Sunday, July 3, 2011

America's Worst

Every summer, we take two trips: One to visit Adam's grandparents and one to visit my parents.

(I know. We should all pause and be in awe of our vacations. Oh. wait.)

Going to my parents home isn't the lovely trip back to childhood or memory lane that it could be. For one thing, I don't consider their home to be my childhood home. They moved there in 2002, when I was 22 and newly married. I never lived there as a child. My sister went to high school there, and my brother went to college nearby, but we didn't grow up there. When my dad retired from the military, they stayed in that town and have been very happy since.

ANYWHO, we go to visit every summer for about a week. Adam sometimes comes along but he cannot stay in their house since they have cats and he is highly, super, asthma inducing allergic to cats. Because my grandmother and cousin are also visiting (hence the reason for this particular time) we can't stay at my folks anyway. We left the big kids to stay there, as they like sleeping on the floor in my parents room, and took ourselves and the babies to a hotel.

Now, normally, when we stay at a hotel, we get a great deal through my father-in-law's "friends and family" rate. He works for the hotel industry and these are open to us. We were not able to secure a hotel through him, so Adam went to Expedia. Expedia was having a special deal through them (Expedia) and a hotel called Americas Best. AB was located close to my parents house, so Adam booked it.

When we got there, I noticed the lobby was a little worn and the air smelled stale. It also seemed really empty. The lobby was large and open but normally you would expect some nice chairs, pamphlets for local attractions, attractively painted walls, nice pictures... there was nothing. The furniture was old and worn. There was one picture behind the desk... a poster of fighter planes thumbed tacked up. Um, okay?

Our room wasn't as advertised: one bed, not two, no tub, the TV didn't work properly, no couch. Okay, fine. We can make do. We go to sleep.

The next morning we stumble downstairs for a paltry breakfast of cheap donuts, gravy in an old crockpot and Tang. Yes. TANG. I notice it's warm. Not just warm but uncomfortably warm and muggy. I asked Adam what was going on and he said that the night clerk likes it warm, so he turned down the AC. Really? Seriously? That seems pretty stupid.

After breakfast, I showered and dried my hair. The hair dryer had a burnt and melted spot under the "head." That was slightly creepy.

That evening, we took two very tired tots back to the hotel. It was about 8 or 9 and I noticed the room was super muggy, even though we had left the AC running all day. I stopped by the pool to see why it was closed and a sign said it was closed permanently due to health code violations! What do you have to do to an indoor pool to have it closed forever?! Never mind, I don't want to know!

I sent Adam to ask why our room was so warm. When he got back, he was livid! He said the front desk told him that the owner turns off the AC during the day to save money! That's right- not only is the AC in the lobby off during the night, but the owner wants the AC off in the whole hotel during the day. The front desk said that the controls are behind a locked door with a security camera on them so they cannot "tamper" with it. This sounds a little extreme, so I have to wonder if it is true. Who the HECK turns off the AC throughout a building (when you can't open the windows) in the middle of summer? Our car temperature gauge read 102 degrees!

I was PISSED and HOT. The AC in the room wasn't working properly. If the boys hadn't been asleep, I would have packed them up and taken them back to my parents. I told Adam that we were NOT staying another night there and the next night, I would stay at a new hotel or with my parents. He agreed, and fired up his computer, sending e-mails to the chain's headquarters and Expedia. He also booked us a new room at Days Inn.

On our way out, I noticed the vents near the stairs were covered in dirt, dust and possibly mold. *gag*

The next evening, Amerca's Best contacted him. They said they had revoked that hotels ability to use the chain's name the previous week. Expedia also spoke to him on the phone and said that they were unaware of the problems the hotel was having. For example, they advertised it as having a pool but the pool was closed in the fall of 2010! Expedia said they would compensate us for our problem. I told Adam that I don't want, say, a 50 dollar gift card towards Expedia services. I want a full refund for what we paid for the hotel and to be reembursed for the new hotel we had to get.

When we got to the Days Inn, they told us that they have alot of people come to them after staying the night at "America's Best" (which we now refer to as America's Worst). Apparently the building itself is only ten years old. (By the decor and the state of disrepair, we were guessing 15-20 years!) The current owener bought it two years ago and basically ran it into the ground.

I have no idea what possesses a hotel owner to run a hotel into the ground. All I can say is that this America's Best is our worst and we won't be staying there anytime soon! Or, um, EVER.

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