GOOD: Pets allowed, so 3 dogs in tow; Mini-fridge & microwave in room. BAD:Unsafe (life safety/ maintenance issues i.e. exposed wiring, plus seedy criminal activity.); Room dirty & smelly. UGLY: Rude desk staff (slow, unfriendly, unhelpful and indifferent at best, seemingly complicit in shady stuff at worst.)
We stayed on a slow Monday night so property was mostly vacant, with all the cars in the guest lot clustered in one specific corner of the complex. Even though we had a prior reservation which was already pre-paid, for some reason the desk clerk put us in a room right next to a "lady of the evening" (and naturally the LOUDEST one imaginable: the walls were so thin that not even the TV blaring WWII documentary footage at full volume could drown out the activity.)
We stuck it out as long as we could, trying not to hear as a half-dozen customers were "entertained" in succession over the span of two hours! Each appointment was loudly followed by the entertainment's obligatory chain-smoke-and-chat session RIGHT outside our door. Not sure why she bothered to go outdoors, since the room reeked of smoke (it even had ashtrays, though the rooms were designated non-smoking and had signs saying such.)
Being a fairly frequent traveller (and a former Hotel employee) who shops around/ brand-hops for deals, I'm familiar with the "get what you pay for" philosophy. Accordingly, I was harboring no illusions about the dirt-cheap rate (pre-paid on Hotwire), just wanted a night's rest in a no-frills,safe environment. Strike out on all counts, as we both agreed we just couldn't stand to stay the entire night. I remembered that we had requested a late checkout and the clerk begrudgingly agreed to a one-hour extension (even though at first he refused to comply at all (despite the fact that this is an advertised perk of the brand's "Value Club", which we had just joined via Android from the motel parking lot.) I stopped at the front desk just to give him a heads-up that we were checking out early in case Housekeeping needed to know for the following morning, giving him a very brief but polite summary of why we were leaving.
He offered no alternate room assignments nor even an apology for the disgraceful situation. Fine, we wouldn't have stayed anyway. But what took the cake was that when I asked him for my copy of the receipt he REFUSED...even though it was a pre-paid reservationj purchased on Hotwire! I could see NO reason why he would refuse such a routine request (especially considering how calm I was acting despite this ridiculous situation: I wasted money on a room I couldn't use, now in the middle of the night I was about to get on the highway again instead of catching some zzz's! Now, I was understandably miffed, and so I impertinently asked him if it would help to call the local police out to mediate the business/ customer dispute: he called my bluff and said to go ahead.
So I did call, not so much to report a crime as much as to encourage the clerk to cooperate. I drove across the street to wait at a gas station since I didn't feel like hanging around there any longer than necessary. After about 20 minutes, two Winchester police officers pulled up and I briefly explained what had transpired. Imagine my surprise when they merely shrugged and dismissed the entire shady scenario (hotel, lady of the night & all) by saying "yep, sounds like pretty much par for the course here." !?! Wow, guess Winchester's not the sleepy little burg I once thought it was...so much for our relaxing 1-night getaway from DC! My advice...spring for the extra $10 and stay somewhere minimally decent, which this was NOT in any sense of the word!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Americas Best Value Inn of Winchester, VA is the secret of Shenandoah Valley. We offer four tastefully decorated landscaped acres, a 1,500 sq. ft. entertainment and apple-terrace dining deck and meeting room for corporate clients.. The property is conveniently located to all historic sites including George Washington's boyhood home. The home of Patsy Cline is 12 miles, Luray Caverns are 20 miles, and Summit Point Auto Racetrack is 12 miles away. We offer complimentary continental breakfast each morning and have a fabulous restaurant on premise. The downtown area is one mile from the hotel and we are centrally located only two miles from the interstate. ... more less
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