My friend Brian, who writes The Gate blog on Boarding Area, recently had quite a stay at an EconoLodge in Mississippi. Is Choice Hotels really so desperate for properties that it would allow a horribly nasty hotel to remain in its portfolio?
Rat Traps, Mold, Blood Stains, Hair – Just Another Night At EconoLodge?
In short, Brian checked into the hotel and found the following in his room:
- Door scratched and filthy
- Walls covered with filth and scuff marks
- Dresser drawers dirty, including hair
- Mini-refrigerator vandalized
- Dried blood on bed
- Coffee machine caked with dust
- Loose mirror above sink
- Bathroom walls covered in mold
He went down to the front desk to complain. The night manager was apologetic and assigned him a new room. But the new room had:
- A broken lock
- Paint splotches on ceiling
- Cigarette burns on carpet
- Hair all over
- Cigarette burns on sheets
- Strange gray substance in the bathtub
- Rat traps outside
You should check out his initial article and follow-up article for pictures from his stay and details about how:
- A Hotel Property So Disgusting, I Spent the Night in a Rental Car
- Blood Stains, Mold, Rat Trap — Response and Compensation: Do You Think It Is Fair?
Brian left the property and slept in his car, noting all other hotels in the vicinity were sold out.
He complained to Choice Hotels and was sent an apology as well as the 8,000 points back that he had redeemed for the room. He pushed back that a simple refund did not make him whole and was awarded 4,000 more points.
It’s really quite shocking. I’ve stayed in some nasty hotels over the years during my worldwide travels, but never at a branded chain motel with such deplorable hygiene standards.
This is quite perplexing. Are Brian’s photographs not enough to send alarm bells ringing at Choice Hotels or is this simply business as normal for some budget hotels? Shouldn’t a property like that be suspended immediately for gross violations of the franchisee contract? Is this sort of thing normal at the cheapest hotels or did Brian just pick a bad one (perhaps indicative by the fact that it was the only hotel in a 25-mile radius with vacancy)? The stock photos from the hotel website look like a very different (and much nicer) motel.
What a repulsive motel. I hope that Choice Hotels will do more than send a form letter response to Brian, but will actually start to audit properties like this one and realize that a wider footprint of motels like this will do the brand no good.
image: Choice Hotels