This is my first accommodations report. Especially during the pandemic, I want to provide accommodation assessments so you can make informed decisions about traveling for you and your family. It is important to note that any experience I have is a one-time event and your experience will most likely differ from mine. My hopes are also to help the travel industry continuously improve their customer experience, polices, and procedures by reinforcing what is working and improving what is not.
I needed to be down in Fayetteville and Lumberton, North Carolina this past weekend to see family. This is a tough time for everyone right now, traveling is down, and everyone is trying to go back to normal or at least a new normal. Because of this, I am very aware of the environment around me when I travel, especially where I sleep at night. It is important for me to feel safe and comfortable and that my family feels the same. I am certain you are saying the same thing about your family and your decision when you leave your house and go to a store or someone else’s home. Our family has always been what I would call careful, when we were checking in to a hotel or resort. However, during this pandemic, we just bring our own cleaners to clean and sanitize the room. We want to feel comfortable enough to take our masks off and just relax with very little concern.
From the outside and going in, this hotel was clean and friendly. The staff was responsive to my needs, welcomed me in at midnight as if it were an earlier time, and made me aware of the safety procedures and policies in place. I took a few pictures of the room as I went in and walked around; from all observations, the room was clean. It smelled wonderful, since the cleaning crew placed a strawberry scented car tree in the front closet closest to the door. However, once I started to clean the room I noticed the dirt.
First, I sprayed the bed cover and pillows with disinfectant spray, along with the couch and the door handles and knobs. I sprayed the tables, dresser, counters, bathroom sink and toilet, just every hard surface, with a non-bleach cleaning spray. That’s when I took the small white washcloth and wiped down the surfaces. I did it in groupings so I can monitor the cleanliness and see if I need to go back over the area again. I was shocked at how dirty this clean room, in fact, was. You can see the first cloth was from the table and chairs, the second was from the tv and dresser, and the larger towel from the bathroom. I really enjoyed the fact that the bathroom was very clean except a little red color that came from under the faucet in the sink.
The worst place was the kitchen. The top of the fridge was coated with dirt/dust which led me to understand what probably happened. These rooms probably sat for months, maybe, where the carpet and air conditioner spread dust and dirt into the air that settled everywhere. That can explain why the bathroom was so clean as compared to the other areas where there was carpet. After cleaning and wiping every handle, outlet, switch, and furniture, I still went back around and sprayed again with the disinfectant spray. I decided not to go under the cover or sheets and just laid on top of the bed to sleep. I lost confidence in the cleanliness of the bed dressings after what I saw elsewhere in the room.
In the morning, the hotel did a great job at accommodating my gluten free health need in their “grab and go” breakfast. I got fruit, yogurt, a granola bar, and coffee and I could eat everything but the granola bar. She was able to take it back to give to someone else who can eat it. I also gave the dirty cloths to the manager and explained what I found in the room. She took down my room number and apologized for the condition of the room.
I am hoping hotels and those who rent accommodations to travelers, would use this information to make sure they monitor their cleaning practices and also perform a good touch-up cleaning if a room has been sitting for a few days. Safe travels out there everyone.