Bad Reception

Reflections on my hotel experiences from a week on the road.

I just got back from travels that took me to Austin, Texas, Palo Alto, and Pasadena, California. I stayed at three hotels, two of which cater to conferences, the other an independent in Silicon Valley. One thing I expect from a hotel these days is a good TV. At the Barton Creek Resort in Austin there was a new flat screen in the room, but it had snowy reception on most channels. If I wanted to watch the World Series I had to squint to read the score. I called for service thinking it was a bad cable connector causing the problem. They sent a pleasant young fellow, but he couldn’t help. The audio/visual guy called the room and said there was nothing they could do. They knew the reception was bad but management won’t spend the money to improve it. Ok, so they buy new TVs for show, but don’t fix the problem. Next time I’m in Austin I won’t stay there.

Dinah’s Garden Hotel in Palo Alto had an old school tube type of TV. The cable was strong, but I expected a flat screen because of the room price. The Hilton in Pasadena had an LG flat screen and good reception. In all three rooms I was funneled to the hotel station, which showed paid programming each time I turned the set on. A stupid annoyance to me.

Another annoyance—each room had terrible lighting so there was no good place to read or write. In Austin there were even bulbs out. Are these cost saving measures supposed to annoy the customer? And at the two hotels in California the room attendants made the beds up so tight that you almost had to tear the sheets to get out of bed. Is this a time saver so they are easier to make up?

At each hotel, bottled water was displayed in the room—for sale. I kept thinking that for what I was paying they ought to include at least one free bottle. Some hotels are still trying to sell Internet service. What planet do they live on when virtually everybody has wireless access?

I know lodging is a hard, labor-intensive business. I will definitely go back to Dinah’s in Palo Alto because it is three minutes from my daughter’s house. The Hilton in Pasadena I would revisit because I loved Pasadena and they had drivers and a shuttle that made my life easier. The Barton Creek Resort was too pricey for the services provided and the location was too far from downtown Austin where the fun was.

Question: What’s the worst hotel experience you’ve ever had?

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3 thoughts on “Bad Reception

  1. R Ethridge

    My standard these days is a flat screen TV that actually works because it says something about management’s commitment to its customers. If there is no HD, the picture on a flat screen is worse than a tube TV so the whole package has to be complete. As far as free internet, I notice that it is free at $100 a night joints but rather costly at more expensive places. Maybe the thinking is that those customers are not price sensitive. I am sensitive to being nickle and dimed, however, including for water.

  2. Kim

    R Ethridge is right. There was even a recent article in the WSJ about how high-end hotels charge for wifi/internet, but middle-priced places all offer it for free. The same is often true for breakfast. High-end hotels do charge for these things because evidently they can.

  3. Kevin

    I made reservations at a Chicago area Holiday Inn, my plane was delayed 6 hours and they were more than happy to give away my NON-SMOKING room to someone else. Hotels consider a reservation as just a request than a requirement. I experienced almost the same indifference at the Belagio in Vegas as they substituted a room with 2 queen size beds for my “requested” room with a king size bed.
    Thanks, I feel better now, Kevin


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