I had stayed at the upscale hotel many times before so I knew what to expect, which is why I kept returning.
Yet on this beautiful warm May evening as I went to check in, the front desk computer froze. The clerk apologized. Oh well, I offered. It happens, no big deal. But 20 minutes later, the computer was still frozen and I was still standing, bags in hand, not checked in. As an apology the front desk clerk offered an upgraded room, complimentary Internet service and breakfast on the house. Very nice and much appreciated, but I couldn’t take advantage of his generosity without a room. Tick tock. Another 10 minutes passes. I’m still waiting.
So I ask for a manager and inquire if he could put me in a room and retrieve my information later. Sure, he says. As an apology for my inconvenience, he’d like to send up a complimentary bottle of wine. Great.
Finally, down the hall and up the elevator I go. But when I enter my upgraded room, it’s warm and kind of stuffy. The temperature panel reads 81 degrees. So I walk over to the control panel and start hitting the down arrows to lower the temperature. Nothing. I keep hitting the arrows. Still nothing. As someone who never excelled at engineering, I figured I was the problem and called the front desk. The clerk apologized and said he’ll send someone right up but no one came. So, I call again.
Moments later, knock knock. The front desk clerk is at my door. Now on a first name basis with Dave, he wants to come in and personally adjust the air conditioning so I’m comfortable. I let him in. He fidgets with the same controls I struggled with and announces he can’t figure it out either.
Knock knock. Now who’s here? It’s the man from engineering. He looks at the panel on the wall and explains it’s not working because the hotel hasn’t switched over from heat to air conditioning yet.
“Do you mean to tell me the heat is on in this room?” I ask. “Yes, ma’am.” I then ask if the hotel realizes it is the month of May. He says they know because other people have been complaining but explains that it’s not that simple to switch all the rooms from heat to air. He then goes on to elaborate on the mechanics of the complicated process when I cut him off.
The front desk clerk apologizes and asks me if I’d like to move to another room. I ask if there will be air conditioning in the next room which obviously there is not. He apologizes again and asks if there is anything they can do for me. I suggest turning on the air. It’s very complicated the engineer offers again and I ask them to please leave my room when there is yet another knock at the door. Now what?
Like a bad sitcom that won’t end, the manager enters carrying a giant fan which he orders the engineer to set up in the middle of my room and suggests that I turn it on and open the windows to circulate the air. My upgraded room overlooked I-95. Thanks, but no thanks. Finally, they leave, dragging the fan with them.
Moments later the phone rings. It’s the desk clerk. He’s calling to let me know that hotel management has decided to turn the heat off and switch over to air conditioning which should happen shortly. That’s great news I say and thank him for calling.
As I start to settle in, the air begins to purr. Things are looking up. But somewhere along the way as the desk clerk and engineer fiddled with the temperature box in an effort to cool the room, they must have turned it down so dramatically that when the air conditioner finally kicked in, it did so with a vengeance. The hot stuffy room quickly turned cold; too cold. I put on a jacket and took a look at the controls myself. The temperature read 58 degrees. Now trying to warm up the room, I press the up arrow. Nothing. I press it again … and again. Still nothing. So I stand there, trying to figure out what to do next when there’s yet another knock at my door.
Dave’s back. This time, he’s carrying a platter of fresh fruit and chutney which he sets on the table while offering another apology for the inconvenience. Apology accepted. He comments that it’s rather chilly in the room. I start to ask him if someone can figure out how to turn the air up so the room isn’t so cold and then decide perhaps that’s not such a good idea. Fortunately, there’s an extra blanket in the closet.