I think sometimes when we book a trip, we look at the price of the hotel more than anything. A lot of the feedback we get when we ask around, is that this is the prime factor when booking your stay.
Understandable of course.
Travel, more than anything is totally depending on what budget you are on. And, in most cases, you get what you pay for.
The question here is what do want to pay for? In terms of service? Size of the room? Location?
Our case, as you know by now - is that one can also consider how the hotel is effecting it´s environment, but it's true that conscious practices go unseen. Sometimes these places are more expensive, but that is far from a steady correlation. The correlation though, in our experience, seems to be what kind of service you will get. And the emphasis here is on exactly that; what kind. You can get good service at a dirty hotel, but what kind of good service? Is it genuine and sincere? Or does it give you that nagging feeling of a power balance holding everything in place?
Anyways, I think everybody is pretty clear by now, about the fact that it´s better for planet and people if you choose a green, fair, and supportive hotel. What I am arguing for here is that it will also give you a way better experience.
Not that all dirty hotels are as bad as the one I stayed at last week, but just use your common sense; are people who are fairly paid, working in an environment to support the good of the planet, more likely to do their job better and in a more honest way?
So to my story about exactly this. I went to New York last week to attend New York Times Travel Show (more on that soon) and as always we look for new places. This time I was trying to find places in the lower price range and in doing so, I had two places to visit; Hudson Hotel in Hells Kitchen and Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side. Wether Hudson Hotel pays decent wages or not, I can´t tell. I have contacted them, both by email and on the site to get an answer on how they meet our criteria and still haven´t gotten a response. I'll guess not. However, my bad experience had started before attempts to contact them about this.
I was checking in at 9 at night, went straight from the airport. When I got to my room, the toilet was dirty. Both the actual toilet was dirty with added stains on the tile on the wall in the bathroom. Since this is the last thing you want to see in a hotel room, I went down to the front desk and asked them to send housekeeping to my room while I went on a walk. Coming back an hour later, I learned that housekeeping had gone home for the day. I suggested they move me, which they agreed to. It would be to a room with a smaller bed though, meaning a worse room. I was pretty tired by this time and said sure, whatever, as long as it is clean. Ok, the receptionist said; I want you to go up the 9 floors to your old room, get your luggage and come back down here with the key, so we can swap keys to your new room. Another 20 minutes of carrying bags and going up and down the elevator, to move into a worse room because the room I paid for was not cleaned? I gave up and went back to my dirty bathroom yet ultimately a room where I thought I would get a better night sleep.
Just as I began falling asleep, there is a strange sound in the wall. Could have been the AC making these strange noises, I don´t know. But the noises came back through the night and with that feeling of the dirty hotel, I started fantasizing about rats. I still don´t know the origin of the sounds, but what I do know is that I had a sleepless night.
Next morning I checked out, happy to leave the place as soon as possible. I told the front desk about my experience and got reimbursed on part of my expense. I left to go out for breakfast, happy to leave that place behind. Little did I know the really bad part had not yet begun!
It took me about two hours until I realized I forgot my watch in the room. I remember seeing it next to the bed when I was packing up. So I called the hotel to tell them and was back half an hour later. The front desk claimed they didn't know wether the room got cleaned yet or not, but gave me a key to go up and see for myself. Outside the room was the housekeeper, saying she had just cleaned that room and didn't find anything. I told her I was missing my watch, she said again she didn´t find anything. I went in to look for myself, maybe it had fallen down to the floor. There was no watch in the room.
I went down to the front desk, told them what happened and got transferred to Security who said they were going to talk to the cleaner, who was the only person who had been to the room. 1.5 hours later I learned I was waiting for nothing, since this "talk" was going to happen when she got off her shift. They were going to call me later that afternoon.
No one called. Not on Wednesday, not on Thursday, not on Friday. On Saturday I called them. I got to speak once again to the Security officer (another one), who knew nothing about this. I had to make a new report and he assured me his manager was going to call me back shortly. No one did. Not on Saturday, not on Sunday and not on Monday. Yesterday, on Tuesday, I called again. I spoke to the manager who said that they follow a procedure so she couldn´t tell me anything but advised to talk with the Security officer. So I did. By now a Third Security officer who knew nothing about a missing/stolen watch. Once again I had to go through the whole matter. I asked if I was supposed to file a police report but obviously I have to have the report from the hotel first. I told him it seems impossible, and he assured me that he would have his manager call me. Another day passed, still no one contacted me in any way. It´s been a week now.
I think you get my point. Hudson Hotel might be a little bit cheaper than other hotels in the area. (Not for me though, for me it´s the most expensive hotel night of my life!) But my trip was ruined. And it´s not over, even back at home.
The contrast, when I checked in at Ludlow was silly. The warmth, the coziness, New York became another city and it was worth every penny.
I rather go for two days and stay at a nice hotel than go five days and stay at a Hudson. And to be fair, the price difference was not that huge; Hudson was USD 89 and Ludlow was USD 199.
You´ll be able to find Ludlow here on our site shortly and we will keep looking for hotels on the cheaper side. I will also give you a more detailed report on exactly how lovely that Ludlow Hotel is. But first I have to call Hudson again, hopefully not to have to talk to yet another new Security officer.