Sunday, December 16, 2007

Would You Stay in a Hotel if You Found This in the Bathroom?

Warning: I certainly hope you're not eating when taking a peak at this photo - it's just plain gross. (Click on it to expand and get the full effect of grossness.)

Would you stay in a hotel if you found this (see photo) in the bathroom? Well, I did. I'm not a picky traveler but this hotel left the light on for me and wish they hadn't so I didn't have to see the dirtiness.

How did this come about? When I returned from Italy last month, my flight landed around midnight into Jacksonville International Airport. I booked into a hotel chain I used to frequent (and now I know why I haven't in a while) and is easy on the budget.

I hopped on the remote parking lot bus heading to lot #1. Of course I was on the right bus, I wrote the lot number down like a good traveler and tucked it in my wallet.

The driver asked where my car is, I told her which parking shelter I was parked and she informed me I was in the wrong lot! Doh! I wrote the right shelter down but the wrong parking lot.

My options were:
  • Be delivered back to the airport and wait (probably another 20 minutes) for the next shuttle.
  • Walk.
It's 12:30 now and I chose to walk. I'd been up for at least 24 hours and sitting on a plane for 7 hours, I needed fresh air to make it to the Jacksonville hotel.

Heading towards my car, a frizzy haired man, who was on my shuttle (and during the short ride, learned he's a grad student at the University of Florida), flagged me down.

"Do you have any jumper cables in your car? I left my lights on and my battery is dead."

Okay, I was sleep deprived yet remembered Ted Bundy murdered in Gainesville. Was this guy out to do bad things to me?

"Yeah, somewhere I have them, but I don't know where my car is. Let me get to my car," I said. I got thinking, there are people in the booths, why can't he go ask them for jumper cables?

I schlepped my luggage across the street to the other remote parking lot. I knew exactly where I parked, hopped in and in my brilliancy when selecting a remote parking lot, I chose the self-proclaimed "easy one. " The one where all you do is swipe your credit card, a receipt spits out and away you go.

Yeah, right...

I swiped my credit card, the machine read, "Processing" then "Approved." It then asked if I wanted a receipt and when I selected "Yes," nothing happened. The machine then directed me to pull forward. I pulled forward until the wooden arm of the gate was at the base of my windshield.

The stupid thing didn't open!

Because of the brilliant technology of the self check-out option, the booths are not staffed. Luckily, when I backed up the car, I found the "help" button (not to be confused with the Staples "Easy Button.")

I could barely understand the guy at the other end. Sounded like going through a fast food drive through.

"Yeah, I swiped my card and the gate won't open and it didn't give me a receipt."

I thought he said, "Do you want an apple pie with that" but after I let it processed, the garbled voice said, "You must have used the wrong card."

"No, I didn't. Why would it say 'processing' and 'accepted' and ask if I wanted a receipt and told me to pull forward if I used the wrong card?" [Hint - never argue with a woman who's been up for at least 24 hours and returning home from a trans-Atlantic flight]

"Hold on."

And then there was on-hold music. Not sure if it was his ploy to make me fall asleep or calm me down. But then the music was gone. He hung up on me!!!

Meanwhile, another patron was trying to leave and had the same issue. He pressed the button and was having the same pleasant dialogue as me.

I called the help button and an attendant was sent over and around 1:10 a.m., I was set free. But I kept a promise to help the frizzy-haired-possible-serial-killer-grad student.

I entered the parking lot (thinking, I better not have to pay for this good deed) and drove to his car.

"I thought you left," he said standing under the light smoking a cigarette.

"No, I got stuck at the parking lot, long story."

"Oh, well I didn't think you were coming so I went to the people in the booths and their sending someone. But thanks for coming back."

"Yeah, whatever, have a good night," and off I went and checked into my evening shelter.

The things I found in that room were disgusting. It took me 15 minutes to get the deadbolt to lock and I ended up shoving a chair under the door handle as added security. I took a shower in the morning and just didn't feel clean. If I hadn't been so tired when I arrived, I would have asked for another room or left, but at that point in the evening (really morning), I stayed. Think I fell asleep around 2:30 a.m. and was awoken around 4:30 a.m. by what sounded like someone trying to break into my room.

Come daylight, I was on the road back to Tallahassee around 8 a.m.

So I ask, what's the most disgusting hotel room you've stayed in?

3 comments:

Matthew said...

I don't want to get in a pissing contest or anything... but I've stayed in some pretty frightening places. There was the Days Inn outside DC that had bullet-proof glass at the front desk. There was also the hostel in Amsterdam (hint: the entire weekend trip including bus ride from London and hostel bed was about $70). And there were a couple of others in Thailand and China.

I will agree, that bathroom was kinda gross.

JA Huber said...

Well, you definitely win, but I would have thought those scary hotels would have been out of the U.S. :)

Paula said...

DIS-GUS-TING!!! Yes, I have stayed in some really gross places - the kind where there is NO way you are taking your shoes off until its time to go to bed (even then it's a debate). There was one in Livingston TX that had cigarette ash & dirt piled high in all the corners of the molding of the room. Ohh, and yes, the hair in the shower - isn't that delightful! Brings new light to why Keith and I have been traveling full-time in the RV, huh?