So. Today we’re veering way off course.
The hubs and I were talking this morning about this year’s office Christmas party, which will not be at the hotel where it’s been for the last few years, but at a different one near Bath. It’s a beautiful old building, but we discovered something interesting about it.
On its website, when you click on “Rooms & rates”, it brings up a picture of a gorgeous room, with a four-poster bed and a couch and a high vaulted ceiling. And the description says something about the variety of available rooms, from four-poster to suites to doubles to singles.” Or whatever the exact wording is.
But guess what? That beautiful room in the picture? It’s the only one. There is only ONE four-poster bed in the entire hotel.
Our feeling was that this is a bit of a bait-and-switch. Were there more pictures of all the rooms, it wouldn’t be, but this is akin to a hotel offering a picture of its oenthouse suite and implying all the rooms look like this (trust me, it may not sound like a b-and-s as I’ve described it, but it really does seem so on the site.)
It reminded us of a “romantic” weekend we had once, in Key West.
We decided to stay at a hotel two block off Duvall Street, called the Chelsea House. (I should point out, in the interests of fairness, that the place seems to have changed ownership and management since our disastrous visit.) The website we saw made it sound like a dream; four-poster bed, en-suite bath with tub, balcony, loft with two additional beds, full concierge service. Since what we really wanted was what most couple who haven’t been together for all that long wanted (which would be a luxurious bed we could spend a lot of time in; what, we’re all adults here) this place seemed ideal. We pictured trying out all those beds; we pictured ourselves taking full advantage of that concierge service to order food in; we pictured cocktails on the balcony while wearing bathrobes. You know, that sort of thing.
So we booked it. And paid, if memory serves, something like $200 per night. Which was worth it to us; we both worked, we had no kids, we lived fairly frugally, so why not splurge?
Our room was the size of a postage stamp. Yes, we had a queen-sized bed, and yes there were posters. No bathtub, though; instead we had a shower with black mold between the tiles, that was barely big enough for me to move around in, much less the 6’2 hubs.
We couldn’t find the loft, either, until we looked straight up and noticed a hole in the ceiling. The “loft” wasn’t a loft; it was an attic. An un-air-conditioned attic.
With two unmade beds in it.
By “unmade” I don’t mean they were stripped bare; I mean the pillows were dented, the sheets pushed back, as if people had just rolled out of them and left. So we called the desk to report our beds hadn’t been made. The manager–I think–did come up, and he did bring us a bottle of champagne. But his face fell in disgust when he realized what beds we were talking about. Turned out that, according to him, they don’t make those beds unless someone specifically requests that they do. Since we were just two people, he assumed we wouldn’t be using them.
Apparently it was silly of us to expect that ALL the beds in our room be made, or to expect that paying for a loft with two additional beds meant we were in fact entitled to sleep in that loft with its two extra beds.
We sighed, but since it was late and we were hungry and not inclined to make fusses, we simply asked him to close the trapdoor then, so at least we wouldn’t have to stare at the gaping hole in the ceiling. This he said he would do, and left.
We decided to check out our balcony. Here again we were thwarted. It was a balcony only in the very strictest sense; it was about a foot and a half wide, and somehow they’d managed to stuff a broken mini-fridge and two plastic lawnchairs onto it.
But, the bed was comfy, and as I said, we weren’t inclined to make much of a fuss. We wanted to hang out together; we wanted to sleep late and snuggle. So the balcony wasn’t great, so what? Ugh. I look back and want to strangle us.
I was not fond of Key West. Neither of us were. But we did take pictures by the sign pointing to Cuba (90 miles away!) We walked on the beach. We saw Hemingway’s house but didn’t go in, can’t recall why. We had breakfast at an absolutely charming French cafe.
So the second night we decided to stay in. We’d been walking all day. My feet hurt (I had a pair of new sandles, adorable, but sadly gave me blisters) and we were feeling lazy.
So we called the desk to ask about the concierge service. You’d think we were asking to bring a pig into our room. There was no concierge service; there was no room service. They did have a booklet of menus for local area restaurants, most of whom delivered. We could come down to the lobby and get it if we wanted.
So we did. And called the restaurants, one by one, only to discover none of them delivered.
We ended up heading to the steakhouse across the street. The food was okay; we tried deep-fried alligator and found it tasty (if a bit fatty.) The best part was the waitress; she actually listened sympathetically to our tale of hotel woe, and in exchange we left her, if memory serves, a $45 tip on a $55 dollar check. She was the only person in Key West who actually was nice to us and seemed to care that we’d wasted a lot of money on a crap room in a crap hotel run by one of the Aryan Youth.
The best part of all was, when we started to complain to the mgr on check-out, he interrupted us and snapped “How about I just give you your money back.”
And then charged my credit card as normal.
So not only did we pay an outrageous amount of money for a crap room, and not only were we not even allowed to voice our complaints, we paid for it (thanks to some stupid policy on the part of my credit card bank at the time, by the time we got the bill it was too late to dispute the charge.)
And that is my tale of holiday woe.
Tell me yours!