Sunday, September 18, 2011

If they left the light on for you, it would probably ignite

When I stay at hotels, I typically like to stay at a 3-star establishment or better. But I’m cheap, so I like to get the best possible deal. These two facts don’t always mix well, resulting in a less than stellar hotel stay.

Take my recent trip to Portland for my daughter’s soccer tournament. Refusing to spend the equivalent of a round-trip ticket to Paris for a three-night hotel stay in Portland, I decided to use Priceline and get the most bang for my buck.

The problem with Priceline is you never know WHICH 3-star hotel you’re going to get, and I got a dud. Thanks for nothing, William Shatner.

As a result, I decided to give the hotel some feedback, giving them every opportunity to improve their hovel, er, I mean hotel.

I took the liberty of copying the categories off another hotel review site and using that format to offer my thoughts. (I’m sure they’ll thank me later.)

Value for money: Initially I was charmed by your low price, but the proverbial “you get what you pay for” became a reality as I drove up your drive and discovered that I would now be charged $12 a night just to park in your lot. A nice lot? Perhaps to some, but not to my friend who backed up into the cement post directly behind her parking space. Just saying.

Room quality: Ah, the room. When I entered the room, I nearly tripped over the piece of “furniture” that held our coffee maker. This trolley-like “cupboard” was not unlike something my in-laws owned for their tea service in, oh, 1982. Charming in Amish country, yes, but not so much in a metropolitan hotel. The coffee pot itself went untouched since I saw that Dateline NBC episode where they showed people using hotel room coffee makers to cook crystal meth. In fact, the hotel on Dateline NBC’s story looked an awful lot like the room I stayed in. I’m hoping that’s just an eerie coincidence. The fact that our room was positioned right across from the elevator seemed convenient at first. I changed my tune at 2 a.m. when the elevator was on its 55th DING (something it does each time it opens, by the way) before opening and dumping out its drunken travelers who then stood outside our door to issue their lengthy, tearful goodnights.Oh, and before I forget, thank you so much for placing the ice maker RIGHT NEXT TO THE ELEVATOR. It was an audial win-win. Not to mention the fact that the aforementioned drunk patrons liked to get buckets of ice at 4 a.m. before slamming their doors once again.

Cleanliness: I am nothing if not a fan of mysteries, but stepping in a wet puddle on the carpet took my mind to possibilities that were the stuff of nightmares. I still don’t want to know what it was (and, fingers crossed, with some good therapy, I might be able to stop obsessing about it) but I have to tell you that the idea of setting the room on fire did cross my mind. Then I realized that I might have to go down the elevator once the fire was started and I seriously could not take another DING.

Bed comfort: Once I examined the bed for bed bugs (courtesy of Dateline NBC – again) I was able to safely go to bed. But I came to find out that a very angry marine sergeant had made the bed before I arrived. So tightly were the sheets tucked in that my ankles cramped within 10 minutes, requiring me to get up and yank the sheets out. Of course now I was certain that the bed bugs that were squashed by the marine were now free falling all over the room. Suffice it to say, it was a long night.

Staff and service: Lovely. Not a single complaint. They were friendly, relaxed, and a bit relieved I must say. In retrospect I think that was because they were thrilled that they were at the front desk and not being forced to stay in your guest rooms.

Will you recommend this hotel to your friends? If by friends you mean enemies, then by all means yes. And I’ll tell them to be sure and try the coffee.

Eileen Burmeister lives and works in Roseburg. She can be reached at burmeistereileen@gmail.com.

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