Maris went missing and no one noticed

| March 25, 2008

Nothing like being gone for 6 days and not a peep asking about my whereabouts.  I’m so feelin’ the love.

For any of you who actually care about my comings and goings, I was in Charlotte where my son is getting married in May. This visit was a combo birthday/luncheon/shower/bachelor/bachelorette party/Easter celebration. In other words, we hit the ground running and never stopped.

Let me tell my story about booking a hotel based on what you find online. Since we had 6am flights, we looked for a hotel that was midway between the airport and where most of the activities were hosted. When Mr. Maris realized we needed two rooms because our girls would be with us, his cheap gene had a flare-up.

He starts searching and is finding hotels in that luxury $149 a night bracket and begins having palpitations. I pull up Side Step and I come across a hotel that looks like the deal of the century.

There it is, Suburban Extended Stay SE at only $53 a night. I’m thinking ‘way too cheap, something’s fishy’, Mr. Maris is thinking ‘book it.’ I look at their website, everything seems okay. I check the parent company site, also seems fine. Side Step gives it 3 stars same as Hampton Inn, Doubletree, etc. Maybe it’s so cheap because you don’t get daily housekeeping? I can live with that since we’re DVC and are used to it. A couple of clicks and we have 2 rooms for 4 nights.

We arrive around noon. The ‘lobby’ was about the size of my car interior and we’re told our rooms will be ready at 3pm. Lovely, we’ve been up since 3am but not much we can do. We meet our son for lunch, head to Target for a bit and 3:00 finally rolls around. Yay!! Just enough time for a nap before we meet everyone for dinner.

Our girls’ room was ready, they were still cleaning ours. We open their door and the only thing missing was the chalk outline from where they must have removed the bodies. This is where it hits me, we’re probably the only people staying here who aren’t paying an hourly rate or whose bill isn’t being paid for by the State of North Carolina. Unfortunately, Mr. Maris is still thinking “what a deal.”

At 3:30, our room is finally ready. We go down the dog feces encrusted steps to room 209. You know that nasty, sweet, gross stuff they spray in some rental cars to mask odors? This is was what housekeeping left as the piece de resistance when prepping our room.  I felt sick enough about staying here, now I’m really nauseous from the stench. I also point out that there’s no blowdryer and no iron/ironing board. Mr. M, realizing that his life is in jeopardy, asks if we should look for another hotel. “I don’t know hon, ya think? I was kind of looking forward to seeing what the nightlife is like around here.”

We set up my laptop but wait, there’s a problem connecting to their ‘complimentary high speed internet.’ I suggest Mr. M call the office. Hmm…what’s the problem, dear? I’m guessing the phone line switchplate being pulled from the wall with wires dangling from it might be the culprit. Being the handyman that he is, he actually fixes it and calls. They tell us we should be able to get online and there it is, one brief, fleeting moment of access. Mr. Maris has better luck and books us two rooms at the Holiday Inn Express.

I go back up the doodie covered steps and tell the girls to pack their bags as we’re leaving Dodge ASAP.  Kate turns to Lauren and says “told you so.” I asked if they wagered money and if so, I get part of the action.

When we abruptly checked out, much as it was tempting to say that we prefer hotels where we won’t get murdered in our sleep, we told them that I had an allergic reaction to the stuff they sprayed in our room.  At 4:15, as we were pulling out from the Suburban Extended Stay, we noticed that the cops had arrived. (No joke, the police were there.)

Ironically, the Holiday Inn Express also has a three star rating on Side Step. In comparison, it was a combo Hilton/Renaissance/Plaza hotel. How Side Step could give the Suburban so much of a speck of a star is beyond me, much less three of them. I can’t even imagine what the two star places are like.

And just to make this about Disney, the bachelorette party was Princess themed. I don’t want to mention the desecration of Disney icons that took place. The bridesmaids are doomed to the fiery pits of Disney hell.

Category: Disney World

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  • winotracy

    Oh my! So you had fun, huh? Did you make it to the bachelorette party? Come home with some nice Disney favors LOL!!!!!!

