Thursday, June 26, 2014

Don't stay at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel

For the second year in a row, Miss D. and I are staying at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, where LibertyCon is being held.  Also for the second year in a row, I'm already infuriated with the hotel.

Last year we had a catalog of errors and problems, ranging from an elevator that didn't work properly, through plumbing problems in the bathroom, extremely uncomfortable mattresses, and a carpet that looked suspiciously like it hadn't been properly deep cleaned for a very long time.  (When you daren't walk on it barefoot because your feet end up stained, that's a bad, bad sign.)  All this while being charged well over $100 per day as the 'special convention rate'.  It wasn't worth half that amount.

Yesterday we arrived and checked in, only to find out that neither of the key cards we'd been issued worked in our room's door.  We had to stand around in the corridor until a hotel employee (who, to be fair, did his best to be helpful) arranged to change us to another room, let us in with his master key card, and had new door cards delivered to us.  Unfortunately, the new room proved to have problems of its own - the paint on the ceiling over the shower is cracked and peeling, there's mildew in the corners, and the tub and surrounding enclosure have clearly been modified and repaired over the years, resulting in unsightly patches.  To cap it all, the shower curtain rail is rusty.

Paying over $150 a day (by the time all charges and taxes are included) is frankly ridiculous for such a low-quality room and the sort of problems we've encountered two years in a row.  No matter that LibertyCon will be held in the hotel's conference facilities - this is completely unacceptable.  I could pay less than a third of this room rate somewhere like a Knights Inn, or slightly more than that at a Motel 6 or Super 8, and get a far cleaner and more comfortable room - not to mention one where everything works!

I can only suggest that if you need a hotel room, or want to hold a convention in Chattanooga, TN, you should avoid the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel like the plague.  I'll be making that point to the organizers of LibertyCon as well;  and if we come to next year's LibertyCon, I'll be looking for a more comfortable place to stay from which to commute to the convention.



Larry said...

You're apparently more optimistic than I am, Peter. "Once burned, twice shy." Unless, of course, the place has come under new management, and have recently been undergoing a facelift. Then I might be persuaded to try them again.

Larry said...

and has recently been undergoing renovations.

I know how 2 rite. Rilly, I do. Grammar: the difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you're shit. Sigh.

Divemedic said...

When traveling, I stay in a Marriott, Hilton, Fairfield Inn, or Double Tree. Failing that, some kind of national chain that isn't a low budget type like Motel 6 is.
That comes from years of seeing what goes on in hotel rooms when I was a paramedic.

That way, I am less likely to see problems like that.

Mike_C said...

Sorry to hear about the bad accommodations. Even if you're spending most of your time at the con rather than in your room it must still rankle. Funny you mention Knights Inns though. A few years ago I was solo in Orlando for a medical conference. Being on my own the first night (my partner flying in the next day), I thought I'd save money by staying cheap and went with a bargain $37 Priceline mystery motel: a Knights Inn, as it turned out.

First bad sign (literally): the neon motel sign was completely turned off (or broken), and I missed the place on the busy Kissimmee strip. Check in was smooth, the clerk polite and helpful. Second bad sign: someone had emptied their ashtray right in front of my door. Well, maybe it just happened, and the employees can't be expected to keep up. Once inside the L-shaped room, no bed, just a floral-print sofa wedged against the farthest wall! Oh, my mistake, that lopsided "wardrobe" is a Murphy bed. Turned out it looked lopsided because the mechanism holding the mattress/frame up was broken and the mattress lurched out when I cautiously opened the door. Once deployed, the mattress reached to the opposite wall, so you had to crawl over the bed to get to the bathroom.

So I dutifully crawled. Once over the room-spanning bed (small room, not large bed) it turned out that an arm of the sofa was mostly blocking the bathroom door: there was a 14-inch gap at knee level. No problem, I'm skinny. But an obese or disabled person would have trouble.

The bathroom was painted in dark brown and the walls seemed to swallow the output of the meager bulb. The bathtub and toilet seat had extensive cigarette burn-marks on them. Ominous-looking bubbles, of a diameter suitable for a pie tin, had formed in the weirdly rubbery paint on the ceiling. (I pushed with a cautious finger; the bubbles would dimple inward, then slowly "reinflate." Creepy.) The medicine cabinet had an old-fashioned razor blade disposal slot, which was kind of neat. The concentric rings of mold centered on the slot were not.

Pillows were literally an inch thick, the blanket threadbare; you get the picture. I crawled back over the bed and shimmied past the guardian sofa to get a bathtowel to fold up to use as a pillow supplement. Among the thin, scratchy towels was one glorious, white, thick, fluffy, soft 100% cotton wonder. On closer inspection the wondrous towel's tag read "Property of Disney Resorts. Do not remove from room." The best thing in that wreck of a motel room was stolen! On the other hand, the aircon worked, and I didn't get bedbugs, so that's something.

Anonymous said...

Next time, try the Chattanoogan. Very nice hotel. A little expensive, but nice, clean excellent amenities.

I stayed there for a wedding. Real nice place.

skidmark said...

Unless forced by time & circumstances (only room available within a 50-mile radius), I am willing to hike back to the front desk, make my complaint in writing, and ask for a refund. Followed by contacting my credit card's customer service folks to request a charge-back on the basis that the place failed to deliver the goods and services advertised.

Yes, sometimes I have had to go with little sleep or a long commute to where my day was taking me, but at the prices even Motel 6/8 charge (both of which I have usually had good luck with) I insist on minimally habital conditions, including no mold, so smoke smell in a no-smoking room, and no bugs. I learned a long time ago never to go barefoot in strange places (and am known to throw away cheap flip-flops at the end of a stay).

Unless the con arranges for all the participants to get at least a partial rebate on their room rate complaining will do nothing. And by next year they will have forgotten why folks were unhappy as opposed to seeing the low rate being charged for holding the con there.

stay safe.

skidmark said...

re: my 8:20

That's "habitable". No excuse except I was typing too fast for my brain.

stay safe.