If it sounds too good to be true…..

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably missing some fine print…..

When you travel, much gets compressed into a very short span of time. Although this was only 5 days ago – it feels like last month.

My son and his friend picked me up at Sky Harbor terminal 4 and we headed off to terminal 2 to drop off the friend for his flight out. *smile* Learning the signage of a new airport is always interesting. Suffice it to say we had a very comprehensive tour of the Sky Harbor before stopping at terminal 2. We headed for the hotel to address the little hiccups of our reservations.

I was juggling many things at the time I needed to book a hotel. I really hate having to make travel decisions when I am faced with many options. In such situations, I turn to my sister. I asked her help for booking me into a hotel for 5 nights. I gave her my son’s new work address, I gave her a price range, and my basic “musts” – free parking and free wifi. She is a devotee of Bookings. com and came back with an amazing find: The Four Points Sheraton only 15 minutes or so from my son’s new office. The amazing part was the special deal being offered on Bookings.com: $47/night. Normally I’d be looking for a 4 or 5 star luxury hotel on the theory that this trip was my vacation. But this deal was too good to pass up, and Sheraton is a good brand, and the hotel not only had my “musts” but Bookings.com claimed there was a spa onsite as well. I booked my 5 nights. I heard from my son that they were almost to Tempe and they’d booked a different hotel. I said let’s just have you in the same place I’ll be so you don’t have to change. I went online and got them the same hotel, but for $52/night for the 2 nights before I arrived. Unfortunately (and not unreasonably) the hotel needed my okay before they would roll my son’s stay into mine (think about packing luggage and all that). He had a delayed checkout so that’s what we needed to address once I landed and before we did anything else.

Let me stop here and say that this hotel should have been an absolute perfect choice at an amazing price. The rooms were nice, the beds were comfortable, the lighting was good (enough light to read in a comfy chair in the room and great lighting in the bathroom – white, not yellow, for people who might want to apply makeup), the water pressure was excellent, electrical outlets and USB ports everywhere, and fantastic staff. The room had both a safe and a refrigerator. The refrigerator was large enough to store two gallon-jugs of water. The room and the hallways and the common areas were clean, the elevator prompt, and there were desks and tables for business use in the lobby area. There was a pool. There was NO spa, despite the claim on Bookings.com. The clerk explained to me that it HAD been right next door but that it had moved across the road. This hotel really has/had a lot going for it. All WE really needed was a place to sleep at night – we were out all day long every day doing business.

As we drove to the hotel, I learned more details about the previous 2 nights, and why there was a special deal for $47/night. When they had checked in to room 203, there was a slight problem – the a/c was not working. Given that Tempe was under a severe heat advisory for temperatures reaching 117 degrees F, a/c was a necessity, not a luxury. They went back to the front desk where they were booked into 218 which had working a/c. Ahhhhhh. But the wifi was sporadic. The next morning my son attempted to extend 218 into my reservation. He was told no problem, happy to help. But when they attempted to update the computer, room 218 could not be changed (dates couldn’t be updated). Odd, they said. We’re sure someone can help with this tomorrow which is when you need it. When the men went up to room 218 for their second night, their keys didn’t work. Okay, that often happens with these digital keys. They went back to the front desk and got the keys reactivated. Everything was okay except for the broken desk chair, which really was not such a big deal, and the wifi – which kept cutting out. Even so, it was okay. The men spent time chatting with the front desk clerk, Jimmie, and learned that the hotel was being sold by Sheraton to Marriott. I’m not sure at what point of the transfer-to-business they were at, but both Sheraton and Marriott are reputable hotels and things should have been maintained.

Let me reiterate that the staff a this Sheraton have been wonderful, cheerful, helpful – not a single complaint here about the people involved.

It was now the 2nd morning for the 3rd night stay and we went to the front desk. But they couldn’t change room 218 to be for additional evenings. Jimmie said no problem! I’ll book you into a better room (I’d mentioned casually that I was really a princess and liked luxury). He booked us into 106 which was a suite!!! A living room, and a separate bedroom. Uh oh – it was a single king-size bed. I love my son very much but I do NOT want to share a bed with him. We went back to Jimmie and explained this and he said no problem – I’ll get you a room with 2 queen beds. He did, but the room was not yet available. We left our luggage in 106 and took off for lunch and errands.

When we got back a little after 3, we got keys for room 233. We went there and all seemed fine. The wifi worked, the room was cool, everything looked good. I showered (good water pressure, hot & cold water) and we rested awhile before going out to dinner. We came back and noticed that the desk chair was missing a roller on one of the legs. Not a big deal. We went to sleep but noticed that the room was really not as cool as the thermostat was indicating. In the morning on our way out the door we mentioned the a/c and the chair.

