When I booked the Black Hills “Luxury” Suites online (next door to and run by Best Western Golden Spike), I thought “How bad can something with luxury in the name be?” I didn’t expect wonders, but as soon as we checked for a five day stay my only thought was, “Get me out of here.” First, the apartment section of the hotel requires a short drive, a driveway away. You can access the main building by a sidewalk in the back for breakfast/pools etc. (Side note: we tried the breakfast, it was okay. The man keeping things restocked was working very hard to keep up. The eggs were inedible, but the sausage, gravy, biscuit combo was okay. Second side note: we did not stay long enough to even look at the indoor pool).
Back to the apartment: at first glance it didn’t look too bad. The kitchen was fairly recently renovated with wood floors and nice cupboards. But, the fridge had mold on the liner outside the freezer, the sink had dirt or rust rings around the drains (and this is the only dish washing option in the apartment, no dishwasher), and there were some coffee grounds in the cupboard—also, the trash can lid was broken. Not huge issues; the bathroom was similarly updated, fairly clean (except for around the edges).
In the living room area, the carpets were stained—in some places, badly (red paint?). The couches were filthy, with splotches of substances that looked like they could be cleaned off if some effort were given. They also sank very low to the ground when you sat on them. We realized, when we pulled out the sleepers inside, this was due to the majority of the mattress springs either broken or missing. The mattress was extremely thin and had holes and black stains on the edges—I thought mold, my husband thought dirt (maybe grease stains from springs that no longer exist?) Oh, and one of the mattresses still had a sheet-like cover on it; there was hair on the sheet. Not ours. Under this couch were several orange caps; I thought they might be from needles, but my husband said they were too short (still he collected them with a paper towel). There were also various wrappers and dirt below the couch; not an ideal situation for our boys to sleep.
In the bedroom where our girls were sleeping, they had to kill a spider in their bed before crawling in themselves. In the other bedroom, the white pillowcase on my side was covered with a wad of hair—not just one stray strand. The carpet was dusty and dirty along all the baseboards, there was construction debris outside the window, the interior windows were not locked on the inside and when we tried to lock them found this difficult. As we were in a lower level apartment, the safety felt non-existent. My husband slept with a weapon nearby.
Why did we stay? Well, we’d been on the road for 12 hours, we were exhausted, it was dark, and we had zero mobile data (the hotel does have wifi). We felt like we were trapped in this arrangement. Oh, I nearly forgot—the wall air-conditioning unit in the living room was full of dirt. The smell it emitted was awful, but someone had thought ahead on this and fastened a pine tree car air freshener to the front of the unit (so old that it was stuck to it). Our boys have mild asthma and the idea of them breathing this nasty air nearly sent us to the van to sleep (certainly couldn’t open the windows in this deep set, shadowy apartment setting).
The next morning, by 8 we were out of there. My husband noticed that the guy making coffee in the Golden Spike coffee shop, abruptly shut it down and went to clean rooms. Apparently they are understaffed. We have pictures and plan to contact Best Western corporate; it was nauseating and unacceptable. I’m so thankful that we found a lovely cabin just up the road in which to spend the remainder of our vacation in Hill City.
I’m a researcher when it comes to accommodations—it takes me hours of review and pictures to trust a place. I wasn’t thrilled with the Black Hills Best Western ahead of time, but the ability to cook in our own kitchen swayed me. Ugh. Please, just avoid this place if you have a family. It didn’t feel clean, it didn’t feel safe, and we wouldn’t ever recommend it to anyone. less