I had a somewhat unexpected layover in Fort Lauderdale and went online to find a cheap hotel for the night. My criteria was only that they had shuttle service to the airport operating early enough for a 7:00am departure (5:00 am shuttle was preferred) since Lauderdale cabs are fairly expensive when compared to other cities (i.e. a 6 minute drive from the airport once cost me $24!). There were several hotels in the area that offered a free shuttle service to FLL but this hotel was the first (and cheapest) one that I found with a 5:00am departure - most other hotels didn't start until 6:00am, which was cutting it too close for me to make my flight.
I first attempted to call the hotel to verify their airport shuttle times, then asked if they had any rooms available for the night (seeing online that they did). Danielle said "no, no rooms." I asked if she was sure, and she affirmed that they had no rooms available for the night. Just for fun, I booked a room for the night online instead... Hoping to see Danielle when I arrived...
After booking the room, I immediately called the hotel back and requested a shuttle pick up at the airport. I was told that a Holiday Inn van does the hotels airport pick ups and I should look for it. This was at 2:15pm. At 2:45pm, several Holiday Inn van's had passed by, all of the drivers telling me that they are not the shuttle to the Day's Inn. I saw the shuttle for the Days Inn Airport North two times. I saw the Rodeway Inn shuttle four times. But no shuttle to the hotel I had booked. I called the hotel back. After five minuted on hold, Kem told me that the shuttle was on his way to the hotel from the airport, he would be back in about 20 minutes! So I waited again. At 3:25pm (1 hour and ten minutes after requesting the shuttle) the bus pulled up. The van driver seemed in a hurry. When I asked him to be careful with my luggage, he just shrugged and tossed my bag into the trailer attached to the back. Upon boarding the van, the driver informed the passengers that we had to wait for a large party at a different terminal. When the large party finally boarded, there were not enough seats for everyone. People were sitting on each other's laps! The driver then attempted to "get the party going" with everyone on board. He spent the drive making jokes on the PA system about where people on the shuttle were from; some of which were borderline racist. The driver was absolutely obnoxious; even at one point taking verbal jabs at the passengers who booked for the Days Inn rather than the Holiday Inn... It was brutal.
We finally arrived at the Days Inn at 3:50pm. I was happy to be disembarking the "shuttle ride from hell" and looked forward to speedy check in procedure. I had my credit card and ID out and ready as I approached the desk. Kem, the desk clerk, was efficient but never made eye contact. In fact, she asked me for my ID and credit card not realizing I had already put them on the desk in front of her. However, she did inquire about the van ride. When I told her what had transpired, she didn't respond, but had the look of "trust me, I know" on her face.
I never did get to meet Danielle.
The room was actually pretty nice. It had a refrigerator and a microwave, a large screen TV, the bedding seemed comfortable albeit a little out dated, and their were enough free plug outlets for all of my electronics. The TV was too large to fit inside the armoire, so it was NEXT to the armoire on a bench... The armoire was empty. This seemed like some poor planning on someone's part, but it didn't bother me too much... I did get a little disturbed though when I opened up the refrigerator. Inside was a half empty 2 liter of Mt. Dew! It was as if the housecleaning staff never bothered to look inside the fridge! I was thankful that it wasn't moldy food though - or worse... Although evidence of the housekeeping staff's shortcomings didn't end there... The next morning, I attempted to brew some in-room coffee only to find a used coffee bag of grounds still in the filter from a previous guest... The housekeeping staff's attention to detail is obviously lacking.
The free internet was outstanding! It was even faster than many of the "pay per use" Internets of the more lavish hotel brands. This was an unexpected pleasure!
Even though the hotel is located right next to a major expressway, the noise could not be heard in my room. I had a peaceful sleep (even on a busy Friday night). The wake up call the next morning was also promptly on time.
The shower controls were awkward, but the water was hot and remained so for the duration. The water pressure was also adequate. There were not a lot of towels in my room though. There were only two on the rack in the bathroom with a wash cloth and two hand towels by the sink. Plenty for one person (maybe two), but if you are staying with more than a couple guests it might be something to check on...
Checkout was speedy and simple, at 4:50am. I confirmed that there would be a 5:00am van and the desk clerk informed me it would be pulling up momentarily. This time, the van was a Days Inn shuttle, not the Holiday Inn monstrosity of the previous day. We departed the hotel around 5:15am and arrived at the airport by 5:30. This shuttle ride was thankfully uneventful.
The hotel itself was not a horrible experience as some other reviewers suggest. The shuttle WAS horrible, but taking that out of the equation, you pretty much get what you pay for. I would stay here again, but I would probably take a cab.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Conveniently located in the heart of South Florida, the Days Inn Hollywood provides first class accomodations for all travelers, both business and leisure. Some of our amenities include: complimantary shuttle service to/from Ft. Lauderdale Airport, complimentary deluxe continental breakfast, free in-room high speed internet, outdoor pool, 24 hour business center, lobby bar, and much, much more. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Days Inn Fort Lauderdale Airport South Hotel Hollywood
- Days Inn Hollywood
- Hollywood Days Inn