Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Stardate 60106.83 – The Squeaky Wheel

Another travel story. I’ll try to keep it brief.

So John is also here for business (link to his blog is off to the right) so we decided to go have dinner last night at Legal Seafood in the Tyson’s Galleria. First, let me say that I really take for granted the no smoking laws of NY until I come back here to Virginia to tobacco-land. We had to sit in the bar because there was a wait for the main restaurant (a freaking wait on a Tuesday night in a Virginia suburban mall restaurant…I really hate this place). Service was alright, although it took them a while to a) tell us that it was alright to just grab any table in the bar area, and b) to get to the table to take our order. What I could not believe, and is further evidence about how this entire geographic area just sucks, was the drink prices. We both ordered a Mojito, and each one was over $10. And they were small. That is freaking NYC prices! And it was not that good.

We ordered the crab-dip appetizer and I had the grilled scallops with a side of seaweed salad and broccoli. And a second Mojito because it had been a long day. We complained about work, so I’m sure Cheryl was glad she was not there. She hates it when John and I start to go off about work.

But this entry is not about the restaurant. When I got to the Courtyard by Marriott and checked in, they gave me a smoking room. I didn’t know this until I got to the room, because the woman at the front desk (who was too busy being picked up my one of the maintenance men) neglected to tell me, even though my reservation specifically asks for non-smoking. So I went back down to the lobby and asked to be moved. The guy at the front desk (guess the woman went home with the maintenance man) told me they were full. I said, “You have to be kidding me, I always request non-smoking with my reservation.” He said, “Sorry, but we’re full.” I said, “Then I’m never going to stay here again,” and departed in a huff. (Maybe it was the Mojitos talking).

I got to my room and called John and asked him to check with the Hilton. He called me back and said they were full. In the meantime I called the front desk and asked for the manager. While I was on hold (10 minutes) I has John via cell phone to call The Ritz to see if they had any rooms. The same guy whom I spoke with at the front desk had fielded my call, and I guess he decided I was going to be trouble, so when I was taken off hold I was not speaking to the manager but once again to him.

He told me that he had “unlocked” a non-smoking room for me that I wasn’t given because it wasn’t “available” for the full length of my stay. So apparently other people can get a lock on a non-smoking room when they make a reservation but I cannot. He came up in the elevator with a new key for me, and I called John back to abort the Ritz call. Luckily he had just progressed to the point of getting the number but had not called them yet. So I got my non-smoking room by being a pain in the ass.

I am a Silver member of Marriott’s program, so it really pisses me off that they would stick me in a smoking room. I would rather pay $50 more a night than to stay in a smoking room. I will gladly switch hotels instead of staying in a smoking room. Having a non-smoking room is the single greatest desire I have when staying somewhere – more important than the view, the bed, the room configuration, or having free high speed internet.

And once I got unpacked and was finishing up some work so that this morning would go a little easier, the ass in the room next to mine made 3 business calls with his cell phone in speaker-phone mode. And this was between 10 and 11 PM. Argh!

So while they did work to resolve my issue, the Tyson’s Corner Courtyard by Marriott may need to go back onto the no-fly list. Why is it so hard to run a good hotel in the Tyson’s Corner area?

This place sucks so bad.

McLean, VA

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