Thursday, May 1, 2008

Our American Journey - Day 24

Well, we did have a few glitches during our stay at the Baymont Inn in Kalamazoo after all. Once we got settled into our room, we decided to grab a short siesta before heading out for supper. Not long after we closed our eyes, we heard yelling and whistling in the parking area at the back of the motel, right below our fourth floor window. Looking out, we saw what we thought was a delivery van backing up to the building. We closed our eyes again, thinking the disturbance would soon be over.

Suddenly there was more racket. This time it sounded like it was happening in the room right beside us! Looking out again, we saw hoses running from the van up to the window of the room beside us. The man below was yelling at the man above, and the man above was yelling back. It was obviously some kind of cleaning operation. Sure enough, soon the howl of a powerful vacuum machine started up in the van. When we looked out in the hallway, we could see someone working at the far end of the hall, vacuuming the carpet.

At that point, we probably should have asked for another room on the other side of the building. Instead, we figured we might as well just go out and get our dinner. Surely they would be done by the time we got back. We were surprised that they would be working at this time of the day anyway when people would be checking into their rooms instead of between noon and 4 p.m. when there would be the least number of guests in the building.

We were just getting changed when there was a loud knock on the door and a voice yelling, “Maintenance!” When I finally opened the door, the man apologized, saying that he had thought the room was empty. Sounds like the motel administration could’ve done a better job of informing the workmen which rooms were occupied so that they wouldn’t disturb guests.

After enjoying a good night’s sleep and an excellent continental breakfast, we went back up to our room to catch up on e-mail, Facebook, etc. Within minutes, we heard yelling in the parking area below our window again. Sure enough, the men with the van and the hoses were back. I hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the outside of our door. Soon we heard the howl of the vacuum machine starting up again.

Not much later, there was a knock on the door. We couldn’t believe it! When I opened the door, I was surprised to see the maid rather than the vacuum cleaner man. “Oh,” she said. “The front desk has you listed as having checked out!” I smiled. “Not yet, but we’ll be leaving soon,” I replied. The noise from the vacuum machine was starting to grate on our nerves anyway.

On the way out of the motel, the lady at the front desk asked us how our stay had been. It was the opening line I was looking for since this motel seemed to be the only one we’d stayed in that didn’t have a feedback form of some kind. “It wasn’t as restful as we’d hoped it would be,” I said, and went on to describe our experience. Her response? “I’m sorry.” That was it.

Hmmmm… maybe their service guarantee doesn’t cover disturbances like that. I wasn’t interested in getting our room for free, so didn’t pursue the issue. But I went away feeling somewhat disappointed. Well, the chances of something like that happening again at another Baymont are probably pretty slim, so we’d still recommend the motel for its nice rooms and clean, attractive facilities.

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