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Quality Inn lacks quality
Written: Jan 1, 2011 (Updated Jan 2, 2011)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Free stay, nice pool
Cons:Questionable practices by the restaurant, COLD, renovation seems to be a coat of paint.
The Bottom Line: Has potential -- need to work on staffing (if the room is guarrenteed for the night and it's below freezing outside .. go ahead and turn the heat on)
Hubby ends up on the road a good deal. One advantage is he collects hotel points. From a stay in California he got enough points to earn a stay at a Choice Hotel International. His points were set to expire at the end of the year, so we decided to use it for a quick trip down to Hutchinson, Kansas to see the Salt Mine and Museum and the Cosmo sphere. There were two Choice Hotels located there so he went with the one with an indoor pool - Quality Inn, South Hutchinson which was formerly the Sun Dome Hotel. It wasn't the worst place I've ever stayed, but they have many opportunities for improvement.
Hubby redeemed his points on line and had no difficulties making reservations. When we arrived we waited a few minutes for the girl behind the counter to return to her post in check us in.
We have traveled on points many times. This was the first time the check in person announced it two or three times "This is a free stay." "We don't charge you for tonight". Usually we are greeted with "Glad you chose to stay with us tonight."
On the way back to our room, darling daughter noticed that they seemed to have a nice weight room. She was taken aback that there was no key card needed for the room. When we passed the pool area it was open center of the hotel. There were at least four ways to enter and once again no key card needed.
I then realized that there was a restaurant as part of the hotel. The doors nearest were not locked nor did you have to use your key card to go from the restaurant to any other area of the hotel. Yes, I'm in the middle of Kansas but compared to the basic security expected at any hotel, this was lacking.
The hotel had been recently renovated. According to our reservation copy the rooms now had flat screen T.V. Our television had the latest technology to be 10 inches deep. There was an iron, ironing board, room safe, coffee maker with coffee and a microwave. We also had two queen beds which were rather hard, a small desk area, and a chair.
The bathroom contained towel service for four, soap, conditioner and shampoo. I think the main renovation was paint. The wall around the shower head was rather crumbled but it was cheerfully painted over. It looks like maybe a larger pipe had been used for the shower head and when they changed over they never patched up the room.
The first thing we noticed about the room was it was freezing! Maybe the fact that it was winter and the heater was turned off. We turned on our wall unit and it took 30 minutes for the room to get comfortable. We kept our coats on and went under our blankets until it warmed up.
When you are checking in, be sure to check the sign at the desk. It includes the password and log in for the wireless internet. If you don't notice the sign and call the front desk it will take two or three minutes for them to answer the phone.
Darling Daughter wanted to head to the pool. There were a few small scratchy towels on the far wall along with the basket to return used towels. There is no whirlpool. Just a good sized pool with a three foot shallow end roped off from the six to nine foot deep end. The pool was warm and toasting. Unfortunately the air temp was very cold and once in the water you didn't want to leave.
Let's first start with what does Choice Hotels promise you if you go to a Quality Inn. I will quote from the corporate website:
Experience our new Q Corner cafe breakfast, where you can enjoy hot, fresh and healthy breakfast stations with a variety of delicious foods from waffles, bacon and hot eggs to cold cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, breads and pastries.
Since today we planned to hit the Cosmo sphere we decided to have a large breakfast so we wouldn't have to eat again until dinner. But this Quality Inn doesn't seem to have read the corporate web page. We had to go to the small restaurant ( the bar and grille everyone could enter the hotel through ). The meal included with the room was as follows:
One egg any style
two pieces of bacon OR small sausage link
cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, OR piece of fresh fruit
wheat or white toast, Danish OR muffin
coffee, tea, milk, OR juice
We didn't think that would be enough and discussed heading to I-Hop down the road. But we also didn't want to "waste" the free breakfast. We opted to add on a few extra eggs and some sausage gravy to round out the meal.
The waitress was very kind and efficient and then we asked for the bill. Since the "restaurant is not connected with the hotel in anyway" we couldn't charge it to the room. Since we did not think we'd need cash for our "free" breakfast, we didn't have cash to pay the difference so we would have to use our credit card. There was a sign next to the register that read "Effective July 1st. There will be a $1.00 processing Fee per Credit or Debit Card transaction"
What could we do? We had to pay for breakfast and as we had no cash, we needed to pay the fee. We asked the waitress who was ringing us up to explain what we were sure was an illegal fee. She got flustered quickly and after she asked the third time if we wanted the manager to explain it to us I took her up on her offer
Hubby and daughter left so I could talk with the manager. He came in pretty angry. He loudly explained how the government had bailed out the banks but he had larger transaction fees. Twice he said how he had contacted "US credit cards" who process his transactions and they told him as long as he posted that, he could charge fees.
Since he mentioned his processor twice I figured I'd check with them as well as our credit card handler for procedures. So I asked him to repeat it. He told me again "US credit cards ....... but it's none of your business."
As he was getting angry and loud, I knew I wasn't going to get the fee refunded so I decided it was time to leave so I turned around and left with him ranting. As I went down the hall, skipped the route through the pool, and down by the front desk I noticed that the girl at the front desk was on a personal phone call. So I decided to file a quick complaint about the restaurant.
As soon as I mentioned the restaurant, the first thing out of her mouth was the "restaurant is not connected with the hotel in anyway". Guess who was right behind me? Yes, the manager. He continued his rant that it was none of my business who he processed with and he had a sign up (only visible when you were going to pay - not on the door or on the menu about the fee).
By this point I was tired of his voice and wasn't going to let him ruin my day. So I turned around and headed back to the room. I could hear his voice almost all the way down to my room.
After arriving home, I did lots of internet searches where I found the same thing repeated over and over again: "Since 1984, when a Truth in Lending law ban on surcharges expired, some states have enacted laws prohibiting surcharges." Kansas is one of the ones prohibiting surcharges.
I also wonder how "restaurant is not connected with the hotel in anyway" fits here. The hotel is sending customers to the restaurant. There are no locked doors between the restaurant and the hotel. The restaurant IS part of the hotel.
We had forgotten to put the "Do Not Disturb" when we returned from breakfast. There was a knock at the door. Part of me was concerned it might be the manager so I looked through the peep hole before answering the door. Seeing nothing, I opened the door at the same time a key went into the door.
It was housekeeping. Usually when this happens the next words are "Sorry," "I'll be back later" or "Good morning". Today the next words were "You scared the crap out of me".
At check out the girl was very brisk. She was the same one who I complained about the restaurant with. There was no "thank you for staying" or "How was your stay".
There are many things to do in Hutchinson Kansas. The Salt Museum is worth a visit - plus you get to bring a sample home with you. The Cosmo sphere is affiliated with the Smithsonian and gives you a great history from Nazi Germany's rocket program up till Man walked on the moon with both an IMAX and planetarium shows. Be sure to visit Hutchinson; however, until Quality Inn decides to live up to their name I'd recommend staying elsewhere.
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