celebrating a Birthday or an Anniversary and want to sleep in, eat a nice meal and utilize more of the Hotel amenities like the pool, hot tub or fitness center. For celebrations I up the game and try to get a higher quality hotel that has a nice selection of amenities, an elevated comfort level and perhaps a decent bar or restaurant on site. The Marriott Downtown Grand Rapids and the Holiday Inn West Bay Resort in Traverse City both offer great locations, on site dining and the Holiday Inn has a pool and hot tub. The Hyatt Place in Baltimore near the Inner Harbor was also a very nice hotel to spend an anniversary at.
Maybe we are having a few days of R & R and want a place that offers a lot without having to go very far. I am very careful when selecting a Hotel to consider how we plan to use the room. Once and a while (not nearly often enough) we get a chance to just go somewhere and chill. These are Mark’s favorite trips. A few years ago we stayed in a great Holiday Inn on North Padre Island, Texas. Even though it was located away from most everything on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico, it was only 10 minutes to get to a few nice restaurants for dinner. I purchased breakfast vouchers with out stay so that we could eat on site. Since it was early September, it was still pretty warm. We popped a little beach tent and hung out on the beach for most of our day while we were there. In the afternoons, we would come up for a dip in the outside pool or grab a cocktail or snack from the poolbar. It was the perfect set up for Hermit style Relaxation!
After I have carefully selected the Hotel style with the right combination of Amenities that we need for the type of trip we are taking, I get really irked if we get there to find issues that were not relayed to us during our reservation.
We stayed at a Marriott in Traverse City a few years ago to earn some extra points. When we arrived, the hotel had a very high level chemical odor in the lobby that actually made my eyes burn. Hoping for the best we headed to our room. That same smell (only worse) was in our room. I have asthma, so I instantly started to wheeze. I went to the front desk and asked about the odor only to be told that they had just installed all new carpeting in the hotel and the smell was from the glue. All the rooms would have the same odor. Because it was high season, it wasn’t an option for us to change hotels at the last minute. We ended up dropping off our stuff and only coming back to sleep and only staying 1 night. My beef is that this was not posted on the website, or the Marriott app where our reservation was listed. We had no way of knowing this before arriving and by then it was too late to do anything about it. They did not offer us any discounts or concessions and actually acted like it should be no big deal. I think that was the beginning of my Love-Hate relationship with Marriott.
Last year we took a 14 day Adventure across Europe. We were scheduled to fly into London on Thursday morning but due to some trip delays did not arrive until Friday afternoon. The process of getting from the airport to the hotel, since we had missed our airport transfers, was quite an ordeal (that’s a whole other story, lol). I literally could have kissed the ground when we finally walked into the Plaza on the River Hotel. I was completely focused on getting us checked in and finding out how to connect with our Tour Group since we were arriving a day late. Mark was wandering around the Lobby and that was when the sneezing began. They were pumping some sort of fragrance through the air in all the common areas. It was like being stuck between a Hollister and an Abercrombie Fitch times 10. Poor Marks eyes watered and he sneezed the entire time we stayed there. It was a really nice hotel other than the toxic levels of fragrance. I would stay there again for sure, but only if I knew they weren’t crop dusting heavy perfume in the hotel.
Ah, another experience with Marriott. Grand Rapids has an Ale Trail. For Mark’s birthday a few years ago, we decided to get the Brewery Passport and make a weekend of it with our son. I chose the Marriott Downtown, which was not a cheap room. It was over $250 per night, but because it offered a Brew City Package with some perks that applied to what we had planned as well as a great central location for us to be able to walk to most of the breweries, I booked it. It was not posted on the website or app when we reserved our room that there was a $20 per day Valet Parking Fee. I can certainly afford the fee, my gripe is not knowing about it when reviewing my hotel options so that I could figure it into the cost when selecting which hotel I was booking. The hotel was already at a high price point for the area, so adding in the $20 per night parking just irked me.
How about when you book a room with your family and they don’t tell you during booking that the pool is closed for scheduled maintenance for the entire duration of your stay. There is nothing worse when on vacation with your kids than having hem start the “I’m bored” because they have nothing to do. I understand when something breaks suddenly, but “scheduled maintenance” is, scheduled. I have seen other hotels post on their sites maintenance, construction or amenities that would not be available during a particular time period. So it can be done.
My Take on This
I think when I review these situations, most of them have one common flaw.
A LACK OF COMMUNICATION!
If we had been told about the closed pool, the parking fee or the new carpet we could have made other arrangements instead of having a really bad stay. In my opinion, that would have decreased my unhappiness with that chain of hotels because it would have put me in charge of my decision whether to stay there or not. By not sharing those important facts, and just letting us find out when we arrived, it instead put us in a bad situation that we had little control of.
I want the hotel to be clean and in working order. I want to know BEFORE I BOOK MY STAY about extra fees, scheduled maintenances, new carpet installs, or anything that may alter the quality of my stay. This is one place I don’t like surprises! I really just want what I am paying for.
Is that asking too much?