Friday, February 10, 2012
Dank, Depressing And Dirty: The Quality Inn Meadowlands
The Good: Location, Friendly cleaning staff
The Bad: Cost, Cleanliness, Lack of amenities, Lack of value, Lack of lighting, Desk staff
The Basics: Yuck. It might be better than one or two dives I've stayed at, but it's definitely not worth it!
I am not afraid to pan something that deserves a good panning. It is with that in mind that I finally set down to write my review of the Quality Inn Meadowlands, easily the worst Quality Inn I've ever (repeatedly) stayed at. I've stayed at the Quality Inn Meadowlands at least four times now - there might be more that I've repressed, though.
The Quality Inn Meadowlands (NJ033 in the Choice Hotel numbering system, which may be helpful if you decide to ignore my advice and book a room here) is located at 10 Polito Avenue, Lyndhurst, New Jersey. This is easily accessible at the juncture of two major highways. For those not familiar with the Meadowlands, the Meadowlands are best described as the New Jersey suburb of New York City. Manhattan is eight miles from this hotel and literally across the highway is Giants Stadium, which is how the football team justifies calling themselves the New York Giants as opposed to the New Jersey Giants. Buses in this area regularly, about on the hour, transport people into New York City.
This is a very easy hotel to get to. There are signs on the nearby interstate that highlight this hotel as part of the exit. That's convenient.
Otherwise, this property is pretty terrible. Stuck on a corner, the Quality Inn Meadowlands has no grounds to speak of, merely a parking lot that wraps around the entire building. In fact, the rooms out back border on a marshy area that has the feeling of being unsafe (though, admittedly, no one has ever run out of this area and attacked me during one of my stays). All of the worst stereotypes of New Jersey are embodied in this hotel's location; it's a heavily industrialized area - though this section of the Meadowlands is all hotels and offices - with nothing to see (unless you like the New York City skyline) and nothing in the way of atmosphere.
I have stayed at this hotel, repeatedly, because it is nearby a hotel that frequently has conventions I attend as a dealer. As someone who is fairly loyal to the Choice Hotel chains for their value, this hotel is a less expensive option than the nearby hotels. Sadly, it feels cheaper.
I've stayed at the Quality Inn Meadowlands several times and I've had rooms that had two double beds (years ago), but more often the king bed, nonsmoking room, including the last time I stayed, half a year ago. This Quality Inn is oriented somewhat like a motor lodge, with all rooms having doors facing the outside, with access to rooms from an exterior hallway that separates the rooms from the outdoors. To express this clearly; every room has a giant window next to the door so every room has a view of . . . the hallway that wraps around the hotel. This means that one's view from one's room is either a hallway and a wall (if one's room is on the inside of the hotel) or the hallway and the parking lot beyond.
This creates one of the first problems with the rooms here; there's little to no natural light. Moreover, there are no other windows in the rooms to offer any other views. This makes the rooms feel instantly claustrophobic.
The rooms are approximately twenty feet wide by approximately the same depth. With the king-sized bed, desk and small bathroom, the rooms have a very cramped feeling to them.
Here is the crux of the Quality Inn Meadowland's problems. It's dirty. The exterior windows seem to always be covered with grit from the city and passing trucks or whatever. The interior is dark, but that's not enough to hide that this hotel is frequently unclean. Twice when I've stayed at this hotel, there have been problems with finding sticky patches on the desk or nightstand (probably just someone's coffee, but . . .eww!).
For those not familiar with my hotel reviews, whenever I first arrive in a hotel, the first thing I do is go in and flush the toilet. This might seem like an esoteric, obsessive compulsive act, but there's a method to my madness. There's nothing worse than a hotel room where the plumbing is backed up. Well, the only thing worse than plumbing that is backed up is when what is backing it up did not come from you (I don't know why that is, but perhaps it's a primal thing or part of that human denial where we believe our farts don't smell as bad as those of others). TWICE rooms at this hotel have failed my first flush test. There is no good reason for this.
This, however, led on one occasion to the most severe problem I've ever had at a hotel. The first time this happened, my traveling companion and I were switched rooms immediately with the grudging apologies of the front desk staff. Two years later, we arrived at the hotel in the evening and there was nowhere to be moved. This unfortunate incident occurred near a major holiday, so the front desk staff pretty much blew off our complaint, despite the fact that the toilet was not only backed up, but overflowing. On this occasion, it took an hour and a half to get the problem resolved. And the resolution? We were given a plunger.
This was the singularly grossest experience I've ever had in a hotel (and I include the giant Florida roach that got into my room at the Quality Inn in Altamonte Springs - reviewed here!). That should have bought us the weekend free. It did not.
It is decent to note here that the cleaning staff has never been anything but friendly with me when I've run into problems. The cleaning help was helpful, it was the desk staff and such that were not.
Sadly, though, for as helpful as the cleaning staff is, the rooms are not clean. As well, on almost every stay I have found linens to be either dirty or not replaced the next day. The nonsmoking rooms seem like they are not terribly well enforced as twice I've found cigarette burns on the bedspreads and the whole hotel has a smell to it.
Room rates at this hotel are fairly expensive (at least by my standards) with all rooms being $116.10 (that's the current internet users rate available) and they are nowhere near worth it. The rooms feel cave-like and there is nothing distinctive about the hotel for what it offers.
The room has the king-sized bed, a television (limited channel selection), two nightstands and shampoo. There is not a lot to recommend in the rooms.
The hotel features a continental breakfast in the deli (more like a sports bar) on the main floor. This is strictly regulated by waiters and tickets for breakfast, so there's no picking up breakfast and taking it back to your room for a friend. For a breakfast so close to New York City, this seems especially bland. There are two cereal options, two juices, coffee, cocoa, oatmeal packets, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, bananas and bagels. For the price of the hotel stay breakfast ought to be on the house (they have omelets and a full breakfast menu at Harold's which is not included), instead handing the coupon to the waitstaff for the free continental breakfast gets a dirty look and a nod in the direction of the nook where the breakfast is available.
I've made my last stay at this hotel. I want to sum up by saying that the staff is not terribly friendly, the rooms are expensive for the lack of quality, the breakfast is lackluster and the rooms are dark and unclean. All that saves this foul place from a 1 star rating was that the cleaning staff - when they were around - was very helpful and kind to me.
I have a hard and fast rule for New York City; I will not drive in it after 5 AM. I would rather drive through New York City, risk getting caught in traffic and pay for tunnels and bridges, and find a different hotel than stay at the Quality Inn Meadowlands ever again. Despite the price, I'd more likely shell out for a room at the Comfort Inn in Maspeth (reviewed here!) on the other side of Manhattan than stay at this place again!
For other hotels in the Choice Hotels chain, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Quality Inn West - Baltimore, MD
Quality Inn & Suites Airport - El Paso, TX
Comfort Suites Downtown - Buffalo, NY
For other travel reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.