We chose this hotel due to its close proximity to I-10. (I almost booked a room at a local hotel in town, but chickened out and decided to stick with a name I knew and thought I could trust.) What I didn't realize is that this is a franchise, so the Best Western name didn't really mean anything. When we arrived just past 3 PM, we thought the place looked nice. The lobby and room were pleasant. We dislike ground floor rooms, so always request an upper floor if possible. We were given a room on the 3rd (top) floor. Unfortunately, as soon as the elevator opened we could smell smoke very strongly. The hallway reeked! We went on to our room, noting that although it was signed as non-smoking, the 5 closest rooms (the one across from us, as well as those on either side and the rooms across from them) were smoking rooms. Upon entering the room, we found it smelled like air freshener. At that point we didn't smell smoke, so decided they must be good at keeping it out of the actual room. We quickly dropped off our stuff and left to go see the Naval museum since it closed at 5 PM. It's a bit of a drive out there, although I don't think there are many closer options. We stayed on the base a while, since we found a great swimming spot across the road from the museum (down behind the lighthouse).
AS we returned to the hotel just after 6 PM, we found that our room now smelled like smoke. We immediately went back down to the front desk (checking the 2nd floor on the way to see if it had smoking rooms - it didn't). We let the front desk employee know of the problem, and requested another room. She said the hotel was sold out, so we couldn't move. She acknowledged that no matter what housekeeping did, they weren't ever able to get the smell out of the hallway. She said the non-smoking rooms were usually fine. Her "solution" was to give us a can of air freshener that she pulled out from behind the desk, and suggested we put a towel against the bottom of the door. We went back up and tried. It soon became apparent that trying to cover it up wasn't working. So we looked online for another hotel, and found that the Holiday Inn was a non-smoking hotel. We packed our things and went to check out.
The front desk employee informed us that she couldn't give us a refund, and that the assistant manager, Chrystale, was the only one who could, but wouldn't be there until Monday (our stay was intended to be a Saturday night). I asked to leave a message for her, but was told that she didn't have voice mail. I noticed another business card listed Melissa as the general manager, so asked about her. The employee seemed reluctant, but said she did have voice mail (she also said something to the effect of "who knows when she'll check her messages though"). I didn't want to leave without this settled, so called from the parking lot and asked to be transfered. I left a message explaining the issue. We then proceeded to the Holiday Inn.
I never heard back from Melissa, and the room was charged to our credit card. I called Best Western's customer service the following week and was told that since it's a franchise, they do their own billing. I then called the hotel directly and talked to Melissa, who answered. She said that we'd occupied the room, so I could get no refund. She was actually quite rude. This started many attempts to get the situation resolved. I spoke with Best Western several times. They called the location themselves, but only got them to credit us back $11.15, which brought our charge down to the lowest room rate of that night. Later, Best Western offered me a $25 gift card to their chain. I declined, as I don't plan to stay at one again! The reps I spoke with were sympathetic, but basically said their hands were tied. The supervisor did offer to call Melissa again and get her to give us a $25 credit on the bill (in lieu of the gift card). The supervisor then told me the only other suggestion she had was to contact the Better Business Bureau. I went through that process, but they couldn't help since we'd been in the room. However, in the process, I discovered that in addition to lacking in customer service, Melissa is also blatantly dishonest. Her responses to the BBB representative proved this. For example, she stated "This guest has already gotten a $50 credit and for the complaint they checked in the room before 3pm and did not come back to the front desk till 9pm wanted to check out. We cannot refund anyone aftering having the room that long..if they would of complained even a couple of hours later we would have." She completely made up the part about the $50 credit, as all that showed up on the credit card (and it has been a couple of weeks) was the $11.15+$25 that Best Western had arranged for us to get. She also lied about the times, as I explained earlier. We had come down the desk with the concern immediately upon arriving back at the hotel, and then tried the staff's suggestion before leaving. (Perhaps we are being punished for being willing to try their "solution", thus spending more time in the room?) I even called Holiday Inn to check our arrival time there. They have it in their records that we checked in at 7:23 PM, when Melissa is saying we didn't even come down until 9 PM. At some point she told the BBB that she was not going to waste any more time with us or respond to any more complaints. She also stated that we apparently used the room for what we wanted and left, and wanted a refund. We are from WA state, and just wanted a place to sleep! We had to pay for that elsewhere. We had no reason to make anything up. We just don't want to pay for 2 rooms for the same night. Dealing wih this situation was extremely frustrating, as I have never interacted with someone in a business setting who had such horrible customer service and clearly did not care about us or our concern. I overlooked a couple of really bad reviews on TripAdvisor because the interactions seemed too extreme to be true, but now I wonder... Melissa was willing to lie to the BBB, so probably she's willing to lie in her responses here... The only other comment about smoke (on TripAdvisor) was from 2008, in which the guest wrote that the next day they and their belongings smelled like it. I assumed this must have been taken care of, but was wrong.
Final comment: if you must stay here & prefer a non-smoking room, definitely request the 2nd floor!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.