the travel geek

"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form."

They Lied About the Whole “Four-Star” Thing

Ann has posted an interesting question on her blog: “Have you got any hotel-from-hell stories you want to share — stories about the four-star hotel that wasn’t, or that “quaint” holiday rental property that was so quaint that it didn’t have working plumbing?”

I have stories that would make hair curl. In India there were so many of them I just started writing toilet and cockroach stories instead of reviews on hotels to keep my mind focused elsewhere…

The scariest was in Nashville Tennessee — I was booked into a “4-star” hotel by a newbie travel agent in Calgary. Before I even got to the hotel the cab driver gave me his card and said: “Call anytime if things get too scary and I’ll take you to a different hotel.” I was an inexperienced traveler at that point and decided to tough it out for a night (the room was prepaid). Today I would have just said: “Take me somewhere else,” knowing to trust the judgment of the cabbie.

What he didn’t tell me (this would have changed all my decisions immediately) was my hotel was in the hood.

When I arrived at the hotel the man at the front desk (decked out in gang attire and missing his front teeth) said: “Are you sure you’re in the right place?” After a bit of civilized chatter (and NOT telling him I was in Nashville attending a forensics conference) he said to me: “Whatever you do, don’t open the door to your room. Whatever you hear and whatever happens, keep it shut. I’ll make sure nothing happens to you as long as you stay in the room.”

By this point I was *um* scared. So I did what any person in my situation would do: I phoned my mom. She then promptly transferred money into my account and told me to get the hell out of Dodge. Unfortunately it was already dark and I could hear SHOOTING outside.

Let’s just say I didn’t sleep that night. I moved the furniture in the room that wasn’t bolted down to block the door and hid in the bathroom until all the shouting, shooting and noises stopped outside. That was at 6am; after which I called the cabbie and asked him to take me to a different hotel. I checked out by phone.

The cabbie was there in 5 minutes and on our way out of the hood we saw half a dozen police cars and officers standing around a body just barely visible in the grass beside the roadway. I’ve never been so glad to be out of a place as I was on that day.

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