Staycations have gained popularity in recent years, with consumers tired of overpaying for big name hotel fees and airfare. But not every staycation is created equal. Last weekend, we booked a room at a B&B in Manhattan’s Alphabet City that was billed as a “bed and coffee.” It had received rave reviews on Trip Advisor and from what we could tell, was a steal.
For only $135 a night, we’d get “affordable, clean and comfortable accomodation in an environment that feels like a home away from home.” Best of all, the site described it as a “European-style guesthouse with a New York ‘loft apartment feel.”
Too bad the place looked like an artist’s loft in Houston’s Fourth Ward.
On Saturday, we were dismayed to find our room was literally a plywood box in the main room, which was a converted warehouse space. There were windows and plastic wall decals to play the “treehouse” vibe, but the only view we had was of ceiling rafters.
Our bed was hard as a rock. The bath towels felt rough against our skin. Also, it was hot in there.
“We have central A/C,” the clerk assured me when I asked. She forgot to mention they left it off at night, despite it being 80 degrees outside.
The shared bathroom was even worse. There was no soap in the soap dispenser and the tile looked grubby. The only toothpaste on hand was Pepsodent.
Around 9 p.m., we heard a series of loud, piercing shrieks. It was bad enough we could hear everything outside—and everyone could hear us—but this sounded like a dog being stabbed. Sure enough, I stepped outside to find a terrier in a tailspin.
“Is this dog staying overnight?” I asked a group of onlookers.
“Believe so,” one woman replied.
This was too much. I called the B&B owner, who said she was rushing back to get the dog. What if I hadn’t complained?
After going out for dinner, we came back to find our key wouldn’t work. The apologetic owner let us in and informed us the front door was broken.
“I feel like we’re in a one-act play,” I told my boyfriend.
“Except we’re paying for it,” he quipped.
In reality, we should have done our homework. It would have been smarter to drop by the place, ask friends for referrals and not blindly trust what we’d read online. This is NYC after all.
And since the experience and our comfort mattered more than getting a deal, we would have done better to pay up for a classier place.
Next time we’ll remember to do that.