I had been on the road for about a day and a half when I made the choice to find a hotel for the evening. Stopping at the rest area over the Alabama border from Tennessee, I picked up a coupon book where I spotted a listing for the Sleep Inn in the nearby town of Athens. Calling I confirmed a king bed room, non-smoking and paid with my credit card to guarantee the accommodations.
After grabbing a quick bite, I pulled into the hotel’s packed parking lot shortly after 9pm. Dragging my bags into the lobby, I rang the bell for service. Finally on the third ring, an employee came out and checked me in. This is where the problems started.
I was informed there were no more king bedded rooms left, but they did have a queen bed room available. I protested that not only had I been confirmed for a king but it was already paid for. Nothing she could do, I was told, they only had the one non-smoking room left, and it was the same price. Tired, I decided the bed size wasn’t worth the hassle of finding a different hotel and took the keycard.
The room itself was sparsely decorated, with a microwave-refrigerator combination in one area of the room, a TV and a vanity area. The bathroom featured just a shower stall, no tub. I wasn’t even in the room ten minutes when the smell of cigarette smoke became overwhelming. I called down to the front desk where I was told there was nothing they could do about it, as it was probably coming from the smoking room next door.
I had troubles sleeping due to the smell and almost slept past the complimentary continental breakfast. I headed down for the last half hour of the allotted time and found next to nothing left in the food area, save some cereal and an apple. I asked if they had anything else and was told they weren’t going to put any more food out since it was almost time for the breakfast to end.
I ate what was available – some breakfast was better than nothing – and went up to gather my belongings. I stopped at the front desk to check out and asked to speak to the manager about all the problems I had encountered with my stay. I asked the manager to honor the posted 100% satisfaction guarantee and was told it wasn’t her fault the room switch occurred, nor was it the hotel’s fault the non-smoking room smelled like cigarettes due to a neighboring guestroom. Seeing that I was getting nowhere with the manager, I left and called Choice Hotels, Sleep Inn’s parent company, but to date have received nothing but an apology letter. No attempt to honor the satisfaction policy has been made.
Bottom line, while the room was adequate and the hotel was convenient to Interstate 65, I would never advise anybody stay there due to the incredibly poor customer service. There are other options nearby that would probably be a better choice.
[photos courtesy of Choice Hotels]
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