I’ve been alluding to the experience of which I’m about to tell you for a while now. And I’d put it off for the last few weeks, because, frankly, I was waiting for it to become funny. After all, nearly everything awful and travel-related becomes hilarious after enough time, right? Like when my friend’s luggage was lost and she ended up wearing her 15-year-old daughter’s purple skinny jeans around town. When she finally caved and bought a replacement pair of trousers, her luggage miraculously appeared.

That’s funny.

My nightmare of a hotel stay in Ashland has not reached that point just yet (I am convinced that if I wait until it becomes funny, we will be long dead). However, my blood pressure has finally returned to normal, nearly two weeks later. I am no longer waking up in a cold sweat, no longer frantically feeling the need to pack up my bag every ten minutes and change rooms. I’ve stopped removing dog hairs from my clothing – though long after they were gone, I continued to do so, continued scratching my skin, my brain unable to accept that I was not, in fact, covered in pet dander.

Yes, two weeks after our anniversary trip to the Plaza Inn and Suites at Ashland Creek, I have nearly recovered from the experience. And with a calm and clear head, I would like to tell you about it.

And why you should not, under any circumstances, stay there. (Unless, of course, you are a masochist. In that case, go for it, because THIS PLACE WILL MAKE YOU UTTERLY MISERABLE.)

Rand booked our room at the Ashland Plaza two and half months before our arrival. He did so online, because that is the way that most people under the age of 70 plan their travel. It was in this tiny, innocent step that we went awry. It was to be our undoing, though at the time, we had no idea. Later, we learned (via the girl at the front desk) that if you book online, the Ashland Plaza automatically puts you in a pet-friendly room. I figure this is because they have to inform you of this fact, and it’s a lot easier to slip this information in if you’re reserving a room via the web.

After booking, you receive a confirmation of your reservation, and in small print, it states that the room is pet-friendly (it’s nearly unnoticeable). That’s it.

When we arrived at our room at the Ashland Plaza Inn and Suites, we didn’t realize what we had signed up for. We had assumed we’d get a nice, quiet, clean room, and instead we got dog hair. Seriously, it was like a Wookie orgy had taken place.

Dick Move, Ashland Plaza Inn and Suites.

Now, for the record, I think dogs are pretty neat. But I’ve never had one, and I don’t plan on it, ever. Rand and I both have allergies, and it’s just not worth the constant cleaning and popping of Benadryl to actually have a dog. I’d much rather admire them from afar. Also, I hate poop.

When we got into the room, I figured we’d make the best of it. I had let the girl at the front desk know my concerns about staying in a pet-friendly room (which we had only just realized we were in), but she assured me it was incredibly clean (though she barely sounded like she believed herself). Obviously, it wasn’t anywhere near the realm of clean. I dragged a finger across the tv stand, leaving a dark path amidst the dust, dander, and hair that settled there. Long pet hairs of every breed imaginable were tangled throughout the surface of the carpet. It smelled of urine. All in all, very romantic … if you’re a terrier.

This is a photo taken from the hotels website. None of their rooms look remotely like this.

This is a photo taken from the hotel's website. None of their rooms look remotely like this.

-

When we  woke the next morning, my eyes were red and my throat was scratchy. I squeezed some drops into my eyes, hoping to flush out some of the dander. It was hopeless. When I turned to find that Rand, too, was congested, I didn’t need any more convincing: we had to move rooms.

The girl at the front desk wasn’t surprised (I suspect she knew how bad it was). She told us she could give us another room – but we might have to move into another room after that. At this point, I didn’t care. As long as the rooms were available, and we could easily move our stuff into them, that was fine. She assured me that all the rooms would be of comparable price and quality.

Our second room had two queen beds (not exactly great) was substantially smaller than the Wookie harem, but it was clean. Sure, we had no desk space or place to put our suitcases, but my breath lost the sexy asthmatic wheeze it had acquired over the last night, and the whites of our eyes became, shockingly, almost white again. It was the best 36 hours of our stay.

