Saturday, December 10, 2011
WORST. SERVICE. EVER. How The Comfort Inn Warrenton Almost Made Me Loathe Choice Hotels.
The Good: Clean room.
The Bad: Terrible customer service, Annoying breakfast situation, Cramped breakfast nook, Virtually everything.
The Basics: A distressingly poor customer service experience at the Comfort Inn Warrenton, Missouri made it impossible to recommend this small, unimpressive hotel near St. Louis.
Back, as I am, from my annual vacation, I now have plenty to write about about travel and I tend to start, as I always do, at the beginning. This year, our annual trip to Las Vegas began with our longest day of travel, driving through the night from Upstate New York to Warrenton, Missouri. Warrenton is one of the several suburb cities surrounding greater St. Louis and it offers travelers a generally more affordable option for hotels than St. Louis itself.
Unfortunately, our experience at the Comfort Inn in Warrenton, Missouri was so bad that for the first time, I filled out a negative comment card and my faith in the Choice Hotels chain wavered.
The Comfort Inn Warrenton (MO233 in the Choice Hotels numbering system) is located at 425 East Veterans Memorial Parkway in Warrenton, Missouri. This is right off Route 70 (the major arterial running east-west through middle America) and the signs from the interstate are clear and well-presented. Warrenton, in the area that the Comfort Inn is at, is a small town with strip malls and dining oriented all around Interstate 70. There were no major attractions we saw and no hook for the town, outside being a less expensive option than St. Louis.
The Comfort Inn is a multistory drab gray concrete building with a giant window that illustrates the indoor pool to all who are outside. Inside, one finds the front desk near a lobby and breakfast room and the instant impression of the place is poorly designed for anyone who has any sense of claustrophobia. The entrance area is not designed to make one feel welcome. We arrived early and were supposed to have early check-in, but discovered the room was not ready.
The fundamental problems we had with the Comfort Inn, Warrenton, were customer service issues. When we arrived, the desk clerk refused to get off the phone with the person they were speaking to (non-business judging by the tone of the conversation) and they did not look at us when speaking to us, which made it difficult to tell when they were talking to us, as opposed to their phone conversation. Rather rudely, they kept us waiting for over fifteen minutes at the front desk before telling us to sit down – without even telling us our room was not available – and they began checking other customers in and out as opposed to actually addressing us. When they finally did confirm that they did not have our room prepared, they once again told us to sit down and they would have left us sitting in the lobby had we not been assertive after an hour and insist that they tell us what was going on.
In that hour, two of the housekeeping staff arrived – with breakfasts much better than what we were offered at the hotel –, sat down in the lobby next to us and began complaining loudly about their jobs and the working conditions there. The entire beginning of our stay was marred by a strong sense of a lack of professionalism.
After finally getting access to our room – a room with a single king bed, non-smoking for $74.53/night (after all taxes) – we found it to be very much the standard of the chain. It was a little smaller than some Choice Hotels with dimensions at 14 X 27 ft.
The bathroom was smaller than usual and upon arriving, we took showers – which were cold, depressingly – and crashed for a few hours. The room had a neutral carpet and hotel art prints on the wall. There was nothing at all distinctive about our room, which had two nightstands, a television atop the dresser and the king-sized bed.
What the Comfort Inn had going for it was its cleanliness. After we finally got our room, we did find it to be clean, though the hallway rugs were less than stellar and the pool only had two clean towels for us to dry off with.
As for the room, the room was nonsmoking and smelled like it had been forever. The rugs in the room were clean, though the counter in the bathroom did have water marks and looked less than shiny. The toilet passed the first flush test, though there were soap or hard-water residue on some of the metal fixtures in the shower. The bedding was clean and neatly arranged and the bathroom linens were clean as well.
The breakfast area was kept clean throughout the morning with no messes accruing over the three hours breakfast was offered there. The morning staff there was especially diligent, to the point of being annoying. This is not a hotel to stay at for those who are not morning people as the staff in the breakfast nook chirps cheerily at all guests, regardless of their interest or comfort.
This Comfort Inn had the feeling of a place one passes through, not where one stays for real enjoyment. However, we did make use of the pool, which was an indoor pool which seemed painfully shallow compared to the lake we usually swim in and the adjacent hot tub. The Comfort Inn did not offer much in the way of amenities.
There was a safe in the room, which led to the usual hassle of having the $1.50 taken off the bill. Fortunately, I noticed this charge when checking in and had it taken off right then. The room was equipped with the usual Comfort Inn shampoo, lotion, soap and coffee. The television in the room was of decent size with about sixty channels worth of choices. The air conditioner worked fine, though the refrigerator (a key component to our travel plans) worked quite poorly and did not keep anything cold, nor did the freezer re-freeze our water bottles properly.
The computer in the lobby intended to allow visitors to access the internet was not working.
The breakfast was served in a seriously cramped breakfast nook and the breakfast was one of the worst we had on this trip. There was the usual coffee, tea and two juice options to drink. There was the make-your-own waffle station, though the person who worked for the hotel provided the service of making the waffles for us, which came with annoying levels of conversation both mornings and acted as a detraction to our stay – her presence was intrusive to my dining experience. There were also bagels, donuts and a couple of cereal options. There was also fresh fruit in the form of oranges, apples and bananas.
The Comfort Inn in Warrenton was so distressing from the personnel that all other aspects of the stay were underwhelming and I could not in good conscience recommend this hotel to anyone. Alas, here, you get what you paid for and it’s overpriced at that.
For other hotels in the Choice Hotels chain, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Comfort Inn Carrier Circle - Syracuse, NY
Comfort Inn East - Indianapolis, IN
Quality Inn & Suites Historic St. Charles - Saint Charles, MO
For other travel reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.