Thursday, April 22, 2010

Welcome to the Hotel Grand Rapids

I think I mentioned that last weekend I went to the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. The conference was great, and I got to hear a lot of wonderful authors like Wally Lamb, Kate DiCamillo, and Rhoda Janzen. I bought way too many books and have an even longer list of books I'd like to check out of the library--enough to keep me going all summer on my beautiful back porch.

But what I haven't mentioned yet was the perfectly hellacious night that Amy and I spent in a hotel-which-shall-remain-nameless. Or should I name it? I haven't decided yet.

We arrived on a Thursday, spent the day racing from lecture to lecture, and by the time we hit the beds we were exhausted. Thursday night was fine. Even though we were in a room directly across from the elevator (which I usually don't do), we slept fine.

The next day was the same. Running around like the crazy geeks we are, listening to lectures from authors we wished we could be, and getting more and more tired by the minute. By the time Friday night rolled around, we were plumb tuckered out as they say somewhere I'm not sure where. We spent some time talking--O.K., lots of time talking because one of my best friends from college was also at the conference. So the three of us, Amy, Sarah, and me, stayed up all the way until 10, just gabbing like college freshmen over a pizza.

We're crazy like that.

Around 10:30 that night I turned out my light, put in the trusty earplugs, and fell asleep within about 30 seconds. About 20 minutes later I was awoken by a loud thumping and bumping and jumping above us. It sounded like a herd of warthogs running for the nearest mirage out in the bush.

What ensued was like something out of a bad movie. It involved me calling the front desk to ask that they tell those warthogs hooligans above us to stop it. And then Amy calling the hooligans directly. And about 45 minutes later, me calling the desk again to see whether they had actually gotten around to calling room 238 because the thumping and bumping and jumping was still going on.

I'm telling you, it was like being in the basement of the place where they taped Soul Train.

Finally, around midnight, the front desk guy, Raj I think his name was, told me that they had "one room left" on the top floor of the hotel and it was "as quiet as rooms can get."

Amy and I talked it over and realized that we had no choice. Soul Train was going to go on all night long and since we had a few more geeky lectures to attend the next day, and then had to drive four hours home, we needed to get some sleep.

And so, AT MIDNIGHT, Amy and I packed up our face cream and shampoo, along with all the clothes that were strewn about, changed our clothes and switched rooms. Not only that, I had to trudge down to the front desk to retrieve the new key! I thought the least they could do would be to bring it to me, but no, the Hotel Grand Rapids doesn't exactly treat its customers that way.

By the next morning I had worked myself into a righteous indignation. No way should that have happened. No way should WE have had to move rooms. No way should I have to pay for a room I didn't even get to sleep in or a room I had to get out of bed to move to in the middle of the night.

I wanted to gather up the chutzpa of my brother-in-law, Tom, who is the most lucky person in the world because he gets more free deals and 20% offs than anyone I've ever met. Just because he asks.

I don't have that kind of luck, but I figured I'd ask anyway, so at checkout I told Raj in no uncertain terms to look at the dark circles under my eyes and tell me in all honesty if I should have to pay for the worst night I've ever spent in a hotel. Raj said I'd have to take it up with the manager who wasn't there yet. Of course.

Later, the manager did call me, but I didn't have time to call him back what with all the nodding off I was doing during the geeky lectures I was attending. But when I got home there was waiting for me a very nice email telling me that my Friday night hotel stay would not be charged to my credit card.

Good thing, because if I didn't get my way I was going to sic my brother-in-law, Tom on them.



  1. I just read your guest post at Mel's World for the Godly Gals series. Just wanted to let you know that it was a HUGE encouragement to me. The reminder that I am precious to the Lord is something that I needed today! I just had to come and check out your blog! I'm your newest follower now, and I look forward to getting to know you through your blog! By the way, sorry about the terrible hotel!!! Glad they didn't charge you for the last night though! =)

  2. Glad you got another room and weren't charged for it. Once we were staying somewhere and we had requested a certain room with a breakfast in bed thing included (a Valentine's special). Well, they didn't give us the right room or the room service (they insisted that we had to eat at the hotel restaurant downstairs). Needless to say I politely asked if we could get a discount and they gave us our room for free :) It never hurts to ask!

  3. Hello Rachel! So nice to meet you! Thank you so much for stopping by and following! Make sure you go down to my birthday post to get in the giveaway. :)

    You're right, Beth. Never hurts to ask. I think that's what my brother-in-law knows. ;)

  4. That's rough. Glad you got your money back.

    The first time we stayed in a hotel earlier this year while visiting Nathan we ended up in the same hallway as a bunch of college soccer teams.

    It was the worst night ever. They moved us but not in the night. I was too scared to leave the room. I thought there was a gang party going on with all of the non-english speaking people.

    I'm glad you had a good time at the conference even if the hotel stunk!

  5. So glad you asked for the discount (free night). Rob asks regularly for discounts, free bfast, etc and it is amazing the free upgrades he gets just by asking! Bummer you were tired for your last day though. Hope you had good bday celebrations throughout the week.

  6. Hi Shelly, I'm relatively new to your blog..stop by from time to time...but just wanted to say that I just returned from the FFW in Grand Rapids too!!!! I wish I had known you were there-- I would have LOVED to meet a new blogger friend!!!

    sorry you had such a crazy experience at the hotel! Yuck! Wasn't the conference wonderful though?!! Did you go the Eugene Peterson talk? My favorite, by far!! What an amazingly wise man.

    Had you been to the conference before? This was actually my third- they've all been wonderful!

    Glad to have made the connection-- even from Buffalo a week later!! Cheers.

  7. I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad stay in a hotel in my home city, but am glad that at least you didn't have to pay for the night which inconvenienced you. Glad to hear the conference was a good one. I hope to get to go next year :)