I think the pillows were multiplying. We started with two. They're like Tribbles or something.

I think the pillows were multiplying. We started with two. They're like Tribbles or something.

-

Until, of course, we receive a phone call at 8 in the morning. We ignored it the first time (who the eff calls at 8 in the morning?) and Rand finally picked it up the second time. He couldn’t really process what the guy at the front desk was saying.

“He … he can’t be saying what I think he’s saying.” Rand said. Apparently they wanted us to move not only once more, but two more times.

I went downstairs, in my pajamas, to see what the hell was going on. Normally, I try to look presentable when I’m upset – I think it adds more credibility to your complaints when you aren’t wearing bunny slippers. But Rand never gets to sleep in. He works constantly. This was our vacation, and already, it had been a disaster. I was going to raise hell, and it was going to happen in plaid pajamas.

I spoke to a young man at the front desk who, I assume, had just auditioned for the part of Lennie in Of Mice and Men. He explained that we needed to move rooms – once today, and again tomorrow.

I told him no.

He said we had to, because other people with reservations needed our room. And we didn’t have a reservation.

I explained that we did. He told me that was incorrect – our reservation had been canceled by the staff, apparently, the day we moved rooms.

Did I mention it was 8 in the morning? And I was wearing pjs? AND THAT THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OUR VACATION?

After a heated discussion (in which I explained that we did have a reservation, and that we had already moved once already and were fine with moving once more BUT NOT TWICE MORE, and also THAT YOU SHOULDN’T CALL PEOPLE AT 8AM) another gal came up and was able to secure our next room for two more nights. The only problem? The room wasn’t ready. So we had to pack up our room entirely, store all our stuff for 4 hours, then move it into our new room and unpack. Because of this, we missed breakfast (AGAIN).

Rand and all of our stuff, as we moved into the third room of our 5-night stay.

Rand and all of our stuff, as we moved into the third room of our 5-night stay.

-

Also, I might have been too angry to actually think. I might have curled up into a ball and cried. Because my husband and I get two actual vacations a year. Every other trip requires work, and a lot of it. This is the only chance we get to sit around, linger over breakfast, leave our stuff around the room, sleep in, and do all the other things that married couples without children do. And thanks to the Ashland Plaza Inn and Suites, it was ruined.

Our final room of the trip (which we finally moved into after Rand spent the morning at a coffee shop doing a bit of work because WE HAD NO OTHER PLACE TO GO) was the size of a hatbox – though it is affectionately dubbed “a studio” by the staff. There was a desk, but there wasn’t enough room to sit at it and have our suitcase open at the same time. There was only one chair, so if Rand and I both wanted to check our email at the same time, one of us had to sit on the floor.

Not pictured: space to sit my ass down. BECAUSE THERE WASN'T ANY.

Not pictured: space to sit my ass down. BECAUSE THERE WASN'T ANY.

-

It was horrible.

It was at this point that the lovely Christine, who had been following my plight on Twitter, wrote a letter to the manager of the hotel. In brief, she basically noted they had treated us like utter crap, and that it was our anniversary. Also, I could like to take a brief aside to say that if you have someone like Christine in your life, you are lucky. Even if you haven’t seen her in nearly two decades, she will be as loyal and wonderful as you remember her. But anyway, back to my rage …

The manager of the hotel, Shannon Johnson, replied to Christine.

I can safely say that I have never hated a human being more, after knowing them less, than I do Shannon Johnson. She noted how it was our fault that we had booked a pet-friendly room, and commented on her and her staff’s PURE AWESOMENESS at finding us another room. She also came by to visit us personally and brought us a bottle of wine (why she thought it was a good idea to bother us again, when we had no peace in her hotel thus far, I have no idea. I didn’t even turn around when she came to the room, because I feared of what I might say to her).

I left it for housekeeping, because if I had to work for Ms. Johnson, I know I'd want to be drunk.

I left the bottle for housekeeping, because if I had to work for Ms. Johnson, I know I'd want to be drunk.

