Carlson Hotels... Why Are Your Properties So Terrible?

Last week marked my trip to South Carolina, finishing a long moving process to a new state and a new home. My orginal plan had me driving the full length trip in one day, but things at my previous home required me to leave the night before. Since I have Club Carlson points that never seem to get used, I booked a overnight stay in Hagerstown, MD at the Country Inn and Suites.

As soon as I walked into my room, I quickly remembered why Carlson Rezidor hotels rank so low on my list of chains to stay at. This isn't an isolated incident either, while my family has had good luck at Radisson Blu properties, my experience with a stay at a Radisson and 2 Stays at Country Inn and Suites has been terrible.

When I walked into the Country Inn and Suites in Hagerstown, MD I was surprised that no one was at the desk, at 8pm. Not exactly in the middle of the night, but after ringing a bell someone came out of some hidden closet or something to check me in. Staff was helpful but not great, but being a cheap quick overnight stay my expectations weren't really high. Soon my key card was in hand and I walked up the stairs to my room.

Opening the door to the room, a underlying smell of urine and sewage was present throughout the room. It was nasty and just plain smelled like the room hadn't been cleaned well in roughly 15 years. Dirtiness in the room didn't stop there, while I was taking a shower I happened to look up at the edge of the plastic insert that makes up the shower walls. On top of one of the walls was a used bar of soap that looked to be growing mold of some sort.

While I don't normally watch much TV, the internet was so bad that I couldn't stream anything. Trying to used the TV remote was interesting as the back kept falling off the remote and batteries fell out. When it was properly together, the remote wouldn't work more than about 5 feet from the TV.

Heading to sleep I woke up many many times during the night. Much of this had to do with the wash lights used on the outside of the building. These lights are used to present the hotel at night and make it stand out. These lights are placed for the guests convenience, right below the second level windows. Even with the curtains closed the room looked like early morning from the powerful flood lights just outside the window.

This is by no means an isolated incident. I set up a stay for my fiancee in Atlanta last year using points. This too was a Country Inn and Suites that she was not too happy about. After she had left, we noticed they had charged her credit card for the full amount of the stay despite me using my points to book her stay. This took multiple calls over multiple days to fix what they had screwed up and admitted openly to me that they entered it wrong in their computer.

Any time I've personally stayed at a Carlson hotel, I haven't been happy. So Carlson Rezidor, why such an awful experience at your hotels? I've been to the lowest end rooms to some high end rooms with Starwood Hotels and never have I experienced a room I would be unhappy to pay for. So why is it that the Carlson brand makes me happy I didn't spend a dime every time I stay with them on points?