As I am a bit nutters and also completely single, I decided a while back that what I really wanted was to be left utterly alone on Christmas. With a house full of housemates, it didn’t seem that would happen if I stayed home. Going to my parents for the holidays was out of the question, as Washington between December and February is impossibly cold for me, and also, what I wanted was to get away from some of my responsibilities, not be surrounded by them. So, I settled on spending just one night, Christmas night in a hotel. And the more I thought of it, the more I thought that a rather nice hotel would be, well, nice. And upon consulting my memory of some of the nicer hotels I had ever stayed at, only one stood out in the area. This hotel was where a friend had been married several years ago, and I stayed over night, and thought it was very nice indeed. I confessed my plan to this one friend alone, and she said she thought it was a lovely idea, and pointed out that they have suites with fireplaces and very yummy room service. I began day dreaming of myself in pajamas and a robe, reading Austen in front of the fire, and ordering in a decadent dessert. So indulgent, I know, but I rarely get the opportunity to really spoil myself. And since my credit card is already straining under the burden of my new transmission, I figured a few more pennies worth of debt couldn’t hurt. After all, the only thing I really wanted for Christmas was an exceptionally warm bath and bed for an evening. To be left all on my own to read a book or three, and also to have a hot fudge sundae. It sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
I arrived at the earliest check in time, eager for my leisure to begin. I asked the desk person, as he was checking me in, about room service. I suspected that there could be some issue with it, since it was a holiday, and all. He said that they might be serving a limited menu, but he didn’t know for sure. I thought it was odd that he wouldn’t know for sure. However, it didn’t seem like it would be a complete lack of service, but rather that they might not be serving everything on the regular menu, so I didn’t think much about it. He finished checking me in and gave me my keys and I was on my way.
I walked into the room, and set down my things. I immediately went to the fireplace, and found on the mantle a framed note that said that the fireplace was out of service. Oh no! What the? Why didn’t they mention this when I checked in? I immediately called down to the desk to find out if there was anything to be done about that. They said that they would send a service guy around to check it out. He came in, took a look at the note, and declared that it must be out, but that he didn’t know anything about it. He called the front desk to have them arrange to put me in a different room. Then he handed me the phone. I was told by the man at the desk, the same who had checked me in, that there was no other room available with the fireplace, and that the room they had originally planned to put me in was being occupied by another guest whose reservation had ended, but that had decided to extend. So they got my room with my fireplace, and I got this one without. I asked him if there was something to be done to make up for my inconvenience, a credit to be given or anything, and he said that since I got the room I booked, fireplace or not, there was nothing to be done. He said it rather rudely, actually.
I was rather disappointed, but I didn’t know what to do. I figured since I had already paid for the night, and was already there, I would go ahead and try to make the best of it. I decided to take a hot bath and crank up the heat in the room to make up for the lack of fire. I set the thermostat to 75 and took my toiletries to the bathroom. I was really looking forward to the bath, since I don’t get to take them at my house, but that’s when I discovered, to my dismay, that the stopper in the bathtub did not work. I suppose I could have reported this to the front desk, but after they were so helpful about the fireplace . . . . I took a very long, very hot shower instead, put on my jammies, and wrapped myself in the hotel bathrobe. I sat myself down in the chair in my room (no foot stool) and dove into the large stack of books I had brought along.
It wasn’t long before I realized that the room wasn’t really warming up like I would expect it to, considering that the heat was cranked, and I could hear that the fan was running at intervals. I investigated the heating vent, putting my hand in front of it to see how warm the air was. That’s when I realized that the vent was pointed up at the vaulted ceiling. No wonder it wasn’t warming up! All the hot air was being directed to the ceiling 20 feet above my head. That’s when I found myself on a chair, redirecting the vent so that the air was blowing into the room. I put the chair back, and then cranked the heater up even higher to about 82.
Then, as I was reading, I began to nod off. I decided a nap was in order. The bed, at least, was very comfortable. It was a King, though, as that is the only size available with the fireplace. I didn’t care in the least that it was a king sized bed. I’m just one gal. I would have been just as comfy in a full or queen bed, so the bed didn’t really make up for the other lacking amenities.
When I got up from my nap, I was getting a little hungry, so I decided it was time to investigate room service. I called down, and was told that they were only serving the late night menu. This menu consisted of a meat and cheese plate, a chicken caesar salad, a hand-carved turkey sandwich with applewood smoked bacon, or a trio of sorbet or ice cream. Not only were they not serving any of their regular dinner menu, but also none of their regular desserts. I wasn’t in the mood to go out, so I decided to just go with the turkey sandwich, since the bacon did sound nice. I have recently begun eating bacon again without being overwhelmed by the flavor. A short time later, my sandwich arrived. It was indeed hand-carved turkey, but it was cold and served on a hamburger bun with lettuce and tomato only. NO bacon. Also it was served with Lay’s potato chips. Lame. And with tax and service fee, it came to $20.
I ate my sandwich, read my books, wrote in my journal, and then went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, I decided to take full advantage of my time I had paid for, and to not check out any earlier than I needed to. I took another long hot shower, and got dressed and ready. As I was getting ready, I noticed that the bill had been slipped under my door, so I picked it up and took a look. In addition to my $20 sandwich, there was also a $10 overnight parking fee, which I had not been told about when I checked in. It just kept getting worse.
Finally, at about 11:30 I went down to check out. I asked to speak to the manager. Thankfully, as I was explaining how the desk attendant from the night before had said that nothing could be for me about the fireplace, she seemed mortified, and began apologizing profusely. I didn’t even really get to the part about the bathtub or the bacon-less sandwich. She took care of my bill for the room service and parking fee, but said that since I had booked and pre-paid for the room using Orbitz, there was nothing she could do about the fee for the room. She offered me a voucher for breakfast in their restaurant. At first I declined, but then the thought of some pancakes or hot oatmeal and tea did sound nice, so I accepted the voucher.
I took my bags out to my car and then went to the restaurant, where the hostess told me that they were no longer serving breakfast – no pancakes. She said that she would check to see if they could get me lunch instead. I waited in the lobby, and as I did, I noticed that the voucher said that it did not cover gratuity. I really didn’t want to spend any money, even on a tip, at that point. Then I overheard a man say to the hostess as he was leaving that his family had just received the worst service he’d ever seen in the restaurant. That was the final straw for me, so I told the hostess that I was not going to have lunch after all, and I got the hell out of there.
So much for my nice little treat to myself. I could have taken a bag lunch to the Best Western and had just as nice of a time for a fraction of the cost.