Sunday, August 23, 2009

REVIEW: Quality Inn, South Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach SC

In summary: STAY AWAY from this Quality Inn.

We initially selected it based on several factors.

1. Location: across the street from the beach
2. Price: just under $100 for an "efficiency" with a kitchen and living room
3. Food: a deluxe breakfast included
4. Internet: Free wifi in all rooms
5. Reviews: A smattering of positive online reviews tossed in with the negative

All I can say is that the hotel IS across the street from the beach, so you could walk over and not have to take your car to the public lot. That's about the ONLY positive thing I can say. I can't speak to the breakfast since we didn't stay overnight -- but I'm thinking it would be nothing to write home about.

My first inclination that this would not be a good hotel was when we first arrived and had to use the bathroom. The woman at the desk gave us a key and pointed us to what I assume was the pool bathroom, locked and with a large sign that said, "OUT OF ORDER." Obviously it was not out of order, as my son and I were able to use it. I think they must keep it locked to keep the pool people out of it ... not good if you're a guest using the pool and you have to go to the potty! Plus, the bathroom STUNK something fierce ... it was dirty and stinky enough that my daughter said she'd "hold it" until we got to the room. I really had to go so I held my breathe and hurried!

Our distaste must have shown on our faces, as the woman at the desk later told us that she saw that we were unhappy when we first arrived; we were "looking around," she said. And she was right. The place looked very dumpy.

We took the nasty looking elevator up to our room on the fifth floor. At least it was a fast ride, is all I can say about that!

When we entered the room, my heart sank ... and my nose wrinkled. I wish I had taken photos, because the room was really a dump. The carpet was worn ... the lights dingy and yellow. The bathroom had cigarette burns on the counter and the floor looked nasty. The other room--where the very old, very dirty stove and refrig sit--also held the couch and a table. And for some reason, this room SMELLED something fierce. It smelled like a broken sewage line, or like someone had the runs on the carpet and just left it there to swelter in the heat.

Ok ... I thought. We'll just buy a few air fresheners ... we can make this work ... we won't be in the hotel much anyway .... After giving myself and my kids a pep talk, we decided to log online to see what we could do for dinner. But--there was NO Internet.

I found the little card that tells you what to do to troubleshoot Internet issues, and then my husband got on the phone with the Internet folks. Turns out that there was nothing the guy on the phone could do--he said he would have to call down to the office to have them "reboot" the system. At this point, I wasn't freaked out because something similar had happened to me at a Hampton Inn in West Virginia ... where the support people had to call the office and get them to reboot the system. My husband called down a little while later to ask if she had it worked out .. she said she had "one more thing" she could try.

By this time, we noticed that the room had started to get uncomfortably hot. Seems the AC unit in the bedroom section--where we all hovered because the smell in the other room was putrid--had stopped blowing cool air! We decided to get out of there and go to dinner ... hopefully everything would be fixed by the time we returned. Hubby went to the office in person before we left so he could express upon her the importance of us having Internet, and to report that our AC was not working.

We drove around for a while and found a pizza place off the island ... ate and then returned. Our first stop was the office. Hubby asked the woman at the desk if Internet was up yet ... and she went off on us with an attitude. "I sweated in that phone room and it's not even my job ... the Internet won't be back tonight because noone else is here." I asked if it would be ready tomorrow and she said yes. Then we asked about the air ... she said she "forgot about it" because she was trying "so hard to please" my husband! She offered us several times to let us leave right now, without penalty, telling us that we had obviously been unhappy since we arrived ... "looking around," or so she said.

I won't repeat all the verbatim; suffice it to say that the exchange continued back and forth until I got pretty hot, asking her if she expected me to kiss her butt and get on my knees to thank her for TRYING to fix the Internet for us. At that point, I knew I better get out before I said something I REALLY regretted. I told her I couldn't believe her attitude--she said she couldn't believe mine! She told me that this whole encounter was being video-taped and recorded ... I was like, "Good!" Looking around for an unseen video camera, I said to the air, "SEE! This is the attitude I'm talking about!"

She told us there were plenty of hotels on the strip and that we should find another one. I told her that we needed Internet to find another hotel -- she told me I was "CRAZY" to think I needed the Internet to find a hotel considering I was on a strip lined with them. Did I mention that it was nearly 9 pm and that we had been up and packing and traveling since 7 am that morning ... with three kids?

I didn't want to leave without having a place to stay ... and I didn't know what else to do ... so we went back to the room. She grabbed the maintenance guy and said, "Go up with them RIGHT NOW and fix their air. And you better fix it or God help you!" I could not believe this. So when we went back up, the AC had cycled and was working again.

He left ... and shortly after, so did we. I asked my husband to apologize for me when he went back down, because I wish I hadn't have lost it. He said that she apologized too, then proceed to rail on and on about how she works 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, yada yada yada, blah blah blah.

After stopping at maybe seven or eight places, we found Ocean Park Resort, which is where we wound up staying.

That is our horror story.

Let me warn you that the negative reviews you read online about the Quality Inn on Myrtle Beach are TRUE. The photos make the place look clean and fresh--it is anything but. Even the pool looked skanky and green--not something I'd want to swim in. We've taken our chances on places with mixed reviews in the past, and we've always been in luck, feeling that the negative reviews were written by people who were "too picky." But in this case, we were wrong. The Quality Inn is a TRUE DUMP that I suggest you avoid at all costs.

Also, if you're planning your first visit to Myrtle Beach, know that there are MANY more places on the strip that you won't find by looking online. I'm almost thinking that you get a better deal if you can drive down there and then find a place ... this way you can also see it in person before you commit. I wouldn't do this on a weekend or during a holiday, but it's probably an okay strategy for weekdays and off-times.

In any case, I hope you have better luck than we did! :)

EDIT: By the way, you can read my review of this place at TripAdvisor as well. I wrote that review the very night the incident happened, so it was fresher in my mind at the time. See it here:

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