  • UrsulasShadow

    I sense a new podcast segment…”Send Maris to the Sidestep/Priceline Hotels”.

  • calypso

    I have to say I feel your pain…I once brought a friend to Victoria BC and checked into what we thought was a 3 star hotel. The towels were so thin you could actually see through them and there was a lovely adult book/novelty store across the street. We were feelin’ pretty swanky!!!

  • Cyrano

    Wow Regina. The description of your hotel :(
    Glad you came here for love :)

  • daneenm


    And people don’t understand why I am a deluxe hotel kind of girl….

  • ladydanger

    That’s horrifying. And a good reason to stay at an established chain hotel when you’re traveling to parts unknown. At least then you’ll have at least some idea what you’ll be getting.

  • WebmasterRegina

    That’s what threw me ladydanger. It’s part of the Choice Hotel chain. It should be renamed Bad Choice Hotels.

  • kab407


    Someway, somehow, Kevn and John had something to do with this!

  • disneybridein2k3

    This happened to us to, sort of. We were in FL for the shuttle launch in June ’07 and booked a Days Inn in Titusville. It was such a dump. We spent hours trying to find a hotel with occupancy near Titusville – we ended up halfway between Titusville and WDW. Very frustrating to say the least but at least we weren’t in the roach trap. Makes you wonder how some places stay in business though, doesn’t it?

  • disneybridein2k3

    I have to add this – my husband was asking me what I was cracking up about so I re-read your post out loud to him but I could not make it through your blog without tears rolling down my face from laughing so hard! Regina, you have a talent for blogging – keep ‘em coming!

  • dizneedoll

    Great blog entry Regina. The Choice Hotels are pretty nasty. We had to stay in a Comfort Inn when we were evacuated due to the wildfires here is San Diego last year and it was a total dump. We got stuck there for 3 miserable days before we were moved…to another Choice Hotel! This time a Roadway Inn and it was worse then the first. The room’s Bible was imprinted with the date it was placed in the room: 1971!! And that is probably the last time it was cleaned too!

  • safetymom

    Regina, sorry to hear about the hotel. At least you got to write a blog entry about your trip. :) I hope you complain to the company.

  • tinkerbellblondie19

    You were in Charlotte?

    I’m more excited to hear that you were in town than George Clooney and Renee Zellewger.

  • WebmasterRegina

    George Clooney was in Charlotte? I wonder if that’s why the cops were at the Suburban. Maybe they were chasing the papparazzi away.

    Dizneedoll, there’s a really nice Comfort Inn in Hornell, NY that we would stay at when we visited our daughter’s college. That’s why I thought we could trust the brand. WHAT A DUMP!!

  • miss missy

    Oh my you bring back memories! I had the same problem with a “hotel” once. We opened the door and we looked at eachother and took off out of there!!! It was the type of place you wouldn’t send your worst enemie!

    We did miss you though! Glad you made it back safe.

  • happy2go2wdwmom

    Must vent—just a few days ago I checked into a local oceanfront hotel that has a few indoor pools, one with a lazy river—which was fun for my son and my freind and her two—well, coming back from dinner, we discovered black bugs (not love bugs) flying all over the ceiling and I managed to swat about 50 of them until I noticed there were SWARMS of them—ALL OVER! Maintainance dudes took one look and asked if we had seen any MAGGOTS earlier b/c they looked freshly hatched…”We’re packing!” was our reply–we did get our money back for the night,but they woudl not comp our dinner–so I am writing a letter to request this—I’ve awakened every night since w/ my skin crawling! UGH!

  • TLS1995

    Write a complain letter to the corporate Choice office or better yet just send them a copy of your blog! CC Side Step

    I did this when I had a simular experience at a hotel I booked through Priceline in Nashville a few years back. I ended up with give certificates from the hotel chain goo at any hotel with there logo and gift certificates from Priceline for the same thing. I ended up making $$ in that particular situation!

    Besides if you don’t complain how will corporate or Side Step know there is a problem with this particular establishment.

    Just my two cents worth.

  • TLS1995

    I want to apoligize for the typo’s in my previous post. I forgot to proof read!


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