Reserved 1 non-smoking room for 2 nights (10/15-16/2021) from a block of rooms reserved for our wedding party (Group Code KL3, Conf. No. [protected], Holiday Inn, Charlottesville-Monticello, VA, USA)
Arrived afternoon of 10/15 and met wife’s son from Texas, whom I hadn’t seen for 2 years due to COVID, in the parking lot where we learned hotel was totally booked due in part to UVA Homecoming. Son and his friend, both tall guys, had both reserved King rooms but were told they only had Queens available. So much for honoring their reservations.
Checked in and went to our room. Thought I smelled cigarette smoke when I entered but assumed it must have been from someone from housekeeping that smoked as all rooms at facility are non-smoking. However, after unpacking something flicked across the carpet as I was walking. Looked down and discovered it was a cigarette butt! Now it was obvious that someone had recently smoked in the room and the IHG Clean Promise was worthless. My wife took a photo of the butt and then took it down the hall to put in the housekeeper cart trash. She also found a stain in the bathroom that looked like dried blood. Housekeeper said our room obviously had not been adequately cleaned but that she had a special spray to eliminate the cigarette odor. After awhile housekeeping knocked on the door and came in to spray the room. She was wearing a mask but had it pulled down under her chin! I guess they’re instructed to wear masks, but not how. Thought she would spray the entire carpet but instead briefly sprayed the air. After 15 minutes the odor was again obvious.
Soon after that we left the room in order to make a dinner reservation at a fully booked restaurant downtown. Stopped by the desk to mention the problem with our room. First they (later found that we were speaking to the Assistant Manager, Cheryl Hill), told us that we never should have discussed the situation with housekeeping since most of them did not understand English! (apparently they also don’t know how to clean or wear face masks properly. Then they divulged that the hotel had a reoccurring problem with Corporate clients whose guests ignored the non-smoking policy since they weren’t paying for the room. If I were the manager, I would be back charging the client for any rooms that had to be deep cleaned to remove the odor. Or if they were afraid of losing that Corporate client, then you clean the room and eat the charge. I guess this facility does neither. Still not hearing any apology, the assistant manager told us they could change our room but we would have to do so IMMEDIATELY! First of all, that was impossible, unless we went without dinner, as the restaurant was fully booked and we would have lost our reservation. Also, we had no guarantee that the room we would be moved to would be any better since they had already told us there was no guarantee that it had not been smoked in recently. Also, surprised to hear that they could switch our room since they were sold out? They could have offered to deep clean our room while we were gone but apparently the problem was all our fault since we were not able to relocate IMMEDIATELY!
Had a fabulous dinner and then returned to the hotel to get ready to leave for a pre-wedding event off-site. Returned to the hotel and went to bed after loading up on Tylenol since we both had splitting headaches from the cigarette odor. During the night noticed my wife had moved to the other bed. She said something was poking her through the mattress so I moved too. SLEEPLESS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE. NIGHT FROM HELL!
The next day we got up and went out for breakfast not wanting to spend time in our room. Started raining that afternoon but the wedding party had arranged for a bus to take us to the venue. When we went to go down to wait for the bus, the same housekeeper that sprayed our room, followed us onto our elevator and punched the button to go down (signage clearly requested that only 1 person or family per elevator at a time), pushing a cart of dirty linen and again wearing her mask below her chin! When we got downstairs I went out to talk with the bus driver to determine frequency of return trips to the hotel after the wedding but learned he was not leaving from the site until 10:45 that evening. We realized that meant we would be forced to sleep another night in the ROOM FROM HELL. Instead I decided to drive in the rain to the venue so that we could leave early from the wedding and make a late night drive home (1.5 hours). After dinner at the wedding we had to leave early (wished we could have stayed much longer), drove to the hotel, changed our clothes, packed and checked out. Related our issues with our stay and the desk clerk noted in our file and said he would pass on to the Manager. We requested that the desk clerk have the Manager either call us or text us with the resolution of our complaint. We didn’t arrive home until after 10:30 that night. Exhausted but so glad to be home in our own bed.
Waited but never received a call or text from the hotel!
Next day 10/17 noticed they had charged the entire 2 day stay $416.94 to our credit card although the charge was still pending. On 10/19 noticed credit charge had moved to completed. Called the front desk at 4:40pm to say we never received a call or text from the hotel as promised and that we had been charged the full amount. Asked to have the manager call us. Received a call back from the Assistant Manager, Cheryl Hill, not the Manager, at 5:29pm. Summarized our complaints but she never said a word. Asked if she was still there and she finally said yes and that she would review with the manager. Never heard back again!
On 10/20 at 5:31pm I called the front desk again to say that we never heard anything back from the Manager. I also asked that they send me a copy of our bill as we had never received. Sam said he would send it to us right away. Called again at 5:55pm as I had still not received anything. Sam said it was going out then. Received a PDF file and was pleased to see that there were no charges on it! However, then I noticed that it was someone else’s bill with their personal information (name and address, etc.) Called Sam again at 6:15pm and he said he had sent the wrong invoice and that he was updating our bill as we spoke per his manager. Saw they had modified our bill to show a paltry $100 credit on 10/20 as a result of my call. Really frustrating.
Called 10/22 at 3:35pm and got automated system with option to talk directly to the manager. Chose that but went to his voicemail but could not leave a message because his box was full. Called again at 3:38pm and got Sam again. Told him I wanted to speak to the Manager but he said he was not available. I asked that the Manager, NOT the Assistant Manager, call me back. It is now 10/29 and never got a call back. TOTALLY FRUSTRATING.
Called US Corporate customer care 3:08 pm 10/29 and was in que to get a call back in approximately 7 minutes. Waited 2 days but no call back. Called again Sunday 10/31 and talked with Velyn who documented my concerns and created to cases #[protected] for full refund and # [protected] for Poor Service Quality. Need to wait 48 hours for follow-up from Charlottesville.
Found At: Holiday Inn – Cigarette butt and odor found in room, staff wearing masks below their chin in our room and on our elevator