If It’s Thursday, This Must Be Lexington

Yes, another city and thus another hotel. But this move was a voluntary one on my part. Sort of.

I’ve never been a fan of Choice Hotels (Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, etc.) but when I was in Iowa back in July through October of 2007, there was a brand new one that opened close to the office and everyone of my co-workers who were holed up there gave it rave reviews so I got a room and immensely enjoyed my stay there for a two month period. The room was nice and the staff was always friendly and helpful.

So, when I needed to find a room late last week in the Georgetown, KY area I noticed there was a Comfort Suites and, though I had a small bit of trepidation, my positive experience in Iowa beat it down and told it to shut up while I booked a 30-day stay. I asked for a top floor corner room, as I always do, but had to bring up my Platinum Elite status (from all those nights in Iowa) to get them to give it to me, which was a little irritating because it meant they weren’t even looking at my booking information where that level is noted.

This past Monday night I checked into the hotel after a 13 hour day. Though worn, the room was clean and comfortable. However it had a strange layout that prevented you from seeing the TV if you were sitting at the desk. Since I love to dual-task by working on my laptop while watching TV, this was a bit aggravating, but since I also did not have much time to do either while on this current schedule, I wasn’t truly bothered by it.

The next morning I woke up, showered, dressed and left the room to go downstairs and see what was for breakfast. Out of habit, when I’m leaving any room I’m staying in I always close the door and then automatically try to open it to be sure it has locked shut. In 18 months of traveling and staying at a multitude of hotels, I’ve never had one that did not lock as it should.

Until Tuesday morning.

I tried several times to be sure I had pulled the door completely shut and checked inside to see if there was some kind of latch that I failed to notice, but no matter what I did the lock would not engage. I remember thinking that it is a good thing I always engage the deadbolt AND close the inside door jamb latch; otherwise someone might have come in during the night and molested me. No, wait, that was a dream I had. LOL

So, I went downstairs and informed the young female desk clerk of the problem and she promised to have maintenance fix it first thing that morning. I was running short on time so I left my clothing and toiletries in the room, but took my laptop and camera with me in the rental car.

At work I sent an e-mail to the hotel asking them to notify me as soon as the door lock was repaired, but I never heard anything back from them and I was so busy that I didn’t take the time to call them. Driving to the hotel after working another 13 hour day, I was slightly perturbed that they had not responded to my request.

I entered the hotel and walked up the stairs to my third floor room. Without using my key card I turned the handle…and the door opened, completely unlocked. I went in and made sure my belongings were still there, then went back downstairs to the front desk where a young (are we seeing a trend here yet?) man who was reading a book entitled, “Searching the Scriptures” was sitting. I informed him of the situation and he phoned someone who he identified later as the maintenance person. He hung up and reported that the maintenance person said he fixed the door. I said, “Well, I’m telling you, again, that I just opened the door without my key card, so it obviously is not fixed.” He shrugged and with an unconcerned, unapologetic tone and attitude said, “So, do you want me to move you to another room?”

Although the entirety of the situation was causing me a great deal of anger, especially since I was tired from working long hours, I always try to represent my employer in a positive manner and not do anything, by action or behavior, that would reflect badly on it. So rather than following my anger-fueled wishes, I simply told him I would stay in the room that night and then check out the next morning and cancel the remainder of my 30-day booking because the hotel’s actions and attitude were not acceptable. He again shrugged and said, “Ok.”

My decision to not trust or deal with such an uncaring staff was borne out in the morning when I checked out and the young woman I had dealt with the previous morning said not one word about the door lock or my early check out. Maybe the kid from the night before had left a warning note, I don’t know. But the level of customer service at that Comfort Suites hotel was below acceptable and quickly moving into the realm of completely unacceptable.

Next time: So, where did I move to?

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