Recently I attended a big car race event at Thunderhill Raceway, near Willows, CA. All hotels were sold out. More than 2 months prior I had reserved one double room for Thurs-Sun, and 3 double rooms for Fri-Sun at the Travelodge, Willows. I arrived Thursday, and my 6 friends were arriving Friday. When I checked in Thursday night, lobby was sweltering hot, not air conditioned, under construction and stunk of paint. Whatever. Was told that internet access was via a cable they would loan me, but they didn't. I got my card keys, and went around back to my room. The card keys were printed with Baymont Inn graphics, which is the next hotel up the street. On the way to the room, it looked like I was driving through a bombed out ghetto on the way to the room, with broken furniture, mattresses and box springs, drywall and lumber debris strewn all over the sidewalk for much of the way there, right outside many of the rooms. Haven't they heard of a dumpster?
When I got in the room--at least it had furniture in it. But the security latch on the door was literally broken off. Comforting, hunh? I needed a shower and sleep, so whatever. The bathroom was dirty--like the shower mat had big mold splotches on it; there were hairs and dirt on the sink counter and the floor, ants crawling up the bathroom wall, and there was what looked like blood smears on the wall above the side of the toilet. Ew....it's getting worse. After a quick (don't-touch-the curtain-or-wall) shower, I called the front desk to get the cable for internet connection, as the CAT-5 cable that I brought didn't let me connect. No answer. I tried from the hotel phone, and from my cell phone. Nope, no-one there. OK, no last email that night. Needed sleep more...The bed pillows were very small, almost square. Seemed kinda strange, but whatever... Got a short nights sleep and headed out early for the track.
That night, Friday, when my friends were checking in, or I should say trying to check in, the lobby was closed, locked up tight. No one there. This is maybe 10:30 Friday night. Another couple showed up to check in, too, and after some expressions of frustration, they mentioned that this had happened to them before, and the Baymont Inns lobby had keys for the Travelodge. The group headed to the Baymont Inn, and the night clerk called the owner, who owns not only both the Travelodge and the Baymont Inn, but also the Holiday Inn Express there in Willows. My friend got to speak with the owner, a woman possibly named Christine. He was told that there were no rooms. We had the printed reservations with confirmation numbers; she said that there were no rooms. The reservation stated that without cancellation by 4 pm the day before, my credit card would be charged for one night; "Christine" said that I wasn't charged; the charges were refunded when they rented out the rooms. We told her that the issue wasn't want the money, we needed the rooms that were guaranteed to us by the reservation. She insisted that there were no rooms, and this debate went back and forth as she tried to dismiss us. This continued until she was told that if she didn't find us rooms, we were going to call the police and charge her with fraud, and she would have to get her-self out of bed and come down to the hotel and face us. After literally 30 minutes of arguing this point with her, she called her network, and found us rooms at the Blue Gum Inn, about 5 miles north. We got there and checked in close to midnight.
The Blue Gum Inn is a rustic little place, but the owner/night clerk was there and pleasant to deal with, and the rooms were clean, if a bit dated. A couple of us stayed at the one Travelodge room that I had checked into Thursday night, but the remaining 6 of us had to relocate.
The icing on the cake was I met a couple at the track Saturday, who had a room at the Travelodge, and had checked in the afternoon before. The woman had a printed reservation for a smoking king bed room; they gave her a double queen bed room. She insisted that they wanted the king bed room, and after some argument, were given one, and the person behind the counter mentioned that they had a few rooms available because some “guy has too many rooms reserved.” That “guy” was ME! And I didn't have too many rooms reserved, I had enough for the group of us that were intending to stay there.
To top it all off, I got a phone call that Saturday mid-day, in the heat of working on cars, mid race. The person (I didn't catch her name) asked if I still needed the rooms that I had reserved, for Saturday night. These are the rooms that I needed the night before, of course. Since I was rather busy working on a race car, I told her that I couldn't talk, but I was very upset that she had not honored the reservation that I had made months in advance. She told me to call if I wanted the rooms, and hung up on me.
NEVER AGAIN! I strongly urge you to find an alternate place to stay, any place other than the Willows Travelodge, Baymont Inns, or Holiday Inn Express. A person in the hospitality industry who will sell a room out from under a reservation has no business being in the hospitality business, and the best way to communicate this is by sharing the information. Please feel free to tell everyone you know.
I'm sorry that I had to learn this; but the service at Travelodge Willows, CA is HORRIBLE. The worst treatment I have ever had at a hotel in any country. Stay at the Blue Gum Inn! They're nice, and the rooms are clean.
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- Also Known As:
- Willows Travelodge Hotel Willows