My husband and I had a canceled flight over Christmas. By the time we needed a hotel, it was ten o’clock at night—our new flight time was the next day at 7AM.
We called the Airport Plaza Hotel because we were temporarily seduced by the cheap rates—every other hotel in the area was $89, $99 or $119 per night. The Airport Plaza was $49! Score!
When we called, a rude man whose thick accent rendered him nearly incomprehensible answered the phone. He was short with my husband on the phone, and then the phone apparently disconnected (later, we determined that the man had actually intentionally hung up). We called the hotel back and asked if there was a shuttle service to the hotel. At first the man said no, but then we reminded him that the poster said the hotel did have a shuttle service. He grumbled and then said to look for a blue van. Then he hung up again rudely.
About 15 minutes later (he was in no hurry to come and get us, perhaps hoping we’d find another place to stay), an old, filthy blue van arrived. The exhaust pipe was dangling off the back of the vehicle, there was rust everywhere and a decal for “IGLESIA EBENEZER” or something to that effect had been removed, relatively speaking, from the back of the van (i.e., this was an old van that another business had owned and the Airport Plaza didn’t both to do a single thing to improve the van cosmetically or, apparently, mechanically).
When we got inside of the van, it got worst. There was a package of cigarettes on the floor—along with a great deal of other garbage. My husband and I looked at each other, but, for whatever reason, we didn’t want to be rude to man…even though he was rude.
He sped along the road, not necessarily staying in his own lane, on the way to the Airport Plaza. He didn’t ask us anything or make chit-chat. Not that this is a requirement, but it’s almost as if the man didn’t want us to stay at his hotel (or perhaps he knew already that, once we saw the place, we would never stay there.)
The hotel itself was poorly lit—often a sign of a lower-class area—and when the man parked the car, this turned out to be quite true.
The man didn’t offer to help us with our bags and just walked in front of us into the building. A woman tried to hold open the doors for us, but the man yelled at her (this was the man’s wife, I believe). The man then walked behind the counter: Turns out, he was the owner, the driver, and he also lives at the hotel.
At this point, another man wearing house slippers shuffled from a dark room (only the lobby itself had lights on, whereas the dining area, if you could call it that, and vending machine area didn’t have any lighting at all). This man appeared to be a permanent resident of the hotel (the brother, uncle, or other relation of the owner), and he sat down at the 1990s computer situated strangely in the lobby and started fiddling on the Internet.
The driver/owner/front lobby attendant then insisted that my husband and I pay up front, before seeing the room. We hesitated, looking at the two ripped, faux-leather couches that were filthy, but we figured the rooms couldn’t be this bad…It was almost as if we were shocked (I have never, in my life, been a hotel this bad).
So the man took my husband’s credit card and insisted that he also make a copy of my husband’s driver’s license. (At this point another man obviously strung out on heroin or some other very hard substance appeared behind us, next to two ripped couches, and wobbled by, barely standing up, not able to make eye contact with us. He was obviously also a permanent resident of the hotel, it seemed.)
The man told us that if we wanted a refund, he would give us one, and then we walked down a filthy hallway to a filthy ‘non-smoking’ room that reeked of smoke. The room was old, filthy, the carpets weren’t vacuumed, there was tiny TUBE tv, and, when we pulled back the sheets, there was black soot on the white sheets.
We turned around and walked out to the front desk. My husband asked for his refund—but the man claimed he couldn’t figure out how to refund the credit card and gave my husband cash.
We walked out to see a prostitute carrying groceries upstairs to her room (and we deduced she must live, permanently, at the Airport Plaza, too).
The only thing I can say is that owner/driver/front lobby attendant did drive us back to the hotel—but he was angry. He sped along the winding road going way over the speed limit, almost as a way of punishing us for wasting his time.
This was the single-most worst hotel experience I’ve had and the filthiest place of ‘business’ I’ve ever seen.
Notwithstanding our need for a hotel for a “quick stay,” we were horrified. If ever the conversation turns to ‘bad hotels’ in a group setting, my husband and I share this story—and we win the ‘bad hotel’ contest.
But staying here would be no laughing matter. Simply put: It’s unsafe. For safety’s sake, pay the extra $40 or $50. You won’t feel like you have lice, and you won’t worry someone will come into your room at night to kill you for $20. No joke. Buyer BEWARE.
- Also Known As:
- Howard Johnson Roanoke
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