Back to the hotel late on Thursday evening and up to the room. Our room keys didn’t work. We went back to the front desk to get them charged. Up to the room again and – wow, it was warm. Chair still broken. We lowered the thermostat as far as it would go and put the fan on high. We went to sleep. Yeah, it was warm all night, not all that comfortable.

Out early again Friday morning, waved to Jimmie. Back late on Friday – hot, tired, just wanting to drop and relax. The room keys didn’t work. Back down to the front desk to charge the keys. Up to the very warm room. I suggested to my son that he take a cool shower and that perhaps the room would be more comfortable. He went in, and came back almost immediately. Great idea, he said, but there’s no cold water. I’d noticed that there was only a very short arc for the cold water the other day and then you hit the hot water. I went in to see if that was the issue. Not only was there no cold water at all, but the water coming out of the faucet was scalding hot – you could not keep your hand under the water. I did lose my temper at that point (having lost my cool a long time ago that day *smile* Tempe is HOT).

I went down to the front desk and, in a calm, quiet but very very forceful voice told Jaylen that he had 10 minutes to get maintenance up to that room to fix the water or we were out of there. That the a/c issue was bad enough, the room keys ridiculous, but only scalding water was completely unacceptable. Fix it or we were gone. (To be honest, even as I said that, I kept thinking why would Jaylen care if we stayed or went? But I suppose someone within the Sheraton or Marriott hierarchy might care.) Less than 2 minutes after I got back in the room, the maintenance man was there. When he saw my son he smiled and said Hi! how are you? as if they were old friends. Which I suppose they were by this point. He did fix the water and I pointed out the broken desk chair and he fixed that as well (all it needed was a new roller). The room was warm but at least we were both cool so we stayed.

Up early Saturday morning and out the door. Running all day, back to the hotel late again. We were getting wiser about the door keys. I went up to the room while my son got his key recharged. Wonder of wonders – my key still worked. Unfortunately when we entered the room it was hot. Not warm, hot. The little bit of a/c we’d been having seemed to be gone. Okay, we’ll take showers, relax. Scalding hot water again. Back down to the front desk to Jimmie, who really should not have been there at that time of night but someone hadn’t shown up and he was working a double-shift. (My son’s theory is that Jaylen couldn’t cope with the issues and quit. *grin*) Jimmie was looking a tad beleagured and there were people all over the lobby and at the desk. He looked up at me, smiled, and said – I know – the a/c, right? I said ‘oh no, we’re used to that, this is something else’. I listened as he explained that yes, the a/c was broken, yes, they were working on it, no, he couldn’t refund money, no couldn’t pay for an Uber to another hotel, no, he couldn’t pay for another hotel, he was happy to ‘comp’ guests to free food and drinks at the bar, but he could not do anything more. In addition, he was keeping the pool open all night for people to use to cool down. Amazing how many times people keep insisting on the same demands and refusing to accept the reply. Finally it was my turn and I explained about the water. The maintenance man came (same man) and did the same thing to fix the water. The room was still uncomfortable. I found that by propping the door open with a suitcase we could get air movement through the room and it was tolerable. Unfortunately we did need to shut the door ultimately to sleep. I said to myself that there was no way we were staying for the last night and I went down to tell Jimmie we’d be checking out in the morning. I went online and did what I should have done Thursday evening – I booked myself into a nearby Hilton.

I woke around 3:30 in the morning and I was HOT. I went to the bathroom to run my hands under cool water. I was hot. Really hot. If I was hot, my son must have been in total misery. I came out to find he’d moved off the bed to the chair. I touched his skin and he was burning. I went and filled the ice bucket and began filling plastic bags with ice and putting them on his pressure points (temple, wrists, ankles, feet) to cool him down. I had the door propped open again to try to get the air to move. I wrapped more ice in a wash cloth to wipe his back, arms and legs. This was ridiculous. He was finally cooled down sufficiently to go back to sleep. I shut the door again and also went back to bed.

We packed and went down to check out early Sunday. Poor Jimmie was back on the front desk. Honestly – he is phenomenal. He stayed cheerful and polite. I told the Hilton people to hire him away. 🙂 Anyway, time to check out and the final insult upon injury – they’d charged me $52/room, not $47. I couldn’t find my confirmation email on my phone, Jimmie couldn’t find any such rate in his computer. After perhaps 4 minutes of looking I thought – what the heck am I doing, just get the heck out of this heat trap. It’s $20. Kiss it goodbye and run. And so we did.

And thus ends the saga of our stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix South Mountain.

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