I’m a rock climber. As such, I try to squeeze in as many opportunities as possible to climb the Northeast’s two top destinations: Rumney, N.H., and a three-mile long ridge in New Paltz, NY, known as the Gunks.
Unlike Rumney, the greater New Paltz area is lodging-challenged. The available motels range from run-down to downright scary.
This past weekend, I booked two rooms at the Rodeway Inn hoping that, since it’s a national chain, it just might be palatable. Wrong.
On its website, Rodeway claims it provides: “Good night. Great savings.” They do not.
Allow me to quickly list my customer experience at the New Paltz Rodeway Inn:
– When my climbing partner and I checked in, we were told the motel’s computer system was down AND that Rodeway only had one room with one king-sized bed available. I went ballistic for two reasons:
1.) I had the confirmation number to prove we’d reserved two rooms
2.) While I like my climbing partner, I was not about to cuddle up with him in a king-sized bed (sorry, Mark).
– After raising a stink, the receptionist (for whom English was probably her seventh language), sighed and said, “Oh wait, Cody, I do have one other room available.” Nice touch calling me by my last name.
– I grabbed the last available room and moved in, only to find the TV was broken, the toilet was stopped up and there was no toilet paper. I ran back to the front desk and waited for 45 minutes for someone to come armed with a plunger and t-paper. The guy had no clue how to fix the TV, so I let that one go.
– The next morning, I took my usual pre-climb bio break and, sure enough, the toilet overflowed. I sprinted to the front desk and ran into the very same woman who had been manning (wommaning?) the front desk the previous night. I told her the toilet had overflowed again. She looked puzzled. “Did you report problem last night, Cody?” Yes, I reported it to you, I said. “Oh, well, lots of computer problems. We fix soon.”
– I opted to use a nearby diner to complete my pre-climb ministrations and took off for an awesome day of climbing.
– Some 11 hours later, we returned to the Rodeway Inn, completely exhausted and dying to take hot showers. I slid my key into room 133’s slot and nothing happened. The door wouldn’t open. We next tried my climbing partner’s room. Same result. So, we dragged our sorry asses all the way to the reception desk to determine the reason for this latest fresh hell. The very same woman was at the front desk (I began thinking I was trapped inside a Twilight Zone episode). “Hi Cody. Good climbing?” she asked with a sweet smile on her face. “Outstanding,” I replied, “but we can’t get into our rooms.”
She smiled again, and said, “Oh, that because we desensitize every room key every day at 11am. Give me your keys and I’ll re-activate them,” she said.
I was astonished and appalled. Have any of you EVER stayed at a hotel or motel where they automatically lock you out of your room every morning at 11 am?
As I’ve said many times in the past, the best marketing and the best content cannot lift sales if the product, service or organization is flawed.
Rodeway Inn’s brand promise (“Good night. Great Savings.)” should be changed to “Lodging’s answer to New Jersey Transit.”
It’s that bad.