Recently, my husband and I went on vacation. We went up-north for half of our trip, and spent the other half relaxing at home. We decided that since we had saved money by splitting the trip between vacation destination and home, we would attempt to get away for a night without the baby. We called up a trusty and reliable babysitter whom my daughter adores. This would be one of the first attempts in months to leave our one year old alone overnight with someone.
We called plenty of hotels, looking for three things: a king size bed, smoking room and an indoor pool. I was surprised to find that many hotels in the area we were looking did not offer an indoor pool. We ended up choosing La Quinta because it met our requirements. We’d never stayed at a La Quinta before, nor heard of it. We were able to save twenty dollars by going through hotels.com, making the price of the room for one night $100 plus tax.
We arrived at check-in at 3pm and found the front desk employee’s of La Quinta to be friendly, helpful and efficient. We headed on up to the room to alleviate ourselves of our overnight bag and found that the room had a very strong, nausea-inducing smell of drying paint. At first I had thought the maid had gone overboard with industrial strength cleaner. When we left the room, we noticed that there was a ‘no-smoking’ sign under the room number. We had booked a smoking room and the front desk had gotten it mixed up. Fortunately, it was very quick and simple to fix the problem and be put in another room. Thankfully, this one did not have that overpowering scent assaulting our noses.
The rooms in La Quinta were designed exactly the same: muted beige and white walls, forest green carpeting and drapes, king size bed, television with free HBO, coffee maker, mini fridge and microwave. I jumped on top of the bed and I felt like I had hit a slab of cement. There was absolutely no give in the mattress. I prefer a firmer mattress, but this was like laying down on a concrete road for all the comfort it provided. We wanted an extra pillow and some shampoo (only one microscopic bottle was in the room). We called the La Quinta front desk only to be told in a very friendly manner that those things must be retrieved oneself. Huh. I suppose that’s not a big deal, but for what claims to be a AAA 3 Diamond Rating hotel that calls its rooms “suites”, it seemed a little odd and inconvenient. I shrugged. I was happy enough to have time alone with my husband without my daughter jealously pushing us away from each other or tugging on my pantleg.
As I mentioned before, one of our requirements in selecting a hotel was an indoor pool, and La Quinta offered this. When we went down to the pool area, I was pleased to see that no one else was there. However, the pool at La Quinta was pretty small. I imagined how it would be if there were ten people in the pool instead of two and thought to myself, “crowded”. It was basically the size of my living room, which is quite small. I put my foot on the step and felt the water nearly freeze my toes off. Yikes. La Quinta’s pool was clear, if small, but I had not expected an indoor pool to be cold and unheated. Slowly, I descended into the water and even after swimming awhile, I didn’t really get used to the temperature. A cool pool is good, but one this cold isn’t exactly a relaxing swim.
After we came back from visiting a few nearby attractions and eating dinner, we returned to La Quinta. We had planned on watching a movie off their guide. We’d bought a bunch of snacks, changed into our pajamas and got settled in…only to discover that because we had gone through hotels.com, and therefore didn’t put down a credit card, we couldn’t just use the tv’s interactive guide to order a movie. We’d have to call down to the front desk and tell them exactly what we wanted and that night, only one employee (who was really great and accomodating, by the way) was there and we knew she was quite busy handling La Quinta’s front desk all on her own. That was okay. The movie selection wasn’t very good anyway and we ended up watching a hilarious comedy special with Dennis Miller.
We only stayed one night at La Quinta, as was the plan. The next day, the day of check-out, we simply handed them our key cards and were looking forward to the continental breakfast. We were sorely disappointed at what La Quinta considered “breakfast”. Here I’d been, imagining sausage links, scrambled eggs, bacon, only to discover pre-packaged bagels, muffins, “breakfast bars” and coffee and orange juice. That’s it. La Quinta charges about $125 for the room we stayed in and promotes their “free continental breakfast” and then offers a tiny dining area and the equivalent of a snack for breakfast. That was the last draw to make me think to myself, “Yeah, I’m never staying in a La Quinta again”. It’s as though La Quinta is masquerading as an upscale hotel and charging rates for a better quality hotel. La Quinta’s slogan for their hotels is: “La Quinta. Spanish for….(such and such thing)”. If I came up with a slogan for La Quinta, it would be: “La Quinta: Spanish for Motel pretending to be a Hotel”. I would highly recommend avoiding a La Quinta at all costs. The ONLY redeeming thing about La Quinta was the wonderful and courteous girl at the front desk. Other than that, I wouldn’t give La Quinta a single star.