A hotel stay can be like a marriage; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and sometimes it’s a disaster.
Get yourself a cup of coffee or tea. This is going to be a long post.
As part of my “Adventure,” I planned to spend a week in Paris. I have been to Paris many times but thought it might be fun to get an apartment type hotel, with kitchen, shop in local markets and instead of eating out all the time, do some cooking.
I found such a hotel, part of a small chain, that had a small, but usable, kitchen in every room. They supplied pots, pans, utensils, a stove, refrigerator, and microwave. Free wifi, weekly housekeeping and a 24 hour reception desk.
I’m not going to name the hotel because they probably don’t want me telling the following story and I don’t want a law suit.
Check-in was uneventful and I given a room on the top floor (7th). As soon as I walked in, I was hit with an obnoxious, pungent cooking odor. It got stronger as I walked into the closet size kitchen. When I opened the microwave to try to find the culprit of this malicious smell, it hit me so hard I literally cringed and took a few steps back.
A call to the front desk had them sending up a housekeeper who tried to wipe away the smell. (Good luck with that.) I asked for a new microwave and while first saying no, they finally agreed. It wasn’t much better.
After that was taken care of, I went into the bathroom. As I approached the sink, the odor was horrible. It smelled as if someone had shoved some very stinky cheese down the bathroom sink. I tried using hot water to flush whatever was in there down the drain but it didn’t work.
I wasn’t staying in the room.
By this time, it was after 5:00 PM on a Friday. The manager was gone for the weekend as well as any person from maintenance.
They found me a new room but it was on a lower floor facing the front of the hotel. The hotel was situated on a very busy street with the elevated metro literally level with my room. The windows were not soundproof and the noise was ridiculous.
The young woman at reception said that was the only other room available so I decided to stay in my original room. I walked to the supermarket down the block and bought room freshener and drain cleaner hoping they would help.
Finally, at 10:00 PM, I couldn’t take the smell anymore and said I had to move. Miraculously, another room facing the back garden, as my original room did, became available.
I checked it out. It was fine. No smell, quiet location and even had a small balcony.
Okay, I thought, a rough beginning but things were now looking up.
I slept okay even though I could hear every step the person above me took.
Early the next morning, the person above me must have liked to move furniture because for two straight hours I heard nothing but heavy movement on the ceiling.
Then, the front desk called to see if I wanted to move. I said no, I was fine in this room.
An hour after that, I was called again and told that I would have to move. My room was scheduled for maintenance on Monday from outside technicians that couldn’t be rescheduled.
But, because of my troubles, they would upgrade me to a better room. One right next door to my original room on the top floor. I would be called when the room was ready.
While waiting, I decided to do some work but started to have problems with the wifi. For some reason, within a couple of minutes of my connecting, it would disconnect me. For the next three hours, I was working with the front desk people as well as on the phone with their tech support to try to find the problem. Finally, they said they would allow me to access their business line and it worked fine.
By 4:30, I had not heard from the hotel about changing rooms so I went down to find out. They said the room was ready and I could move.
I decided to check it out first and I am glad I did. The room reeked of cooked fish. Really smelly cooked fish.
I refused the room and said I would stay where I was until Monday. The front desk folks said they would try to find out how long the maintenance people needed to see if I needed to leave.
This hotel offered weekly housekeeping but tells their guests that there is a housekeeping room on the second floor they can use if they want clean towels, new soap, trash bags, etc. I went to check it out and found out they rarely keep it stocked.
Not looking forward to more moves and problems, I decided to change hotels. This one insisted on payment up front and I was concerned they wouldn’t refund the balance.
I told the front desk personnel that I planned to leave and wanted a refund. They said they would have to get permission from their manager but it shouldn’t be a problem.
When I came back from dinner–I didn’t do any cooking because the utensils in the kitchen weren’t that clean–they asked what time I planned to leave the next day. Check out was 11:00 and that’s when I planned to leave.
Could I be out by 8:30 AM, they wanted to know, because that was when the workmen were coming. As an incentive they offered me a free breakfast. Fine, I thought, let me out of here.
The next morning they called at 8:30 to say the workman was there but was going to do another room first. And, I could leave my things in the room as the maintenance guy only needed about a half hour. (It turned out he only needed 10 minutes).
I had breakfast, got my refund and left.
Hotel #2 was across town and with a taxi stand across from my first hotel, grabbed one rather than hassling with the Metro.
It was early but the new hotel had a room ready. It was a little musty and I thought, oh no, here we go again. (This was a regular hotel, not one with kitchens in the room.)
The second room was fine but I had problems with getting a wifi signal. Their maintenance guy came up and told me straight out in French he did not speak English. That was fine, I said in French, and if he spoke slowly I could understand.
He spoke faster.
Eventually, I got a third room that was fine.
Hotel #2 had a very friendly front desk staff (the friendliest ones were from Italy), excellent breakfast, great views from their rooftop deck, small but comfortable rooms, and was very quiet.
I was happy until the next to last day of my stay. Not feeling well, I told the housekeeper I didn’t need my room cleaned but would like new towels and clean coffee mugs.
She brought the new towels without taking the old ones and then did something that literally made my mouth drop.
She took my old coffee cups into the bathroom and with her bare hand, washed them out. (The same hand, I guess, she uses to clean toilets.) She then took them to her cart and used a dirty cleaning cloth to dry them off.
I literally stood there wondering what I should do. This was a 4 star hotel and I didn’t expect that.
I went down to the front desk and asked to speak to the manager. Only it was a holiday in France so the manager wasn’t there. I told the person at reception who didn’t seem to really care.
I tell this story because I have never had a hotel stay like the first one and I learned from the second to always wash out my own hotel room cups even if they look clean.
I wish I could say these were the only hotel stories, but since writing the first draft, I’ve had more. But I’ll give you a break and tell you more later.
How about you? Any horror stories in hotels?