Bad hotel is bad

OK, well while it wasn’t the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at in my life (that honour goes to a place somewhere near Ft Lauderdale where we stayed one night on an unplanned Spring Break trip), it was bad.

Very, very bad.

Given my unsuccess (new word!) at finding a place to live over the weekend, I came back to Sydney yesterday for some midweek inspections. The first one was early today and the last at 5.30pm, which meant I needed to stay over a couple of nights.

I decided to stay at The Sebel in Surry Hills because, well, it was available (my usual hotels in Sydney were booked out). And it was inexpensive for what it claimed to be. A four and a half star hotel for less than $225 per night. It was also convenient, a quick walk from Central Station and the Light Rail.

I had my first doubts when I walked into the elevator. The doors were heavily scuffed and there was no security key access. Any yahoo could wander off the street and pop up to the guest floors. When I got to my room, its door was also scuffed and the paint was chipped in places. Hmmmm…

My room was OK but a bit vacant feeling. Schmick bathroom, but the ceilings were really really high and there was no artwork whatsoever on the walls. There was a flat screen TV on the wall opposite the bed, at a height just a little too high to make for comfortable viewing from the bed, and that was all. The furniture was modern, but kinda cheapy.

Worst of all, the room was very, very warm. Hot, even. And humid. No worries, I thought as I shoved the key into the thingy and fired up the air conditioning. It’s been a hot day and the air conditioning’s been off.

Two hours later, it was still warm. The air conditioning wasn’t doing much of anything, not even blowing out much air. A call to the front desk brought maintenance to the room, but after confirming that there wasn’t much air coming out the best he could do was offer up a fan.

Um, no. Four and a half star hotels do not come with fans because their rooms are stinking hot.

After I said I thought I’d try to check out (having already checked last minute availabilities at other hotels), he arranged to have me moved to another room. The a/c was a bit better in this room, so I decided to stay the night. But by the time I went to bed I realised it was like staying in your Grandmother’s condo in Florida, when she refuses to turn the a/c below 75F because it’s Florida and it’s *supposed* to be warm. I went to bed and after two hours of laying on top of the sheets because it was too hot to get under them, I got up and made an online booking for the next night at another hotel.

I was ready for an argument or at least an in-depth discussion about why I was cutting my stay short when I checked out, but the guy behind the desk didn’t say anything beyond ‘that’s fine’ when I said I wanted to check-out early. Which was nice, because I really didn’t want to go into the details – I just wanted out. I did think it was a bit curious and I wondered if this happened to them more often than not.

So I gathered up my bags and rolled my way down to the Rydges World Square, where once my room was ready (I was a bit early or their 2pm check-in … it was 9am) I enjoyed the positively frigid temperatures provided by air conditioning that actually worked.

Oh yeah – my first room at The Sebel also had ants. Rydges, antless. And $10 cheaper.

I hate complaining about shit like non-functioning air conditioning, I really do. I’m even less likely to do something like check-out and change hotels, but I’m so soooo glad I did. Because now that I’m in my new hotel, I’m relaxed and enjoying my stay rather than sitting in a hotbox trying to convince myself that it’s not really all that bad while I smack the stray ant with the guest services book.

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