(Posted 6-16-99) The following letter was faxed through to Choice Hotels International on Monday 5-24-99. This organization looks into problems that people have with hotels, like the one I have written below. It was also faxed through to a Joe Ruiz who was the general manager of the Comfort Inn Hotel in question.
I've been around the world three times and have stayed in a lot of hotels over the years. Service varies from place to place and that is inevitable. But the reason I am writing this letter to you is to express my complete disappointment toward your hotel on 140 Reservation Road in Marina, CA.
Let's start at the beginning. My father-in-law, had reserved three rooms' way ahead of time. Upon arriving, the lady at the front desk said that we only had two rooms and there was no third. This instantly stressed my mother-in-law out, as she had spent a long time planning this trip for the thirteen of us. After a long debate and a lot of unnecessary confusion on your staff's behalf, it was concluded that our in-laws had arrived before us and were already in one of the rooms. All the front desk had to do was tell us this, not stress us out further by saying we had only reserved 'two rooms.'
Going up to the third floor my wife and I entered our room (326). As soon as that door opened, the room absolutely wreaked of cigarette smoke. Signs are posted in many places in your hotel that say it is no smoking hotel? It was as if a convention had been held there before we'd arrived, it was horrible. As we're both non-smokers this made it all the worse. On top of that the few times that I did go through your check in area at the front of the hotel, it always stunk of cigarettes. Yet the front doors were closed most of the time and there was never anyone smoking 'outside?'
On that first night as we were about to sleep, for fifteen continual minutes two doors down our hallway were banged over and over again at twenty second intervals? By the time quarter of an hour had passed, my wife was furious. She got up out of bed only to find two teenage girls running across the hallway from one room and into another.
The first morning that we woke up, we went to take a shower. The water was borderline warm, (not hot) when we put it on 'full.' In fact the water was getting colder and colder as the minutes passed. This was very annoying considering we'd traveled 400 miles the day before and I'd been up since 05.20a.m the previous day and done a day's work. It would have been nice to freshen up with a nice warm shower that morning. This never happened! Going downstairs to get breakfast my father-in-law who I'd just seen for the first time that morning had already gone up to the front desk to complain about this cold water situation. "Oh, we've had this problem before when we get a full house," was all your staff could say. My father-in-law felt like saying, 'Well if it's happened before and you're aware of this situation, why didn't you do something about it then. It's obvious you need more boilers or a bigger boiler system.
It was then that I went to get some breakfast. Your orange juice came out of the machine (that sits up next to the coffee), like it was water with a touch of orange dye added to it. It was so watery it was a joke.
If the above wasn't frustrating enough for one week end, the last morning that we were at your hotel, all we wanted to do was just sleep in until the required check out time of 11.00a.m. We'd been up early the day before due to my brother-in-law's graduation, so this was our only chance of sleeping in. It had been a late night the evening before and what with the 400-mile drive home later that day, we would liked to of had the option of some rest. At 08.30 in the morning we get a continuing (and I'll add annoying) tapping on the door. It went on for a good minute or two. By this point we'd all been woken up out of a deep sleep. When my half-dazed wife went to open the door, it was one of your cleaning ladies asking if she could clean. I'm sorry, that's unacceptable? Isn't there any communication between your front desk and your cleaners?
I've been to a lot of places in my life and I've seen some very odd things and dealt with a variation of people from all walks of life. From the Aborigines in the Outback of Australia to knife wielding truck drivers, but I've never had so many things go wrong to my family and I, all at once in 'one hotel.'
I've written this letter to express my disgust with your hotel and the bad service that it provided us. The lack of morals that your staff seems to have towards its guests. I just hope that all of your hotels aren't run like the one is up in Marina, CA.
Before I send this letter in to our local newspapers advising others what they might expect when staying in your hotels I'd like to hear what you have to say on this matter.
I await your reply,
Author, Writer and Specialty Department Assistant.
As you can see this hotel has a lot to learn when it comes to serving the public and general organization. I even forgot to mention in the letter that we never got any clean towels in our room from the cleaners that first morning.
I had called Joe Ruiz (manager of the Comfort Inn Hotel in question) on Tuesday 5-25-99 to see if he had received my fax. He told me that he'd got it asked me to be home between 4.00 to 4.30 that same afternoon. He said that he would call. I waited that afternoon and for fourteen more days? I never once got a telephone call, message left in our voice mail or a letter in the mail from him (or anyone else for that matter at the Comfort Inn Hotel) apologizing for their pathetic service. If that lack of response isn't insulting enough, when I called up again on Tuesday 6-8-99, some two weeks after Joe Ruiz said that he'd call, I was told that he 'no longer worked for that Hotel?' Doesn't that just sum up how much they really care about their clientele? Firstly, he couldn't even call me to begin with, at the time 'he' had suggested. Secondly, he couldn't even write to me and explain what was going on and lastly, he certainly didn't bother to forward my complaint onto 'anyone' in upper management so that it could be followed up on.
If you want my opinion, from the one and only experience that my family has had with the Comfort Inn Hotel chain, they completely suck! I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.
Thanks for your reading, Johnny Anderson.
CONCLUSION Choice Hotels rewarded us with a $100 gift certificate that could be used in a variety of hotels around the country. This particular hotel would have a red mark added to it's profile. Thanks again for your reading, Johnny Anderson.
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