I was quite surprised at my experience with the Best Western in Brady, TX.
Not because I expected anything specific, but because what I did experience was a first on several levels, and not for the positive.
During recent travels, we realised we would be checking into our room a little later than anticipated, so I CALLED the hotel to give them an approximate arrival time. A general courtesy.
The woman was VERY appreciative and said she would let the staff know my name and that I would be arriving around 11-11:30pm for check-in. A head’s up.
The courtesy and professionalism stopped there.
I arrived at 11pm. It was 29 degrees outside, which I didn’t know until AFTER my experience and got into my room wondering why I was so cold, and I had been traveling, was tired and ready to check-in. I was in flip-flops from the travel, and no jacket because I had ERRONEOUSLY anticipated my check-in to be like every other night check-in I have experienced at over 1500 hotels!
*ALL of the indoor lights were OFF
*A sign outside said to press button for desk
As I approached the button, awoman inside, I didn’t see her at first because she was wearing black and was behind a dark reception desk, waved her hands in the air and aggressively pointed to a window on the side; an outdoor bank-teller style window with a sliding drawer. I approached and pleasantly gave my name through the speaker in the glass, believing my previous interaction with the property would be continued.
She just looked at me as if she didn’t understand ‘Hi! My name is xx and I called earlier’. So I repeated.
She again stared at me blankly then said ‘OK’.
Sensing a very passive aggressive demeanor, I started over....’I’m here to check-in, I have a reservation under ‘last name’ and then I explained to her I had called from the road regarding a late check-in.
She responded with a fake smile and a sarcastic response ‘ok. I just came on at 10 and no one even told me’.
I stood in the 29 degrees, alone in an unlit area exposed to the below freezing elements and people looming around in the dark. I genuinely felt for my safety at this point!
My husband, who had parked the car and was unaware of the situation, was too far away to flag down. The woman took her time on her computer screen and came back and said ‘just one guest, right?’
Now, when booking a room from the road, and I stay in anywhere from 10-30 hotels a year, I just focus on making a reservation. I have EVER changed the default setting when booking a SUITE, especially a KING SUITE. Even when my son is with me and my husband, I have always always always booked a suite because it sleeps 4 or more.
However, not expecting what would happen next, I said ‘No, just me and my husband (who had parked the car and was waiting, assuming I was INSIDE the hotel for check-in) tonight.
She took immediate attitude with me and said ‘well your reservation says ONE! I didn’t giver her any opportunity to further speak. I calmly, but clearly said through the window standing in 29 degrees in flip flops alone ‘Wow, I’m so grateful to see that in my 50 years there is actually ONE person who cares about the difference between 1 and 2 guests and took issue with a wife traveling with her husband, who booked a KING SUITE and actually didn’t put 2 guests, even though as husband and wife we are one’.
She responded with a fake smile and walked away, returning to her computer. I stood in the cold, with a group of men hanging outside in the parking lot making me feel even more uncomfortable!
She made me wait about 5 minutes, then made me provide make, model, state and license plate of my vehicle (not something many hotels do, most asking for color and model only or just license).
She gave me the room key through the push drawer and with her fake politeness behind gritted teeth, made sure check out time and that breakfast was only served until 9:30am.
Nothing pleasant about this experience.
As far as room quality, the room was clean and comfy. For $100 a night, it wasn’t quite the quality of some of the less expensive hotels in the area, with outdoor MOTEL access and no elevators. Unfortunately, when booking from the road, all we have is reviews and availability to go on. Boy were we wrong.
Sleep quality and bed comfort was excellent. The amenities available, such as coffee, were low-grade, but present (the creamer packets were so old that the contents were hard and clumpy). The water quality was good. Drain quality, excellent. There were limited towels in the suite, so I had to use a hand towel to dry off. The shower head was loose and flimsy. The buffet was good. Morning staff were professional and attentive.
Had it not been for my ‘first impression’ and the absolute disregard for human safety by the property, my review would certainly carry a higher weight.
I would NOT recommend this hotel to anyone who holds their personal safety valuable or who may have limiting conditions that prevent them from being able to quickly respond to situations or who cannot be exposed to severe weather conditions.
In 50 years, I have NEVER been forced to check into a hotel through a bank-teller window. A first. I have encountered many late-check in processes, however 11pm is not excessively late and I called ahead to inform the property, which was well received.
I cannot imagine what an elderly or handicapped individual would have encountered. Or what if it had been thunder storming or snowing? Would the staff have responded differently? Did she have the ability to open the front and check me in or did management have a NO TOLERANCE policy to check-ins after 10? 11? The area outside for check-in barely accommodated my small frame. I cannot imagine a wheelchair or handicapped or someone hearing impaired!
I just cannot recommend this hotel due to safety concerns for women and vulnerable individuals and the possibility of encountering passive-aggressive and condescending staff who hold your safety in their hands.
First impressions are everything! less