I don’t normally write reviews about places I go or the things I do unless they absolutely blow my mind. I don’t believe in giving free publicity to any product or service unless I stand behind it. Well I most definitely don’t stand behind Howard Johnson anymore as a low cost hotel option anymore and here’s why. I’ve been staying in a lot of hotels recently, some wonderful and some not so much but my most recent stay at the Howard Johnson at 5324 Jefferson Davis Highway in Fredericksburg, Virginia, was the worst I have ever had. It began the day I checked in on June 10th, I sat in the lobby for at least twenty minutes because there was no bell at the desk to ring for someone and no one was there to greet me. I should have just cancelled my stay then but it was late afternoon, I was tired from travelling and all I wanted to do was lay down and rest for awhile.
When I was finally checked in, the room was what you would expect for a low priced hotel. I set about unpacking all my things and took a nap. At about 9pm, I took a shower and was about to head off to bed when I couldn’t turn off the shower head. To be honest, I noticed when I came in that it was dripping. I just figured, old hotel, it’s to be expected. Now, when I say I couldn’t turn off the shower, I mean I literally could not turn it off. It ran like a constant stream with the shower head turned all the way to off. It was almost 10pm at this point and I most definitely didn’t want to call the office about it then have to sit up and wait for it to be handled, but eventually after trying a few more times, I relented and called the front desk. The night staff that particular evening which was a woman was on the ball. She came up and checked out the problem and informed me that I would have to switch rooms. I was less than thrilled that I would have to repack all my stuff and move to another room but at least it was next door.
I moved my stuff and went promptly to bed. The next morning when I went into the bathroom I discovered this. That’s black mold on the bathroom wall next to the shower. For those of you that don’t know, black mold is a health threat. So much so, that when you rent an apartment or a home in Virginia, there’s a mold clause. I’m sure that is black mold is a lease breaker, I think it’s safe to assume that you can’t rent a hotel room with mold either, especially visible. I know from past experience, that mold gives me sinus infections if I’m around it long enough.
I should have asked to switch rooms yet again but I knew I wasn’t going to be there that often. Pretty much only sleeping there and I most definitely didn’t want to pack all my clothes YET AGAIN and move to another room. Who knows what I might have discovered in that room? In the course of my my stay there, I discovered other little things, like the toilet constantly ran when you flushed it and then eventually it started to leak from the back all over the floor. The hotel seemed to be falling apart around me. I figured getting moved to another room might cause more problems than I originally had. I didn’t think it could get any worse but then it did.
You remember the scene in The Amityville Horror where the room fills with flies, well imagine that with roaches in your bathroom and you will have some idea as to what I woke up to this morning. That was indeed the last straw for me. I can work around not being able to bathe properly, I can take Claritin to combat the sinus infection that being in a room with black mold on the walls will cause but I draw the line at cockroaches. These weren’t just little ones either, they were roaches as big as my key card and if I hadn’t been completely grossed out and having an anxiety attack simultaneously, I would have stopped to take pictures. Hopefully, there will never be a next time so I won’t have to store that note for future reference.
I decided to check out early and get refunded for the days I wouldn’t have stayed there. I packed up all my stuff and proceeded to the front desk where I was greeted by the most obnoxious gentleman I have ever met, let’s call him “Joe” for the sake of this post mostly because I don’t want to get sued for libel.
Me: I would like to check out early because my room is infested with roaches and I would like a refund.
Joe: I’m not giving you a refund. If you had wanted a refund you should have come last night.
(Notice that Joe never asked me my room number to look it up. If he had, he would have noticed that YES per policy I was entitled to a refund because I was booked through Friday and it was currently Wednesday morning)
Me: Yes, you are giving me a refund, that’s hotel policy. Joe: (Yelling) No, I’m not giving you refund. You can’t just come in here and take a nap and expect a refund. (He even wrote me a note with his name that said he would not give me a refund.)
(Now again, Joe hasn’t asked me for any of my information or looked me up in the system. At this point, I’m angry at the insinuation that I’m doing something dishonest and can only assume he made that statement because I’m a black woman. So, not only is Joe an asshole but he’s a racist asshole and unprofessional to boot.)
Me: (Yelling) It’s hotel policy at any hotel to give a refund when you check out early and you will give me a refund. I’m not paying for nights that I’m not staying here. (It was at this point I took his name down).
Joe: (Finally, looking it up in the system) Ok, I will give you a refund for the nights you stayed here.
I took down his manager’s information to call later. Joe was rude, he yelled at me, his managerial skills were so unprofessional it was ridiculous and if that weren’t enough, he assaulted my character. I left there with a bad taste in my mouth and it wasn’t because the roaches made me rush out of there so fast I forgot to brush my teeth.
I have never encountered such unprofessional treatment in all my life. I’ve had better customer service at Walmart and that’s saying something because you know how I feel about Walmart.
Now, I have a favor to ask all you, my blogging buddies, my readers and fans, share my post. I’m not one to ask for shares but this is the one case where I make an exception. I want the world to know, I want Howard Johnson Corporate to take notice because evidently the managerial staff at this hotel doesn’t care about Corporate or their company’s reputation so let’s show them what bloggers can really do when we band together.
Just in case you’re wondering, I switched to an America’s Best and it’s awesome!