E is for Extended Stay America

This post is an exception for two reasons: It’s not about a place that is unique to Chicago (Extended Stay Americas are all over the place, unfortunately), and it was not a good experience. However, we needed something for “E” and Tom had the idea of re-telling our horror story about our first ten days as a couple in Chicago.

When I was still living in Richmond, we had reserved a week’s stay at the Extended Stay America Deluxe in Des Plaines so we could go apartment-hunting together, once I had arrived in Chicago. It was quite expensive for our budget, but Tom wanted me to be comfortable as I had spent the prior 19 months in a tiny hotel room with my cat. Not to mention that the drive from VA to IL took 4 days (because I can’t handle travel that well) and that meant more hotels along the way.

Anyway, we decided on the Extended Stay America O’Hare because of its location near Tom’s work. The pictures of the rooms looked nice, with couches, full kitchens and bath tubs. And they were pet-friendly which was a must as I was of course bringing Princess Gracie (our cat).

Well, on the day of check-in we tried changing our reservation from the deluxe to the regular hotel (both buildings are in the same locations) because we had less money than anticipated. However, the regular extended hotel room they had available cost more than the one we had reserved. So, we tried to see if we could pay for less than 7 days, but they could not do that either. We gave them all the cash we had and ended up using a credit card for the rest that I had for emergencies.

The whole process took about 45 minutes, and the service was terrible. There were two attendants. The female tried charging the wrong amount on the card (she could not do simple math, even with the help of a calculator as she transposed the numbers), and then they switched our paper work with a guy next to us.

Meanwhile, the male attendant kept swearing under his breath every time the phone rang and all in all they made us feel like a big inconvenience. And that was after dropping almost a grand and in a “good” neighborhood next to the airport…

When we finally got our key and got up to the room, we noticed it had cigarette burns, despite being labeled a non-smoking room. Also, the clock did not work and the fan above the stove would not turn off, so we listened to that non-stop for our whole stay there. However, we did not even notice that after a while because shortly after we arrived, the refrigerator started banging and groaning. It sounded like a Motorhead concert … again, without interruptions, for our whole stay there.

In the bathrooms, the shower had a hand-held shower head, but no place to hang/rest the thing! So, you had to take a shower with one hand. Also, the TV had maybe 12 channels, if that … and no Speed channel. As avid racing fans, we could not even distract ourselves by watching Nascar. If that sounds like a luxury … remember, this was the deluxe version of the hotel! Plus, every dinky motel on our trip up had the Speed Channel.

Their “continental” breakfast consisted of plastic-wrapped muffins, coffee, plastic wrapped bagels and a basket of stale apples. No juice, no tea, no hot chocolate, no toast, no toaster for the bagels, no cold cereal etc. And, they never replenished any of the stuff in all the time we were there. So, whatever people took stayed gone and nothing was refilled. For example, once one type of muffin was gone and you wanted more the next day, you were S.O.O.L. Also, breakfast was only offered Mondays through Fridays, not the weekends.

Unfortunately, we ended up having to stay another few days. But, surprise surprise: The day after we extended our stay, we both went out and when we tried to get back into the hotel, we were locked out. They had never updated our keys. And when we asked them to do it, again they treated it like a major inconvenience.

Also, the whole time we were there, the person adjacent to us, right behind the bed, was cooking nasty stuff. The smell never went away, it’s like they had a pot of entrails simmering on the stove the whole time.

There is probably more, but we most likely blocked it all out. Oh, and on the last day, the fridge finally died and we lost all the food we had just bought. I told them that at checkout and the only concern was: “How long before you noticed that?” Never an apology for our food being gone, nor an offer for any money off.

After we moved out, I was sent a survey form. I filled it out, citing all the experiences. All I got back was a generic response and an offer to come back for a free night

H.E. double hockey sticks no.

(my apologies for the length of this post. Everything else for the challenge will be much shorter)

PS: After I had written this, I came across this commercial. How ironic. False advertising at its best.

I should have watched this video instead. And we had the deluxe version! Which was not much better at all.

12 thoughts on “E is for Extended Stay America

  1. Hi T and A .. sounds awful – in fact just grotty .. and not the kind of thing you need when you’re down on your luck a little – but at least you had each other ..

    All the best in the future .. and now with the A-Z .. cheers hilary

  2. Whoa.
    Stopping by from the A to Z challenge. Had to comment since your post reminding me of a week-long stay in a Microtel in Illinois while apartment hunting. While my hotel experience wasn’t horrible like yours (the name of the place says it all-it was tight quarters for those seven days), our car broke down so we had to add a few extra days to the trip. Glad that’s over.

  3. Hehehe Motorhead, I’ve seen Motorhead!

    That place sounds horrid. I’m always so shocked by crappy service and problems like that. How do these places stay in business?

  4. It’s amazing how widely quality can vary between hotels, even ones that cost the same amount! I stayed at two different Holiday Inns in the US back in 2007 and the difference was ridiculous – one was basically pure luxury and the other was revolting, with sticky, dirty carpets and really bad service.

  5. I have never heard of anyone liking extended stay. The only one I have ever used was the one from Marriott, which as really a condo, not a hotel.

  6. Pingback: L is for Lake Park | T and A Travel Almanac

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