The first weekend of June, I had the displeasure of staying at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Spokane, WA. I was vending at the Lilac City Comicon at the Spokane Convention Center and chose to stay at the convention hotel–a mistake I won’t make again.
Back in 2017, our first LCCC, we stayed at the same Doubletree Hotel (also as a Hilton Honors member). Our first night there, we chose to eat at the Spencer’s restaurant inside the hotel. When you’ve spent several hours unloading two cars worth of gear and setting up your booth (this after a 5+ hour drive), you need a good meal.
The restaurant was completely unprepared for a convention and was very understaffed. In fact, we were seated for twenty minutes before a drink order was even taken, and the place was only half-way full. All in all, it took almost two hours for us to get our food, eat, and pay, and not because we were hanging out and chit-chatting. Even worse, they have an incredibly dated and sexist phrase painted over the bar mantle that states: “For a good dinner and a gentle wife you can afford to wait.”
A gentle wife? Really? What is this, 1950? I realize this is an old Danish proverb, but it’s not really appropriate in this day and age. Besides, gentle is boring.
After our stay in 2017, when the Doubletree Hotel asked for feedback on our stay, we expressed our concerns regarding our experience at the hotel restaurant–both the service and the quote. The hotel manager called me and listened to my concerns, a fact that I greatly appreciated. He even went so far as to offer us a free night on our next stay, something we chose to take advantage of in 2018.
Fast forward to Lilac City Comicon 2018. I called the hotel directly a few days before the convention to confirm our reservation and our free night. The hotel decided the easiest way for them to handle it was to give us two separate reservations: one for two nights that we would pay for and one for the comped night. I was worried that this might cause problems, but they assured me it wouldn’t. I specifically asked if we’d have to re-check in, re-activate cards, etc. and was told that everything would be fine.
Because of the long drive and setup of the booth (all normal), we didn’t check in until almost 7 PM. We dropped off our stuff in our room and then went to Spencer’s for dinner. (By the way, the sexist message remains.) We had a good dinner. Service was abysmally slow still, but not like the year before. Too bad the restaurant finds it necessary to perpetuate gender stereotypes and antiquated ideals.
Prior to arrival, I’d done the Hilton Honors digital check-in, which allows you to pick your room. I chose a particular room for ADA reasons, but did not receive the room I picked. I decided not to press it because I thought it wasn’t worth the trouble (at the time), though I came to later regret that decision.
Around 10:30 PM, after we’d already hauled/unpacked 9 bags in the room, we discovered that there was no cold water in our hotel room. We discovered this when Elise turned on the cold water to wash her hands and was burned by scalding hot water.These are her hands three days later. You can still see the burns.
The reason her hands didn’t suffer worse damage is because I had cold packs in the room that she used to ice the burns. Despite running the water continually, it remained hot. No cold water. We called down to the front desk, who agreed to send maintenance up. About twenty minutes later, a maintenance man showed up. (This is nearing 11 PM by this point.) He flushed the toilet, which flushed the water line and then allowed cold water to flow…temporarily. After turning off the water faucet and turning it back on, it returned to no cold water. He stated that the city lines sometimes force hot water through the cold lines and that we just need to “flush the toilet when [you] want cold water.”
He literally expected us to flush the toilet every time we washed our hands, our teeth, or us, because yes, even the shower was affected. Honestly, I’d be surprised if the toilet wasn’t warm or hot water. He claimed it was a problem with the city, implying it was hotel-wide. If the entire hotel had no working cold water, there would have been a riot. If the entire city of Spokane were having water issues forcing everyone to flush their toilets, there would have been chaos in the streets. The apathy of both maintenance and the hotel sent me to Twitter and corporate. Elise’s hands were burned, and there was no care from anyone about it.
No one called us or met with us to ensure Elise’s burns weren’t serious enough to need medical attention. No one checked to ensure she was healing and recovering.
We spent Saturday and Sunday in a flurry of activity at the convention, punctuated by dinners NOT at Spencer’s and sleep. A half-hour before the convention ending, Elise returned to our hotel room to get our dollies for easier pack-up and load-out, only to find that despite all assurances, the hotel had turned off our room keys. With load-out imminent, there was no time to wait in line at the front desk to figure out what had happened.
What this meant is that we didn’t have what we needed to pack up our booth and load our vehicle. Using only what was available at the convention center meant it took twice as long with twice as much work, which means that for someone like me (disabled due to auto-immune disorders) and someone like Elise (with a bad knee), Sunday evening was more painful than it should have been. I called them from the convention center. only to have the woman at the front desk tell me in a snarky tone that we “could’ve had it reactivated.” Again the blame was placed on us, rather than acknowledging their mess up.
When we finally got back to the hotel, the front desk clerk (different person) informed me that they’d messed up the reservation and that yes, they’d deactivated the card in error. It was situated rather quickly, but it shouldn’t have happened to begin with.
After several days of not the best sleep (the mattresses were horrible), having to flush a toilet in order to take a shower or wash hands/teeth, setting up/tearing down a booth, and not having access to our dollies, we were both sore Sunday night and looking for a good night’s sleep before driving home Monday morning. Sore bodies meant that we both found the non-ADA tub to be high-sided and very slippery, which made me regret not fighting for the ADA room I’d requested.
We went to sleep with every intention of sleeping in, only to find that at 7:58 AM, someone was knocking repeatedly on our door. When we answered, it was housekeeping. Elise asked the woman if she realized what time it was, and the woman said she didn’t. Then she stated, “Well, you should have put the placard on the door,” referring to the “Do Not Disturb” placard.
There are several problems with this:
- It’s 7:58 AM. That might apply if it was later.
- Checkout time is at 11 AM. Why in the world would housekeeping want to clean our room BEFORE checkout? That would result in either a) them having to clean it a second time after we leave, since it’s likely we’ll use things between the two times or b) them giving someone a dirty room.
- Again, we have a hotel employee pushing blame on us for the hotel’s mistake.
It’s the second one that really bothers me because it implies they were going to give the next person staying in our room a dirty, used room.
By this point, we were already awake so we decided to go ahead and get the fuck out of dodge. There was no point in staying in a place where we were clearly unwelcome.
While we have every intention of vending at Lilac City Comicon again, we will never stay at that hotel again. While it may cost us more money to stay in the Grand Hotel across the street at a non-convention rate, at least their hotel is clean and the employees actually listen to concerns.
By the way, it’s now nine days since we checked out and still, no one has touched base with us about our stay.
I would avoid this hotel like a bad burn.