“I'm sure the Huntsville has many fine hotels. This is not one of them...”
In June of 2011, I took a trip to Huntsville, Alabama. There were several odd things about the hotel and the neighborhood where we stayed that I recorded in a series of posts on Facebook. The quote above is the first post that made on this trip. There were several reasons for this.
We had a hard time booking a hotel room for this trip. There was some sort of soccer tournament going on in Huntsville that week that had all of the nice hotels booked. We were going to be in Huntsville for two nights and couldn’t find a place with available rooms for both nights other that one hotel that I was not that excited about. I showed pictures of this hotel to the guy that I was travelling with. He said he had good experience with this hotel chain in other cities and thought we would be ok. We weren’t.
It turns out that the hotel was in a bad neighborhood. The hotel across the street from us appeared to be one with weekly and monthly rates. If we had wanted to get drugs, I think it would have been a good place to start. We also found out later that one of the city’s larger housing projects was less than a block away.
“The wired remote in my room allows me to play my favorite Nintendo 64 games!”
The hotel seemed to be older but my first impression was that it would be acceptable to stay at. I planned to turn on the television on to catch up on the news while I unpacked just as I always do. I looked around the room and couldn’t find a remote for the TV. It was 2011 and this was one of those hotels that had upgraded their televisions to flat screens. They still had one of those services that allowed you to play video games in your room for a fee. The Nintendo 64 remote that was attached to this tube style TV was the only way that you could control the channel. I thought, “What kind of hotel has remotes like this? I’ve never stayed in any hotel where the only remote that you had was tethered to the TV.”
As I continued to unpack, I took my toiletries to the bathroom. I looked around to check the condition of the room. As with many older hotels, this one looked like they had made several poor attempts at updating the bathrooms. The shower and toilet was in a separate room from the area with the lavatory sink. The showerhead was extremely low. I would definitely have to duck down to get my head wet while showering. While I was in this room, I noticed something else.
“The hotel from hell is also "green". They have that program where they don't wash your towels if you hang them up but do if you leave them in the floor. The people who stayed here before me hung towels on the back of the door. I don't know how long they've been there. I put them in the floor this morning. No, I did not use them.”
You would think this would be enough to say we need to take another stab at finding somewhere else to stay. I must be a glutton for punishment. I didn’t want to deal with trying to find somewhere else.
Soon, we went to try and find somewhere to eat. I told the guy travelling with me about the towel situation. He said he had no issues with his room. I didn’t mention the issue with the TV. I just assumed that all of the televisions had the same set-up. We were a few blocks away from our hotel when we saw something else.
“…tonight on the way to find something to eat, we drove by a store called "Pleasures: A One Stop Romance Shop." This business was located in a building that was once a bank. There was sign outside that advertised 15% off to vets for Memorial Day. We drove it the parking lot in an attempt to try to get pictures of this facility. The sign next to the drive had "ENTER" in big bold letters with "course" underneath. The sign over the old drive thru said "Free Drive Thru Condoms". Getting a picture of that sign was the whole reason we pulled it. It was too dark so the lighted signs didn't show up well in the pictures so we didn't come away with pictures or condoms.”
When we arrived back at the hotel after eating, there was a group of skinheads drinking beer in the parking lot just outside my room. My only concern was that they would be loud all night and that I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I went to my room, turned on the TV, stretched the remote control to the edge of the bed where I stretched out and went to sleep.
“At least the bed is nice.”
This was what I posted the next morning. We ate the breakfast in the hotel. The breakfast was an attempt at being a little more upscale than the doughnuts and pastry continental breakfasts. They had cereals, pastries, milks and juices. I think I remember powdered eggs and sausages. The food was crammed into a small area off the lobby that didn’t have enough room for food and people. The guy I was traveling had gotten there earlier and said I missed the fight over the box of KFC chicken that they had put out.
I was in Huntsville for training. There were several other people at this session that we knew who had booked their travel arrangements earlier than us. We started telling them about my experience with our hotel. They made fun of us and asked us why we continued to stay there. My thought was that we had survived that long, we could make it another night. It was also during this conversation that I first mentioned the remote for my TV. The guy travelling with me said he had a normal remote in his room. How could they manage to take the remote but leave dirty towels?
After the training session, we went back to the hotel. This was the first opportunity I had to call home during the trip. I didn’t know if my wife had seen any of the post I had made about the hotel or the trip in general. Here is an excerpt from a post that I made later that night:
“While I was talking to her, I was walking around the hotel room. While standing at the end of the room, I looked across at the beds noticing how the sheets were arranged on them. I have included a picture of my view below:
I'll will also try and describe this picture using bedding terminology as best as I can. You will notice on each bed a comforter at the foot, the sheets folded down about halfway up, and the pillows at the head of the bed. If you look closely at the bed in the foreground, you will notice that the sheets are not exactly folded down straight. I noticed this while I was talking to Andrea and I decided to correct it. So I went over a turned the sheet up and that is when I found the stain. There is a little brownish dried-up spot of who knows what on the sheet. I have included a picture of it below:
Now here is the deal: When it was dirty towels hanging on the back of the door in the bathroom, I could sort of see that happening and understand that being a mistake. Even though it's someone's responsibility to clean the room and you would think they would be trained to look behind the door for dirty towels, I could see that not happening all of the time. Because of the layout of this room, I could see people not usually hanging dirty towels on the back of the door in the bathroom and it not being a normal place to look. It's just an easy place to overlook. But the stain on the sheets is another issue. Especially when the sheet appears to be intentionally folded over to hide the stain. Missing the dirty towels is sort of Bad Housekeeping 101, but I think that “Stain Hiding” rates as graduate course”
I know what your question is. The answer is yes, that is the bed that I slept in the night before. I didn’t sleep in it on the second night. But we did stay there and I did give the other bed a good check first.
We left the next morning. On the way out of town, we stopped by Pleasures to get better pictures of the signs. We did not go through the drive thru.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller