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Posted by on Jun 15, 2006 in At TMV | 5 comments

Why TMV Will Barely Post Today: The Worst Hotel EVER

TMV himself will post very little today (if at all). The reason: he is on a two day schedule that takes him to Santa Monica, CA, then (city name deleted), CA then Pasadena, CA then Chula Vista, CA then home in San Diego, CA.

But there’s another reason. Last night I finished a show at a wonderful country club on a huge sandy beach in Santa Monica. The next stop was a city we won’t mention to protect (I don’t know why) the identity of The Hotel From Hell. I picked it out on Orbitz (which I probably will not use anymore) due to it saying it had “high speed Internet.

Since starting this site I often forgo the traditional Chateau 6 to pick a hotel that advertises wireless or high speed Internet. Wireless Internet at hotels is proving to be a crap-shoot: oftentimes you can’t connect. But I have Cox Remote Dial-Up which is pretty good and every hotel has dataports on its phones…so I pick a hotel that has wireless or high speed Internet if I’ll be there for a while and if it doesn’t work, I connect with Cox.

That was (supposed) to be the case last night. I should have gotten in my hotel by 8:30 (I did) and then I could have answered my business emails and done a few blog posts, including my Around The Sphere linkfest (and if you’re a blogger who sent me a link and I promised to run it, this is why that linkfest won’t be done until Friday).

I should have known something was wrong when I booked this quaint hotel on Orbitz: the hotel wanted pre-payment. Most hotels don’t require that.

When I checked in and asked about the Internet the somewhat bureaucratic lady at the desk said it would cost me $2.50 an hour or $7.95 a day. “We don’t have anything to do with that part of it,” she claimed. And I’m sure the hotel didn’t get a commission(by the way: did I tell you I fell off the turnip truck yesterday?).

But I could live with that. So I told her I’d sign up “and if it doesn’t work, I can just use dial up.”

“We don’t have dial up anymore,” she said. “Just wireless.”

Still, EVERY hotel has a dataport on their phone…right?

The wireless was impossible to connect to. A message using G Mail took about 3 minutes to send. I could not get my website up for more than a minute. A peer-to-peer network wiped that wireless network off my computer.

I called the desk. She told me to talk to the tech. I asked her about the lobby and the computer for the public there. It was 10:15 pm: “Oh. We close the lobby at 11. There’s someone on it now and he’ll be on until 10:45.”

I looked at the phone in the room. NO dataport. I asked her if there were any phones with dataports. “No, we phased out totally our dial-up and went with wireless Internet.”

So she told me to call the tech. I tried to call but the phone wouldn’t work.

“Oh. You paid by credit card but to use the phone we require a connection fee. We need a $20 deposit.”

I asked her if we could put it on the card. NO, she said. I had to come down to the lobby and do it now.

I will leave out what I told her (it was cuss word free) about traveling for many years abroad and in the U.S. and never encountering a situation where a hotel was so uncooperative — a hotel that had wireless that didn’t work, that charged me for the wireless and that demanded a deposit for the phone when I already paid by credit card. She said to call the tech. So I went back to my room, counting to 10 all the way.

The tech helped me connect it, but it vanished after 15 minutes.

I then became notably UNmoderate. I decided that as a matter of principle I was going to another hotel. I could care less about the money I lost. I called and most places were filled but I got a place at hotel a lot more expensive than I normally stay at…that had wireless…but they promised they also had dataports on their phones. And they wouldn’t ask for a $20 deposit and 50 cents a local call.

So I went back to the desk and told her I wasn’t asking for a refund (I clearly would not have gotten it with their cancellation policy) but I was leaving. A man who looked like her husband came out and seemed concerned I was leaving. She seemed almost apologetic.

Then she gave me my $20 deposit back — MINUS the $1 in phone calls I made at 50 cents a local call.

And so, I arrived here, where I write this, having paid more for one night in two hotels than I ever have. But this hotel isn’t charging me for the phone, there’s a dataport I’m using and they have an attitude I’m happy to reward with payment for a night’s stay. This hotel is part of a chain and it’s not a Mom and Pop operation. But last night Mom and Pop made you realize why you wanted to leave home.

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