Tuesday, February 17, 2009

snobbery at its best

This weekend jparks and I were in Austin for his best friend's Valentine's Day wedding. At first I wasn't really excited about a Valentine's Wedding (not that we do anything special for VDay) but then I realized that we would have a night of dinner and dancing and we wouldn't have to plan for it at all. That's a winning situation for two people that usually stay home to avoid the crowds on the 14th. In the future I plan on crashing other VDay weddings.

While the wedding was lovely, I do have one major complaint about this trip. In an effort to save money jparks and I booked the hotel room through hotwire. You know, hotwire where you don't learn your hotel room until you complete the booking process. Hotwire, where the star ratings are wrong. Hotwire, who wants you to die in your hotel room, so you can't complain about the crappy hotel they stuck you with.

Hotwire booked us at the La Quinta Inn off MoPac. Please keep in mind that I am a bit of a hotel snob, but I wasn't always. I can lower my standards in certain situations and this was one time when I was really trying to be open minded about the La Quinta Inn, mostly because no refunds were given for cancellations.

Thursday night was our first night at the La Quinta and I had to check in alone because jparks was off getting shitfaced at the bachelor party. I checked into my room and was happily settling in to watch 30 Rock, when I noticed that one of the two doors leading out looked like it had been kicked in. This particular door supposedly faced a courtyard, but since I was in the last room in the wing the door actually faced the parking lot. The top lock, which was one of these, was totally broken. The part that attaches to the door frame was missing, as well as a chunk of the frame. How in the hell much brute force does it take to break one of those locks? Seeing as I was alone until jparks drunkenly stumbled in, I figured it was not the best idea to push my luck and find out.

I asked the front desk to move me, and they happily did. I was settling into my new room when I walked into the bathroom to find a tub that looked scarier than most gym showers. The bottom of it was gray and gross and I could feel my toes rotting off just from looking at it. At this point what were my options? Go complain again? Move to another freaking room only to find out that the toilet was home to ass biting piranhas? Or that the sink only dispensed flesh melting acid? I decided to suck it up and deal with the tub. But not before letting slynnro and whitney know that should they never hear from me again please come claim my body at the lovely La Quinta Inn.

Did I mention that the room only had two double beds and that jparks was forced to not sleep with me? Because seriously, you can't go from sharing a king sized bed with a person to sharing a double bed. Life does not work like that. Or that out of boredom I started looking up reviews of the hotel and found some gems that included "Hotel was nice until police started knocking on doors in the middle of the night. Never found out what was going on." Or "Four cars were vandalized in the parking lot. Hotel took no responsibility for this."

When all was said and done I did survive the weekend (obviously). We put a towel down on the floor of the tub every day and stood on that when we showered. I'm sure housekeeping loved us, but whatever. And to make up for the crappy room, I got jparks to upgrade us to first class for the flight home. Which was the best and the worst idea ever. First class is seriously awesome. So awesome I will never be able to fly coach again without a lot of whining about how I should be in first class. Where they hand out real silverware and hot towels. And your drinks come in real glasses. And the stewardess even knows your name and calls you Ms. Parks. Holy crap, first class is the land of milk and honey.


  1. I don't ever book through Hotwire for this reason.

    Because one time I did in SF and ended up at a "nice" hotel in the Tenderloin and was afraid of DYING on the three foot walk from the cab to the front door.

  2. There are some things that it's okay to be snobby about...and hotel rooms are definitely on that list.

  3. Funny, my friend used Hotwire when we went to Austin in September, and we went to pick up our rental car, and they had given it away! They claimed it was because of the hurricane and that they couldn't do anything about it (I call bullshit). What ensued was a fight with Hotwire and Dollar Rental for the difference we had to pay by booking a last minute car through Hertz (a $200 increase). Only Chris Elliott, Mother Teresa of Travel, was able to get our money back in the end.

    That said, how did you like Austin?

  4. I would definitely complain to Hotwire, loudly and often, until they at a minimum give you some kind of credit or refund. I agree with your comment re: first class. It is very hard to go back once you've been there, especially on a long flight.

  5. Also, don't ever use ParkSleepFly.com. When we went to Vegas, my dad and stepmom wanted to leave from Tampa really early so we all decided to stay there. Through PSF, we could book a relatively inexpensive hotel room that would allow us to keep our cars on-site until we got back. The site promised well-lit, fenced parking lots specifically for PSF customers.

    Oddly enough, our hotel reservations were at the La Quinta Inn near the Tampa airport and OH MY GOD. It was so ghetto. It smelled funky and the bathroom was so small, you had to practically step into the tub to close the door behind you. My knees almost touched the door when I sat on the toilet. Everything was musty too and the door had definitely been jacked more than a few times.

    To top it off, when we were parking, they said to park anywhere in the lot. There was no well-lit, fenced parking lot to be found. Naturally, we found a few scrapes and bumps on the side of the car, which led my husband to chew some faces off. It was 1am, we were tired and somewhat jet-lagged, and took a picture of the damage along with a confirmation that the damage was indeed there by the overnight employee.

    Lo and behold, the manager said we were lying and that no employee went on record as having witnessed the damage. My husband took it to La Quinta's corporate where a very nice lady apologized profusely and forced the manager of the Tampa hotel to send us an apology letter, as well as some coupons for a complimentary stay. (As if.)

    I've never used Hotwire but now I definitely know not to. I've considered them a few times and I'm glad I didn't because holy crap.

  6. Wow. Um. Seriously.

    I have never flown first class. For reasons stated, that is probably a good thing.

  7. hi! I suggest checking out hotels at tripadvisor.com before you click on "buy" with hotwire. You have to take the reviews with a grain of salt (one contributor was actually reduced to tears because she felt the hotel didn't give her enough special treatment for being a member of their chain-hotel points club), but you can get a good feel for the places, from people with no marketing schemes in mind.