-

Later, Rand saw a price list of wines in the elevator.

“Aw, well, at least they brought us their cheapest bottle.”

And at that moment, folks, things got funny. Just a little. Later, Rand’s cell phone rang. It turned out to be a friend, but before he answered it, I joked that it was the hotel.

“They’re going to move us into a janitorial closet,” I said. “But don’t worry – we get more shitty wine out of the deal.”

On our last day, I went to check out. I ended up meeting Ms. Johnson face-to-face. She tried talking to me, which only made the situation worse – I didn’t want to have a conversation with this woman. I didn’t want to talk about the weather. I told her that our experience was heinous. She took no responsibility for what happened, but acted as though she had offered me eternal salvation when she took $100 off our total bill. This did nothing for me. I’d much rather have paid $100 to not have gone through the mess and anguish of our stay. I HAVE $100. What I don’t have is time, or peace, or the opportunity to spend a few restful nights with my husband. The Ashland Plaza robbed us of all of those things, and gave us $100 and shitty wine in a cheap attempt to make up for it.

Oh, and during all of this? Rand and I spotted this – creekside rooms, like the one we had thought we had reserved, that were clean and empty. We checked on them, and they remained vacant for the duration of our trip. GAH!

I guess you need to be over the age of 70 before they let you stay here.

Sigh. I bet it didn't smell like a Wookie sex-dungeon, either.

-

The worse part? I suspect if I had just given housekeeping $100, and asked them to clean our litter box of a hotel room thoroughly in the first place, all of this could have been avoided.

It’s not funny yet, but it’s getting there. The thing is, I love Ashland so much, so intently, and our time spent there is too important to waste being miserable. And yet, it was nearly impossible to enjoy ourselves. Even the time spent away from the hotel was clouded by the rotten experience we had there.

Ah, well. Lesson learned. We made sure to make our hotel reservation for next year nice and early, so we’re guaranteed a nicer room … at a different hotel, of course.

Dick Move, Ashland Plaza Inn and Suites.

Full list of categories:  Advice » Dick Move » Hotels » Rants and Raves » Somewhat Useful Info
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Comments (30)

  1. 28. Sep, 2010 / Alouise:

    Coming from the perspective of someone who works at a hotel, that was really shitty service. If you’re going to make a guest move to a different room, then you should make sure they only have to move once during their stay. And if the rooms happens to be double booked (which happens) then you should move the guest who has yet to arrive to a different room. Or they should’ve just upgraded you and had you move just the one time. Really constantly moving people back and forth just pisses them off, I’m surprised the manager didn’t understand that. I can appreciate a manger sticking up for their staff if they’re being treated shitty, but when a hotel gives bad service then the manager should be accountable, apologize and offer a real solution to make it better. Dick move indeed.

  2. 28. Sep, 2010 / Deanna:

    I’m so, so sorry. This is the dicksmackiest of dick moves. (Although I’m a little excited to possibly meet Christine when she comes to Hawaii. Maybe she can clean up my neighbor’s behavior.)

  3. 28. Sep, 2010 / Alan Bleiweiss:

    Geraldine,

    Wow. That has got to be one of the lousiest experiences ever. Like when my wife and I were on post-honeymoon trip to Vegas, and they put us in a room just below an entire floor that was being renovated with drills, circular saws and heavy lumber dropping at 7AM… While in our case they did move us when I ripped the manager a new one, the fact that they even had the nerve to put people in rooms on the floor below that nonsense was mind boggling. but in our case, they only moved us one time…

    It’s despicable how, of all industries, the tourism industry has such greedy heartless people on the front lines like that. My heart goes out to you and Rand for having endured that. I travel several times a year, but nothing near the pace and frequency you and Rand have to for the business… wow. Just wow.

