The DCA -

I am having a great deal of trouble finding a hotel or motel in Jacksonville for a meeting with a client -- but his secretary comes through and recommends a motel not too far down the road where they do a good bit of service.

So, driving in my rental car, I get to the Holiday Inn on the Arlington Expressway.

As I enter, there is a sign, welcome DCA -- turns out it's the Dachshund Club of America - Florida Chapter. Until midnight, 300 dogs are barking on all the lawns. Then you can hear them barking in the rooms. At 5:30, people are getting tired of them barking in their rooms, so they put them outside. Now we hear them periodically shout over the barking, "Yo! Fluffy, shut up."


On checking out at 8:00, the place smells like dog and the front-desk clerk says, "How was everything." (Standard Hotel Front-Desk Commentary - training manual page 44 -- By the way, I used to work at a Holiday Inn during my time in graduate school!).

I say, "Not good. I can't believe there is a dog show here." and he says, "Sorry." but there is no indication that there is any attempt to "make up" for my inconvenience.

I write a letter to the President of Holliday Inn of America.

Six weeks later, I get a form letter saying they refered case Z234-678 to the local property manager and that I should expect a prompt response. Three weeks after that, I get a letter stating that they are sorry, that the former manager booked this 2 years before, and that if I would write him a letter stating the date of my stay, that they would credit my card.

So, I have to do more work for them. Why didn't they just send me a check instead of creating all this delay and sending me a letter that requires another letter and another letter.


Then, on my next visit, I did not return to the HIA, DCA or not.

But, my travel agent calls their reservations people to ask for another nearby facility. The woman recommends a "new property - the Hospitality Inn downtown." Well, we make a reservation. Turns out that the only thing new about the Hospitality Inn is the sign.

As I go into the lobby, there are two policemen checking out a reported problem, the desk people totally ignore me, the crowd in the lobby look like a bunch of drug dealers. I am probably the only person in the hotel with a tie.

I want to go to the "work out room" which turns out to be a converted room, mirrors on all the walls, that smells like a latrine. No thank you.

When driving to the airport to leave town, I see a sign for a Ramada.


On the next trip,

I stay at the Ramada. It's an older property. The sauna doesn't work -- the wooden door is "screwed shut." The jacuzzi doesn't work -- it's hot but the pump doesn't work. The weight room is being remodeled. The restaurant is being remodeled, but I can get something to eat in the bar. In the bar, I sit at table for 15 minutes, reading a book, and I then go up to the bar and eventually place an order. The bar tender is friendly, but I have to make contact in order to get any service.

On checking out, I mention that the place needs some fixing.

The check-out woman says "like What?"

So, I mention the jacuzzi and she says, "they bought that 12 years ago and the company has gone out of business." (Does that matter to me? Not actually my problem, but it is their excuse.) I mention the restaurant and she says it's open in the morning from 8:00 until 1:00 -- (The other girl said it was being remodeled).

The weight room is closed because customers wrecked the equipment -- blaming the customer works to mean that it won't be fixed again -- all customers are equipment wreckers!

Anyway, the client's secretary asked me how was the Ramada, because she is interested in finding a new place to put their company visitors. Guess what I said.

Addendum: I did finally find an Embassy Suites down the road...

And I just love Jacksonville, but will admit that it has been 15 years since I've been there!

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