July 19, 2013

NO to HoJo

Mr. John Valletta, President
Howard Johnson Corporate Office Headquarters
Wyndham Hotel Group
22 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, New Jersey, NJ 07054

Dear Mr. Valletta:

I recently stayed at the Howard Johnson, on Eisenhower Ave., in Harrisburg, Pa.  I chose this facility because of its convenience to the Harrisburg Hospital and the home of friends.  I also chose it because of Howard Johnson’s reputation in my youth.  What a mistake.

The age of the complex is unimportant; however, it is obvious that owners are not concerned with the cleanliness of the complex, the security offered guests (particularly when the complex is just off the highway), or everyday maintenance.  

I was housed in building “D,” which I understand is for smokers.  That’s fine; I smoke.  The walkway has not been swept in months; there is no outside lighting (keep in mind that this building is removed from the other buildings); and the grass in need of mowing.  When you open the main entry door (which has no outer lock), a smell greets you – a combination of must and smoke.  I would guarantee you that the rugs are never shampooed.  Two cinder block shards prop open the inner doors.   As you walk down the hallway, you notice that the doors have never been wiped down to get rid of spills; the entry plates never cleaned.

The first room was large; it didn’t matter that it was last furnished in the 70’s but that yellowed, scarred, toilet seat was a nonstarter.  The mere fact that it didn’t look clean was enough to prompt a request to another room. The second room was much smaller but lacked the advertised microwave and refrigerator. The housekeeper brought them in for me.  Again, the d├ęcor was not important.  I wasn’t going to live there, after all. But when I looked around, I noticed that there was no phone.  When I called to report that there was no phone, I was told that the phone jack probably didn’t work and if I had a phone, I would have to pay for the calls.  Excuse me…I was using my minutes on my cell phone.  So I was moved again.

The toilet was running and flushing when we entered the room. I told the young lady that the running toilet was going to be a problem but was assured that someone would there to fix it by 9 a.m., the next morning. The toilet bowl lid was broken, as well.

I took a good look around the room and was appalled.  The chair seats were too filthy to even consider sitting on.  I swapped them with the ones from another room and they were not much better.  I used a towel over the seat during my stay.  

The phone was filthy; the lamps covered in dust and the bases rusted; grime over the years had accumulated on the moldings, ironing board rack, spotlight, and smoke detector.  The inside of the drawers were hideous and the backing to the drapes was riddled with holes.  Need I say that the windows were covered in dirt?  Stains on the wallpaper and doors.

 This is the inside of the nightstand drawer. Would you put anything in there?

At some point during that night, July 11th, I managed to jerry-rig the apparatus so that it stopped running.  The fluid master needed replacing.  Instead of the chain, a piece of wire had been looped to take its place.  And it failed to do the job. At 11:00 a.m., I called the desk and asked about the repair.  “Oh, he’s gone to lunch but I’ll see that he comes by as soon as he returns.”  

I asked the maid to please wipe off the phone and lamps.  “Oh, this room gets so dusty.” 

She was very personable but I had to remind her to leave coffee and cups; I never saw her change the sheets or clean the tub.  I can only assume and hope that she did.  Each day, I asked about a replacement top for the toilet.  Evidently she didn’t pass the message on. On the day that I checked out, July 16th, I saw a work order for a replacement lid.

Mr. Valletta, the reason for my trip was stressful.  The conditions at the Harrisburg complex only added to the stress.  Under no circumstances would I expect to “fix” a toilet in any hotel.  Each person whom I spoke to mentioned the age of the facility.  Age is not a good enough reason.  This facility reeks of years of neglect.  The solution to that is very simple:  Take a room offline daily and thoroughly clean it.  Soap and water do wonders. 

I will make several trips to Harrisburg in the coming months. 

 Howard Johnson will not be the hotel of choice.

1 comment:

MsKat said...

WOW what a mess!!! Ewww!