  4. 28. Sep, 2010 / Jessica:

    I agree. Super dick move Ashland Plaza and I will be spreading the word. On to other options, I’ve read that you know about Ashland Springs, which I’ve always enjoyed. Also there is the Palm Cottages, they’re not right downtown (located across from SOU) but still an easy ten minute walk to downtown. Cute, clean and friendly staff the last few times I’ve stayed. The best part is they’re next door to Morning Glory which is one of the best breakfast/lunch spots in town (also they have a full bar, not a requirement for me but always a plus)! http://www.palmcottages.com

  5. 28. Sep, 2010 / Trisha:

    Wow – not JUST a Dick Move, but also illegal. The law is on your side when it comes to hotel overbooking of rooms – according to the law they CANNOT force you to change rooms once they’ve checked you in and put you in a room. It’s THEIR responsibility to move the OTHER party – who hasn’t checked in yet – to a different room, or turn them away. It doesn’t matter one piddly bit about reservations. If they check you in, they can’t move you. You can simply say “no”. The sad fact is that most people who have not worked in the hotel industry don’t know this, so hotels can get away with being super-jerks, like Shannon Johnson and her totally disgusting Plaza Inn and Suites Ashland Creek. They totally suck.

    • 28. Sep, 2010 / Everywhereist:

      Trisha – Wait, wait, wait — WHAT?

      I had no idea that this was true. Even if we asked to move the first time, does this hold true? If so, I think you just changed my life. At least, the travel portion of my life, which is no small part indeed. :)

  6. 28. Sep, 2010 / Everywhereist:

    Jessica – I already booked for next year … at the Ashland Springs! I can’t wait. :)

  7. 28. Sep, 2010 / Trisha:

    Yes, even if you asked to move. If they have no rooms available they don’t have to move you, but if they do, then once you are in a room – ANY room (with a room key that was given to you, no fair breaking into someone else’s room) – then the hotel cannot move you without your consent. That’s the law.

    Which is good news for those of us who have never outgrown that 2-year old’s need to just say “No!”

  8. 28. Sep, 2010 / Deanna:

    Trisha, you goddess you. FTW!

  9. 28. Sep, 2010 / Colleen:

    I don’t fault people who like Oregon, but I hate it. And I live in Oregon (at least until I move after finishing my school course). But even what you’ve described is heinous. I personally would have left the hotel, and not been quiet about it. Kudos to you and Rand for handling it maturely, because I know I wouldn’t have.

  10. 28. Sep, 2010 / Mike Perron:

    Your sense of humor has certainly returned to you. I read it twice. The second reading I did aloud in my best “sexy asthmatic wheeze”.

  11. 29. Sep, 2010 / Everywhereist:

    Mike – did it leave me? I hate to think that it ever did. Alas, rage makes me funny.

    Oh, and Colleen – we tried to change hotels. Everything else in town was booked! Grrr … And I don’t know that we were THAT mature. :)

  12. 29. Sep, 2010 / Chocoholic:

    Couple of things for next time: B&B and Jacksonville. You can drive into Ashland, yanno…

  13. 29. Sep, 2010 / Lisa:

    I started reading your blog through a link to 10 reasons (and was surprised to find out you were Mystery Guest!) I tried to imagine what could have been so bad, maybe leaky pipes, loud a/c, cold room service…this was beyond anything I could think of on my own.

    You handled it with far more dignity and class than I ever would have.

  14. 29. Sep, 2010 / Lisa:

    PS: I am making my son change his band name to “Wookie Sex Dungeon” or he’s out of the will.

  15. 29. Sep, 2010 / Bhavya:

    [Finally!]

    I am so sorry you had to experience such crappiness, the fact that it happened on an anniversary trip compounds the crappiness a zillion times. I am surprised you didn’t inflict bodily harm on that Shannon woman, ’cause I would have, you and Rand were certainly mature and calm.

    Where can I find another Christine? I really NEED a friend like that.

  16. 29. Sep, 2010 / Colleen:

    Trust me, handling it the way you described was completely mature, at least to me. It sucks that your anniversary weekend was blown by a crappy hotel.

  17. 05. Oct, 2010 / Philip:

    On the plus side, you are probably the #1 Google search result for “Wookie Sex Dungeon.” But I’m at work and I dare not put my theory to the test.

