I was in town for the ACC Women’s basketball tournament, and there was a major ice storm. Originally, I had planned to stay at the Sheraton for $500 for 3 nights. A few days before my arrival, I found a room at the Drury for $400 for the same 3 nights and joined their “Gold Key” club. The next day, I found a room at the Best Western next door for $250 for these 3 nights and canceled the reservation at the Drury. After my Friday game, I was dropped off by a local alumnus whom I had met at the Coliseum and said goodbye without getting a name or contact information before I realized the situation at the Best Western. I saw a sign on the door “No Power” but couldn’t imagine being turned away into the cold since I had a reservation and am Platinum in the Best Western program, but I was. (See the BW review for more on this disaster). I walked to the nearest hotel, which was the Drury. Upon arrival, I was, of course, told there were no rooms as I later found to be the case within 25 miles of Greensboro on Friday evening. The guy at the front desk said that I could leave my heavy bag and walk around the area. When I leaned over to pick up my bag, the back of my jeans ripped to add to my “wonderful” day. I then went in the dark lobby bathroom and found another pair of pants to change into. When I came out, I used my phone to search Hilton, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, etc. and realized then that nothing was available closer than Chapel Hill so it would have been fruitless to walk the area in search of a room. I had no rental car and was alone. I asked the other front desk guy about staying in their lobby and was told that this wasn’t possible. At this point, my angel appeared. She is the general manager, Lauren Gibson. I explained my situation to her and told her that I had had a reservation and had canceled to save money, but she understood. She certainly lived the biblical quote below. Let me state that I am not an outwardly religious person. I find myself to be more spiritual and private with my faith as we Episcopalians tend to be, but in the case, I really felt that God brought Lauren into my life to rescue me from the fear and loneliness that I was feeling at this very low point in my journey in a strange city where I knew no one.
Matthew 25: 34-40
34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”
Lauren invited me to stay in their lobby as long as necessary-all night if needed since there was nowhere to go since even the next door Waffle House was closed! She really calmed me down and was the epitome of Southern hospitality. She offered me shelter (an easy chair in the lobby), food (pizza in this case), and drink (water, coffee, etc.) and reassured me that I was welcome to stay until normalcy returned to Greensboro. Now that I knew I wouldn’t be on the cold, icy, slushy streets of an unfamiliar city, I was able to plan my remaining time there and asked about Saturday and Sunday night. Lauren said that they were fully booked on Saturday so I used my phone and made a prepaid reservation at the Sheraton. Around 11 pm, the nice Maryland fans returned with the news that their ladies had been upset. (I was lucky since my alma mater, Notre Dame, was the eventual champion so at least that worked out for my visit) One of the policies that I really liked about the Drury is that they would allow early departure without a charge if you canceled by a certain time. Since many of the Maryland fans canceled, I could have stayed there on Saturday night but had already booked the non-cancelable rate at the Sheraton. Lauren understood and invited me back for a future trip to Greensboro, and this will be my first choice unless I have a function that requires me to stay elsewhere such as the large convention center Sheraton, but I will never stay at that or most Best Westerns again. Just before 1 am, Lauren came by the easy chair where I had settled in for about 7 hours and met so many nice people who were staying there. Everyone was so friendly and understanding of my situation, and if this is an indication of the type of people that stay at Drury, they are top notch in that respect also. She said that they had a room. She said I could stay in the lobby if I wanted to, but I chose the room even though it was $99. The room had no electricity (only the common areas) and no hot water anywhere except the coffee pot. I got about 5 hours of sleep and awoke with the sunlight in my window. Surprised that the electricity was still out (I heard later that they didn’t get it back until early Sunday morning?), I went down to see what they had for breakfast and had some coffee, a banana, and a half wheat bagel. (I have to watch my sugar intake so avoided the pastry) Lauren was still there and going strong! I asked for a late checkout (1 pm vs 11 am) and was told ok. I ended up leaving at 11:30 am as I was getting hungry and couldn’t sleep any more anyway. The Waffle House was now open but without electricity so they had a limited menu of items they could make on the gas grill.
In conclusion, I did not get to experience the Drury at its best. My room had a fridge, microwave, and coffee pot, but without electricity, they were useless. The clock did have a battery backup so I knew what time it was. I forgot to ask for a flashlight that so many were given so I had to feel my way around the bathroom, even after the sun came up due to its location but I could see the main room layout. There was no hot breakfast so I can’t comment on their usual protein offering (eggs, sausage, etc.). None of this mattered to me at the time; what I will never forget was the kindness of Lauren and her staff. I was in a panic and feared what was to come, and the Drury Inn (i.e. Lauren) comforted me. Thanks again, Lauren. You were my guardian angel in Greensboro on March 7-8, 2014!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Less than two miles from the Greensboro Coliseum Complex and five miles away from downtown Greensboro, the central location of Drury Inn & Suites Greensboro is perfect for business trips or vacations. The Extras Aren't Extra!(R) at Drury Hotels! Enjoy free extras from our hot breakfast, to the free wifi throughout the hotel, to the free gated parking, to the 5:30 Kickback(R) evening menu. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Drury Inn And Suites Greensboro
- Drury Inn & Suites Greensboro Hotel Greensboro
- Drury Inn Greensboro
- Drury Inn Hotel Greensboro
- Drury Greensboro
- Greensboro Drury