I always thought bed bugs were a joke, or at worst a minor problem. Until I stayed at the Sundowner.
The Sundowner has a very good price for its location and amenities. I have stayed there four or five times (July-September of 2011). Unfortunately, I'm slow to pay for better. Every room I stayed in had between two and five significant things wrong, from drapes that couldn't close to broken toilet seats and malfunctioning appliances. I could go on with a long list.
My last stay was a n
ightmare. Not because of the broken stuff, but because of the week before. I got attacked by BED BUGS in room 155. I've had every other type of insect bite, plus poison oak and chicken pox. This was FAR worse. The symptoms grew gradually and lasted three weeks. At the peak, I lost so much sleep to the itching, I couldn't stay awake at my desk and had to stay away from work. (Believe me, after 20 months on unemployment, that hurts. I and my boss lost thousands of dollars in income.)
I'll spare you the details about the fever, swelling, and blistering (you can see pictures at www.tripadvisor.com if they don't censor my review), and cut to what the Manager did about it.
He blamed the custodian.
They said they had the room treated for bed bugs a year ago, and the pest service educated them about how to control the problem. The manager complained that he had bought expensive pesticides and the custodian wasn't using them. So I tried to explain to the custodian the need to keep treating the room every month. Trying to be forgiving, I left it at that.
More time passes, all the scabs have fallen off, I've been ordered to go back and ask for a refund, and I finally get a chance and enough nerve to go back and ask the manager for a refund. He cuts me off after my first sentence and says he "can't help" me. He says he looked and didn't find any bedbugs. (Did he look in the wall plugs, under the chair cushions, between the carpets, inside the AC unit, and between the carpets and the baseboards?)
Then he changes his story, claiming Clark comes regularly and has treated rooms 127 and 128. (Remember, I was in 155.)
Finally, he runs away and hides, leaving me and the custodian staring at each other. I could see in the custodian's eyes that he felt caught in the middle.
I gave the manager the benefit of any doubt until I caught him changing the story. I sat in the lobby, waiting half an hour to speak with him with no other customers present, so I'm not filing this report out of spite. After his dishonorable behavior, I no longer feel obligated by politeness to hold back my opinion, especially when other customers' health is at stake.
A month later, I still wake up and turn on the lights to check myself every time I feel an itch or a tickle during the night.
BONUS TIP: If the matress in your motel room feels like it's wrapped in plastic, the room has probably been treated for bed bugs. Get a different room!