  18. 05. Oct, 2010 / Everywhereist:

    Philip – Indeed. I rank first.

  19. 06. Oct, 2010 / Christine:

    In other helpful news, I’ve been informed that “Wookie” is actually spelled “Wookiee.” Jason is one of the biggest Star Wars nerds ever.

  20. 12. Oct, 2010 / Mark B:

    The correct customer service move would have been to apologize profusely for putting you in the storage room for hair club for dogs and then upgrade you to a better room and if the hotel were overbooked bump the people yet to arrive. Dick move indeed!!

  21. 22. Nov, 2010 / Debbie Allen:

    I have stayed at the Plaza Inn and Suites at Ashland Creek many,many times, and have nothing but praise for the intire staff, and especially the manager, Shannon Johnson. Unfortunately I have met many people like you and your husband, who think that the world evolves around you, and will complain about everything until you git it Free! I too work in the Hospitality Industry, and have had to work with people like you who will find something to complain about no matter what you do or say. What I find amazing is that you would take no responsibility for reading the fine print. It is ALWAYS someone elses falt!!!!!!!!!! Oh POOR, POOR you. Shame on you, and shame on all of the other people who bought into this. Perhapes you should do everyone a favor and stay home, OR, take responsibilty for your actions ( or lack there of )!!!!!!!!

    Debbie

    • 22. Nov, 2010 / Everywhereist:

      Debbie -

      Where to begin?

      It’s “fault”, not “falt”.

      I think you meant to say that “the world revolves” around me. Not “evolves”. But I do believe in evolution.

      “Free” shouldn’t be capitalized if it’s in the middle of a sentence and not part of proper noun.

      “Entire” not “intire”.

      “Hospitality Industry” should not be capitalized, I don’t think.

      It’s “get” and not “git”. Though I love that you misspelled a three-letter word. That’s AMAZING. Really.

      “Perhaps” does not end in an “e”.

      I don’t even have time to go into what’s wrong with the punctuation on that last sentence.

      And additionally, I think you need to re-read the post (given your literary prowess, that might take days. I will wait). I think you missed the point (along with, I’m guessing, a good portion of your elementary school English classes).

      • 22. Nov, 2010 / Dish:

        I’m guessing Debbie missed out on reading comprehension too, as it’s obvious from your article that you were justified in asking for a different room because of health reasons, and it’s reasonable to expect you’d be relocated once (and only once). I think it’s also pretty clear that you did not expect anything free. Rather, you sought to get exactly what you paid for. Since the hotel did not give you that, they should have reimbursed you. Perhaps Debbie is a friend of yours playing a joke. If not, I’m afraid she is the joke.

  22. 03. May, 2011 / Michelle:

    First, I would really like the last five minutes of my life back. I honestly cannot believe I actually continued reading your sad excuse for a blog. Second, if this is the biggest complaint you have about anything…(poor honey, your nice hotel had some dog hair in it..and oh no…you had to change rooms to another beautiful room…twice!!!), consider yourself lucky. Third, poor…sweet Rand. I will pray for him….he will need a lot of prayer to put up with someone as ridiculous as you. God Bless you both.

    • 04. May, 2011 / Everywhereist:

      You spelled awesome wrong.

    • 07. Jun, 2011 / Luke:

      Guess you need another five minutes back for posting a lame reply too Michelle.
      There was every right to complain. Pet friendly does not equal hairy room.

      • 07. Jun, 2011 / Everywhereist:

        Though really, I guess I could have made this a two-word review, no?

        “Hairy room.”

        Enough said. :)

  23. 02. Aug, 2011 / Lisa Grinnell:

    I’m willing to bet that Debbie and Michelle are either friends of, or actually are, Shannon Johnson, Manager of the Plaza Inn & Suites. If not, they should really consider therapy, since taking personal offense to your blog post seems a bit over the top.

    • 02. Aug, 2011 / Everywhereist:

      You are lovely, Lisa. Thank you for defending my temper tantrum. :)

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