I make it a point to keep My Fab Fifties Life a positive blog with a positive message and vibe.
And therefore I’m gonna give you the skinny on the Extended Stay America hotel in downtown Austin.
I could blame myself – certainly I was looking for something not too expensive. I don’t need a lot of fancy fluff in a hotel. Just the essentials – and so I chose the Extended Stay America primarily for its location and walking access to all the sites we wanted to see.
We arrived pretty late and it was dark and although I was not too happy with the musty smell of the room, I rarely complain and just accepted it. The thin walls of the hotel also made it easy to hear every cough and footstep in the adjoining rooms, and anytime the bathroom fan was turned on in the room above us it sounded like a freight train. But we went to bed and slept pretty well.
But when we got out of bed the next morning we began to notice something very unpleasant – fleas.
Not one flea. Not a dozen fleas. Hundred of fleas once we began to look closely at the bedding, the carpets and even in the bathroom. We didn’t seem to have many bites – maybe just a couple, but I sure as hell wasn’t gonna stay in that room another minute longer.
And here is what I am really upset about – sure the fleas were awful – but the hotel’s slow response to my complaint really made me mad.
I called the front desk and complained. The woman (girl) on the phone response “fleas?” was all she said. “Yeah, fleas. The room is infested. I want another room right away.” “Uh, let me call you right back”.
Meanwhile she didn’t call right back – we waited and had enough time to begin searching online to see if we could find another hotel to move to. Everything full.
Still no call back so I pick up the phone again and get another person at the front desk. “I’m calling again about Room 314 which is infested with fleas. No one has called me back.” “I’m sorry we don’t have a room we can move you to right now, but in a couple of hours we should.” “Excuse me? Are you listening? The room is infested and I want out of this room now and I want to know how I am going to be compensated.” “If you want to come down to the front desk maybe someone can talk with you.” “Are you kidding? I have to come down there to get help? I want to talk to someone in charge.” He puts me on hold and then transfers me to the GM.
“General Managers office.” “Are you the General Manager?” “Yes I am.” I say, “I want you up to Room 314 right now to see all the fleas in this room.” She says, “Okay I will come right up.”
It made me really mad I had to insist the GM come up and that I was expected to go down to them to solve the problem. Having spent a career in the tourism industry I know guests can be difficult for many trivial reasons. But this wasn’t trivial. My room was a bug festival. And a GM with an ounce of customer service would have been knocking on my door long before I had to demand she come up.
When she arrives I say “You as the General Manager need to see what is going on in this room.” She says, “We are pet friendly hotel and sometimes this happens. I’ve already called Orkin.” I say, “This infestation is not from one pet – its so bad it has obviously been here for a while. You cannot put another guest in here until you fix this.” She says, “I’m working on it. That is what I told the front desk staff to tell you.” I say, “The front desk staff was not who I needed to talk to – I needed to talk to the person in charge. (I pause here waiting for her to offer some compensation and nothing comes so I say) How are you going to compensate us?” She says, “I will give you last nights room for free and we will move you to another room as soon as I have one open. In the meantime you can bring your things down to the front desk and we will keep them secure for you until a room opens up.”
Given we couldn’t find another hotel with rooms available this was the deal we ended up taking. Honestly I think we should have gotten more than one night free and I don’t think she was planning on giving us one night free except that I asked for compensation.
Our second room was, to be fair, significantly better. It did not have the musty smell and the bed was actually more comfortable. But the thin walls and noisy fans from the adjoining rooms bathrooms continued. We did see one flea – which likely came over from the other room on our clothes.
I never saw an Orkin van in the parking lot – that’s not to say they didn’t fumigate – I pray they did for the next innocent guest in Room 314.
Lesson learned – ask in the future for not only a SMOKE FREE room but also a PET FREE room. And maybe don’t be such a damn cheapskate when booking a hotel. But the truth is I have stayed in hotels all over the world – many older, smaller and more rundown than this one – and I have never seen a flea. Ever. And no matter what I paid – I shouldn’t.
I am really loving Austin and want ya’all to come. This is why I’m telling you now – find a different hotel than the Extended Stay America in downtown Austin.
I now understand the meaning of the term “flea bag hotel”.