Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Virginia Inns, et al, to Avoid

For every hotel, motel, or inn that is great it seems there are two that travelers would do just as well to avoid ... Following are places in the Old Dominion that I had some sort of issue with when working on my most recent book, Ghosthunting Virginia. In most cases, this involved them failing to reply in any way to correspondence I sent, a pretty good reading on their attitudes toward customer service. Stay at them at your own risk and don't say you weren't warned! (Note that there are many places that are neither exceptionally good or bad that I will never bother to mention on this TravelBlogue.)

Martha Washington Inn (Abingdon, Virginia)
I very much wanted to devote a chapter in Ghosthunting Virginia to this historic inn (which has been covered in a number of other venues and does not make a secret of its reputation for being haunted). They completely ignored a total of five email or phone messages that I left everywhere from general mailboxes to the general manager, indicating a top-to-bottom culture of neglect for responsiveness. And no, I am not willing to accept that their resident ghosts intercepted my messages.

Best Western -- Hunt Ridge (Lexington, Virginia)
My experience with this place was especially strange ... Prior to my visit to Lexington, I called the hotel's main number and, when a woman who identified herself as Sue answered the phone, asked for the email address of the manager. She asked if I would mind holding and I told her that was fine. I then waited a full 10-12 minutes for her to pick up again, and when she did I once again explained what I wanted. She then responded by telling me that her full name was Sue Spencer, that she was the hotel manager, and that she does not give out her email address. "Even for business purposes?" I asked. "Even for business purposes," she said. Well, that doesn't make any sense at all! What sort of a hotel manager does not make themselves available via email in the 21st century? And, all that being the case, why didn't she have the courtesy and professionalism to just tell me that in the first place, rather than wasting everyone's time by putting me on hold as a device for ending the conversation? "Yahoo! Local Yellow Pages" has a section for reviews of businesses, and I posted my experiences there (and under my own name, not some funky pseudonym). Within just a couple of days, however, my comments disappeared for reasons that were never revealed to me (although the review complaining that "there was something on the carpet by the window that looked like animal feces " was still there as of this writing).

Doctor's Inn (Galax), Frog Hollow B&B (Lexington), Garden and Sea Inn (Chincoteague), Llewellyn Lodge (Lexington), Riders Rest (Lexington): All of these places simply decided not to respond to one or more pieces of email correspondence. So much for customer service!

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