Thursday, March 5, 2009

Behind the 8 Ball

Working out of town. It leads to different experiences.

Take this trip that I'm on. I picked a hotel where I've stayed before. I don't recall having problems here before. Alas, after 1 night of a planned 12, they are sitting firmly behind the 8 ball.

It started well. I checked in last night and was told that Tuesday night was Customer Appreciation Night, and that there would be free pizza and beer in their Continental Breakfast area. Fabulous. A dinner I don't have to pay for. Or so I thought. I paid for it later in the evening, with heartburn from the Boston Pizza pizza. It could have been the Molson Canadian beer as well - there's a reason I drink Guinness - it's GOOD beer!

Then I went up to my room, where I had planted my gear an hour earlier. Just in time to see another guy closing the door to my room. WTF?!? And my key-card, which had been given to me earlier, didn't work. The guy said that the desk had given him the key-card that worked in my room. So I traded him and didn't think much more on it. Yeah, I'm typing this with the dead-bolt engaged. But this is standard practice for me while in hotels. In THIS room, it's the only thing holding the door closed... but on to the rest of the story (RIP Paul Harvey)

I tried to setup my PlayStation to relax by playing some Tiger Woods Golf. The TV even had the video/audio RCA jacks at the front - making connection easy-peasey, right? Yeah... So the TV was as snowy as the weather was this morning. Bad connection or something. And then I couldn't figure out how to change the TV to use the a/v input. Casting off my disappointment, I went down to the front desk and reported that the TV wasn't working. When I asked about the a/v input, I was told that it was disabled by the LodgeNet system (this is their TV/Pay-Per-View/Gaming On Demand system). Great. Just, Great. I lugged my PS3 up with me to be able to look at the box. Oh well, that's why I have my laptop.

This morning I grabbed my laptop bag and went for breakfast at their Continental breakfast. Why is it that people on the continent (which one? Antarctica?!?!) eat toast, apple turnovers, and juice for breakfast??? Meh. It's free, and when you're eating in restaurants for all your meals, free is good. Oh yeah, this reminds me. They have a microwave and a mini-fridge in the room. Great, so I could buy cheap microwave foods and cook for myself? No. No freezer. No cutlery. No dishes. But there's a kitchen sink! Pshaw....

I spend my day freezing in the -20C windchill, trying to instruct an electrical engineer in how to drive piles, and generally doing my job on my construction site - fixing the leaning bridge I posted about last week. I talk to the guys in the local office and ask about the other hotels in town, as I'm already doubting my choice after 1 night. They mention another one that I've stayed in previously. I think seriously of moving to that hotel.

I return to my room, dump my computer on the bed, and turn to the TV. I turn it on - aha! No snow, and a real picture. Oh... what's this? A nasty-gram from the maintenance person. Telling me that if I muck with their TV again, they will charge me to fix it. Yes, they're accusing me of vandalizing the TV in my attempt to hook up my PS3. They tell me that I am ONLY allowed to use their gaming system, built into the "LodgeNet", and for which pleasure I have to pay extra. Hmm... there are no big signs, or little ones, anywhere that I can see TELLING me this. My a/v plug is still hanging on the PS3 beside the TV armoir... and there is only 1 a/v input of that type on the whole TV - on the FRONT of the TV. Is it my fault that the co-axial connection was busted? Um... no.

So now I'm steamed. I grab my book and head for supper - not walking to the slowest Boston Pizza in creation next door to the hotel. I close the door. I remember that this morning the door didn't seem to automatically seat fully. Looking at the jam, it appears closed fully. I push the door. It opens. I pull the door FIRMLY into a closed position. I push the door again. It opens, again. The door handle still doesn't open the latch, yet the door is completely insecure. A not-too-firm shove pops the door like a can of Pringles. Now I'm a little concerned. My room was apparently open to anyone all day long. Not cool. I could have had my PS3 stolen - again.

Last night I initialed against a room rate of $145 per night for this not so "Super" room at a hotel that, to my mind, just sank their "8" ball on their second shot. I go to the other hotel. Their rate, which isn't the actual rate they're going to charge me because my company does so much business there, is $82 per night. Includes the same kind of free breakfast. Actually, theirs is better. It's a motel instead of a hotel. Heck, this makes life easier, really. No tromping up 4 flights of stairs to my non-secured room. Yes, I try and skip the elevator when I'm not carrying my luggage. So I reserve a room for the remainder of my stay in this little town. Easy to effect when I am checking out of my present hotel tomorrow morning.

Oh yeah, I'm looking forward to driving home tomorrow, having a night with my wife, then driving back up to this town for another week in the winter construction business. Two days. Sixteen hours of driving. Yea. Haw. Thank goodness for satellite radio and my mp3 player. But it gives me a damn fine excuse to leave this overpriced, under-serving excuse for corporate accommodations. Why you ask? I have to. I have to drive home, as I HAVE to attend a meeting with the contractor who hates me in the morning on Friday. Followed by driving back to this lovely little northern Alberta town. Pardon if the sarcasm drips on your keyboard.

The oak tree that broke the camel's back was impugning my integrity. Everything else was additional to that, I still wanted to change hotels before that note. Afterward? I almost packed my bags and left tonight. Instead I've left them a nicely filled out comment card, commenting on what I think of the service I've been provided. I didn't even use profane language, but my oh my, I was tempted.

Lastly, in the same way that I put a PS on the comment card, it's a PS on my post. They have this whole "Project Planet" thing in the rooms, about saving water by not forcing them to wash every thing, every day. Sure, they didn't change the sheets - they do this every 3rd day when someone stays for an extended period. However, when they give the hotel gives instructions to hang your towels to dry if you don't want them to provide new ones, and then turns around and ignores their own attempts to save water? Further gasoline on the fire in my books.

I haven't specifically named the major hotel chain directly, but as my readers are all intelligent, I'm sure you've figured it out. To this chain I say: No hasta la vista, baby!

1 comment:

spragujs said...

Geez, man! Sounds like you should find a website (or several) where you can leave a review for this particular hotel so that others might not be tempted to use it in the future!