I stayed at the Candlewood Suites in Linthicum near BWI for two nights in January. I was aware that the brand model is to provide a fully furnished room with lots of opportunities for self-service, and that the hotel provided the bare minimum of service as a result. I did not know that that meant the staff would go out of their way to be rude and unhelpful. As this was the second Candlewood I've stayed at and experienced the same thing, it will be my last stay with the brand. I canceled two future bookings as a result of this stay.
I arrived at the hotel at 6:30 PM on a day when it was pouring rain. There were two people at the front desk when I arrived. As soon as I walked in one of these got up and walked to the back of the front desk area, and the other continued to have her personal call on ther telephone. An honest ninty seconds later, she hung up the phone, and without looking up, said "what's your name?". I gave her my name and she slowly looked through her paperwork and handed me a paper and told me to initial all the blue. One of these was my car license number, so I had to run out in the rain to get it (for some reason it was not on my rental car key). So I come back, even wetter, and she does not look up again. She just says "what's your name?". I am pretty sure she never looked at me during the whole transaction.
I don't care if a hotel room is inexpensive and the hotel does not provide housekeeping or food service: there is simply no excuse for unwelcoming behavior.
Once I got to the room things were better. The room was clean, the bed was comfortable. I actually liked the linen a lot (it was smooth and the covers were light but warm. The kitchen was great to have. The cabinets and fridge were worn (the cabinets did not close all the way, hinges squeaked, the fridge had scratches on it) but everything worked. Lots of TV channels, nice combo work-space/dining table, and large, clean, if cheaply made bathroom.
The other Candlewood trademarks were in place: the honor system convenience store (not fully stocked but fine), the fitness center, etc.
The irony is, for a lot of services you have to go to the front desk: you can get DVD's from them. You can change your towels for new clean ones (since they do only weekly housekeeping), you can request shuttle service (which I did not do), you can change your pillows for firmer or softer ones. Lots of opportunities to ask the unwelcoming, cold, unfriendly front desk staff for service. No thanks.
One last comment. The hotel is actually off the main road and to get to its parking lot, you need to turn onto an access road. There are no street lights or signage for this road and it is actually really hard to see in the dark, especially if it is raining. My GPS device was about 300 feet off on the hotel's location.