The Carolina Motel is nice enough - certainly not luxurious, and perhaps a bit shabby in regard to furnishings, but a convenient location, plus large, clean room with cross-ventilation and front-door parking made up for much. There were helpful maps of Franklin and the surrounding area available at the front desk. A nice young man met me there initially and checked me in when I stayed here for two nights while on vacation in mid-June.
However: I had assumed that my reserved room would include the pictured refrigerator and microwave I saw on the motel's own website - however, neither amenity was to be found in the room I was first given. As I was traveling, I had food with me that needed refrigeration, so I went back to registration to inquire.
I was told by Debbie, the manager, that I had been given the room I'd requested, and that if I wanted the microwave and fridge, I should have indicated as much when I made my (telephoned) reservation.
I was also asked if I'd used the bathroom in the room I first saw - evidently I would have had to spend more than a penny had I done so!
I had to ask if I could upgrade to a room which was fully supplied (no one suggested this or offered to upgrade me) - and was told yes, but that it would cost me more. I asked if there was a discount for government employees or for seniors: there was not, for either category.
I also pointed out (as politely as I could) that their website was misleading, and that had I known that the less costly room did not include what I needed, I would have originally reserved the other room (actually, I expect I would have gone elsewhere) but Debbie (again, Debbie!) clearly didn't care for my statement and became quite defensive in response. However, she did upgrade me - for a price. To the nice, large, clean but shabby and inadequately lit room, where the small microwave sat precariously atop a small pedestal table that swayed each time I used the appliance. The wall-to-wall carpet seemed clean enough, but was worn here and there and its dark color didn't make the room any lighter.
The room would have been lighter had I opened the curtains across the large picture window, but as the motel's front porch and walkway were immediately outside, that would have exposed my room - and me - to all passers-by, an unfortunate but unavoidable architectural "bonus" of the classic 1950s motel style. Thin privacy curtains which admit light but obscure the inner view would have been nice. However, there were an unexpected nice small antique tea table and a comfortable sofa with throw cushions, which added a homelike touch.
A small clothes rack was attached be a problem, surely some plastic or lightweight metal coathangers would not be a major expense, and would be a true service to guests.
But before I got to my new room, while a nice young man was rather apologetically checking me in, Debbie received a phone call from someone she obviously knew. "Oh, hi...yeah. (pause) Yeah, really obnoxious". Now, I have no idea if she was talking about me or someone or something else, but it surely didn't make me feel any more welcome.
The next morning, I decided I was probably being overly sensitive and that surely Debbie's comment couldn't have been about me. So I gave it another try and headed out to see what the free breakfast included.
Sweet rolls, juice, coffee - bananas and apples - perhaps a few other items, but that's what I recall. I don't drink coffee, but saw no tea or milk. The sweet rolls looked a bit stale and sugary. I already had juice in my hard-won refrigerator. So I took a banana back to my room, made oatmeal in the microwave, ditto hot chocolate, and wound up with a good breakfast, mostly of my own contriving.
I had a very nice time in Franklin, a lovely little town in a spectacular setting. I had no more encounters with Debbie, and the other desk personnel seemed appropriately friendly and professional. I again made breakfast in my room on the second morning, and my check-out went smoothly and quickly - I was assisted by another young man, whom I had not met previously.
So it was a very mixed bag. Next time I'm in Franklin, a very pretty small town in a stunningly beautiful mountain setting, I think I'll opt for the known quality of a good chain facility with a clear online description of their rooms and policies, or go to a B and B.
In either case, I'd expect to be welcomed by the hosts rather than encounter defensiveness and seeming resentment.
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- Also Known As:
- Carolina Hotel Franklin