Sherry and I, along with other members of our church, went to Austin, TX for a conference begin held at the Wyndham Garden and Conference Center, 3501 IH-35, Austin, TX. We arrived late on 5/23/12 and checked into a standard king room – room 109. Sherry dropped an earring back on the bathroom floor; searching did yield the earring back and lots of curly black hairs also on the floor that couldn’t have belonged to either of us. This, along with bits of debris in corners and around baseboard
s was our first clue that the room wasn’t nearly as clean as we would have liked. However, we did not complain to the hotel staff.
On the morning of 5/26, our friends in room 106 called to tell us they’d be late to the conference as they’d found bugs in their bed and had called the hotel staff to come look. The hotel engineer verified that the two bugs were indeed live bedbugs. However, the engineer could not find the nest. Because we had spent so much time in their room and they in ours, we asked the engineer to check our room too. No live bugs were found in our room (109). Housekeeping stripped both rooms and replaced all the bedding, but did not quarantine the mattresses. The front desk staff said that the manager was gone until 5/29 but said they would review the matter; they also said they couldn’t give our friends another room because the property was full. Later that day, my friends found a note of apology and $20 Wyndham bucks on their bed.
I called the Wyndham rewards line for members and reported the bedbugs and asked that my friends be given a credit for their room. I was transferred to customer service who asked me if we had worked with management. I told them that front desk staff said that management wouldn’t be back on property until 5/29 and our last night was the 27th; I asked customer service for a resolution prior to our checkout. They took my cell number for follow-up (which I have not received as of this posting).
On the evening of 5/27, my friend from room 106 called, extremely upset. They had been locked out of their hotel room. Upon gaining entrance, they found a message from the hotel front desk, stating there was a problem with their bill and it needed to be resolved. They had been locked out of the room by the hotel staff on purpose! I went with her to the front desk where Jerri settled the bill. Then I spoke with Allison and expressed my disappointment with our entire experience with Wyndham. Allison defended the hotel’s position, saying that since no nest was found in Jerri’s room and since no live bugs were found in our room, no further action was necessary.
I explained that since we had been in their room and since they had been in ours, and since we were traveling together in the same vehicle, we had to take the recommended precautions suggested on the EPA’s website to avoid taking bedbugs into our homes. I asked that, at minimum, Jerri’s room be credited for her entire stay and that consideration also be given to us for the time, effort, and trouble that we would be out. Allison said she hadn’t fully understood the situation, apologized for her earlier attitude, said she needed to make several phone calls and asked to have until the morning to review the situation. We emphasized that we were leaving at 9 AM and asked that she get back to us by then. She assured us she would.
The next morning, at checkout, we found Jessica at the front counter. She said she had a note from Allison from the night before stating that since no nest or infestation was found, no further action was necessary. I explained (now the third time) that both parties were traveling together for the next 14 hours in the same vehicle and that we would have to have our clothing, luggage, and travel items treated before we could even take them into our respective houses. We pressed the issue until Jessica called engineering. They stated that if the live bugs of which they now were in possession indeed came from room 106, not only should that room be quarantined but both adjacent rooms and all three rooms upstairs should also be quarantined, not booked, and treated. Begrudgingly, Jessica credited Jerri’s room bill for her stay.
Upon return home, we did not unpack the car. We’ve been treating items according to the EPA’s suggestions before we bring them back into the house. As of 6/2, we’re about halfway finished with this. Also, Sherry went to the doctor on 5/29 with itchy patches on her neck. The doctor diagnosed her with an allergic reaction to bug bites; she pulled up photographs of bedbug bites from the CDC’s website and showed Sherry that was exactly what her skin looked like. She had a total of 6 bites on her neck. Remember, we were in room 109 (not the room where the bedbugs were found).
What the hotel did not do right:
(1) assuming the bedbugs originated in room 106, the hotel did not notify any of the guests in the upper rooms or in the rooms adjacent to room 106 of the live bedbugs found in room 109
(2) assuming the bedbugs were brought in with the laundry and were not original to room 106, the hotel also did not launch an investigation to find the source of the bedbugs in the hotel
(3) credit my bill any amount to account for the bedbug treatment we are still undergoing
(4) follow up with us as they had promised or provide any degree of empathetic customer service; we had to fight to be heard.
Because I’m convinced the hotel did not take this matter seriously or treat us with courtesy, I’ve chosen to post this experience. I will not go into a hotel again without stripping the bed and checking for bedbugs. Nor will I settle for a room that doesn’t appear clean. I’ve learned some valuable lessons (including how to treat for bedbugs); I only hope this Wyndham property behaves better the next time it has the opportunity.