My family stayed at the Hilton St Louis Airport on Monday, September 5, 2011 because we had an early flight. I woke up at 3 am with something crawling on my neck. My husband and 2yr old baby were sleeping in the King size bed with me. It was tiny (the size of a gnat), but when I went to the bathroom to see what I had just squashed, there was blood on my fingers. After inspecting the bed using the light from my cell phone, and not finding anything, I decided not to wake my husband and baby.
Even if we had moved to another room in the middle of the night, there was no assurance that we wouldn't have bedbugs on our stuff now or that the other room wouldn't have the same problem. Anyone who has woken a sleeping baby in the middle of the night can probably understand this decision. When I told my husband about the experience the next morning, he said he felt something crawling on him too. After inspecting his side of the bed, we found a small blood spot on the sheets. We immediately called the front desk, explained what we found, and requested a manager to our room. In the 20 mins it took for the head of housekeeping to get up to our room, we found 1 tiny dead bedbug and 1 tiny bedbug crawling around. The head of housekeeping was very nice and asked questions, but he looked at the bedbug and told me it was not a bedbug b/c bedbugs are flat. I told him it WAS flat and it absolutely was a bedbug (I looked at many pictures on my phone in the middle of the night. It was a juvenile bedbug - identical to the pictures). He said he would check with his engineer and get back with me. In that time, we found a full grown adult bedbug crawling around in the bed. The hotels solution was for us to put our items that were on the bed in plastic, take them home and put them in the freezer to kill anything that might be on them. They told us our suitcases and any items not on the bed were not at risk. Anyone who has done ANY research knows that is not true. Also, your home freezer DOES NOT get cold enough to kill bedbugs. Thank goodness I did my own research and used extremely hot water and steam on all of our items (and did not bring any bedbugs into my family's home)! We were not even offered a refund on our room until we requested it. I completely understand that bedbugs are hitchhikers and can be anywhere, but I would have expected better handling of the situation from a Hilton hotel. Please at least educate your staff, so that you are giving people the correct advice on how to ensure they don't take bedbugs home with them. It will probably be awhile before I stay in any hotel again. When I do, I will probably be that annoying person that requests a complete inspection of the room before my family or any of our items are brought inside. My advice to anyone is this: bedbugs can be ANYWHERE- any hotel, airport, airplane, ANY place people are. Just inspect your surroundings. If you find yourself in a place with bedbugs, do your own research to ensure you don't bring them home. People will give you all kinds of advice - but a lot of it will be incorrect.