A Life Worth Binge Watching
S2 E13 It’s My Prerogative
Last week, I wrote about the incredible experience I had while staying at a resort in Mexico. If you missed it, check it out. Sadly, this week I had the exact opposite experience. Typically, I try not to write many bad reviews, as I know that good help is difficult to find and most places are under-staffed. This experience, however, was a blatant disregard for customer service and cleanliness. Let me explain.
I occasionally have to travel for work, and last week I stayed overnight in Gainesville. I booked the Aloft by Marriott University Area through my company’s travel agent, as it was listed as a preferred hotel. I have stayed at other Aloft Hotels before, and found them to be pretty clean and acceptable. This Aloft, as you will read, was anything but clean and acceptable.
I had worked all day in Ocala and then stopped for dinner before driving to Gainesville. I checked in around 9 pm, dropped my bag at the door and jumped in the shower, as I was exhausted. I noticed the floors seemed a bit dirty but I just looked past it. While showering, I realized that they had forgotten to fill up the shower gel that was attached to the wall and didn’t see any other soap. Well that is a real bummer, I thought. I had some in my bag so I jumped out to grab it. As I exited the shower, I noticed that the trash can hadn’t been emptied. After showering, I opened up the mini-fridge to put in my water and saw old Chinese take-out inside.
Now, I was really getting grossed out. I closed the fridge and walked over to the bed and noticed that the pillows seemed a bit wrinkled. The bed was made, but as I inspected further, I saw multiple hairs on the pillows and sheets. It was obvious that this room had not been cleaned so I packed up my stuff and went down to the front desk to request a new room.
These things happen, so I didn’t get too upset.
Besides, at this point, I really just wanted to go to bed. The young girl apologized and gave me another room. I entered room number two, looked over at the empty trash can and figured this room must be clean. I changed into my pajamas, plugged in my I-pad, and went to pull back the sheets to get into bed. To my dismay, there was hair on the pillows and sheets again. But wait, this gets better. Not only was there hair, there were blood spots on the blanket as well (I do have pictures of the blood stains but thought it was too disgusting to share with you). I walked back down to the front desk with my pajamas on and told the girl what I had experienced. She again apologized. I asked for a manager, but she explained that the manager was not there so I went back to my room. I checked the other bed for hair and blood and when it appeared to be clean, I decided to try and get some sleep.
A few hours later, I was awakened by the most horrible, loud sound coming from the air conditioning unit. It literally sounded like it was going to blow up. I turned off the unit and noticed a weird smell. I immediately thought of the people who recently died at a resort in Mexico from fumes that were emitted by the A/C. I thought for sure that I was going to die and my last day on earth was going to be in a dirty hotel room in Gainesville. Needless to say, I went back down to the desk but no one was there so I grudgingly went back to my room. Between the fear of the deadly fumes, and the hot temperature of the room, I didn’t get any sleep. I checked out and requested a call from the manager.
A few days later, when I had still not received a call from the manager, I decided to call Marriott Customer Care. The agent was extremely rude when I explained what had happened and told me they would get back to me. I told her that if I did not get a call back, I would contact the health department and write a story about it. She said that it was my prerogative and not her concern. After a few days, I emailed the customer service center and outlined my entire communication with the hotel and customer service agent and mentioned that I had photos to support my story. I received an email from the hotel manager who called my horrific experience “alleged” but would refund my company the room charge. Well that did not sit well with me at all. His poor attitude and the lack of empathy for what I had been through infuriated me. I responded that I did not feel that a refund would be sufficient. His response was that he would not offer anything additional. Shame on you Marriott. Looks like I will be taking my business somewhere else.
So here we are. I felt it was my obligation to inform the public of this unclean, unfriendly hotel. It is my prerogative, after all.
Melodye Lewis is a Friday columnist for Flagler News Weekly, inspiring women everywhere to follow their dreams of adventure.
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