Getting the Story or Travel Nightmares in NYC

May 15, 2018 by Michael Cordeiro

 Writing for Mobile Beat has been a great experience. Sometimes to get a great story I travel for an interview. This past weekend I headed to NYC with my wife and daughter to do an interview with the guys from The Funktion House in Brooklyn (look for the article in a few months). I thought it would be great to bring my wife and take her out to dinner in Manhattan and let her and my daughter do some shopping. The trip went well except for the hotel. I like to use Booking.com and most of the time I get some really good deals. Not this time. We stayed at the hotel Pennsylvania. This absolutely, hands down, was the flipping worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at on the planet. I wouldn’t recommend this place to my worst enemy. The whole time I was there I kept waiting for a camera crew to jump out and yell; “You’re on Pranked”!! Seriously, it’s that bad. Grab a coffee and some popcorn. This is going to take a while.

ACT I The Check In

We arrived at the hotel around 7 pm. There was a huge line waiting to check in (like over 50 guests or should I say victims). Only two people working the counter. After about 20 minutes of not moving I asked a lady towards the front how long she had been waiting. Her answer: 2 hours!! Really?

After 45 minutes of being in line and not moving mainly because there was an Asian couple going back and forth with one of only two desk clerks trying to check in. Neither one could understand the other. How do I know? Everyone in the lobby could hear them. It was like listening to one of those low budget Chinese movies dubbed in English. Seriously, no joke. Why the manager never came out to expedite is beyond me.

Tired of waiting and wanting to get my family into a room to freshen up and get dinner; I called the hotel on my phone while in line. It’s genius. Try it sometime. The female employee that answered was curt, abrupt and could care less about the line. I asked for the manager. He came on and said I could use the computer kiosk located against the wall in the lobby. There are four of them and none are labeled. (Side Note: if you have over 50 people in line waiting to check in and four available kiosks to speed up that process. Why wouldn’t you come out and tell everyone?)

Now I have a choice to make. I’ve been in line for almost an hour. Granted it’s only moved 5 feet. I now have ten more people behind me. Do I give up my place in line and go to the kiosk? I decide to go for it. I hit the start button. Enter my reservation number, swiped my credit card. I’m thinking I’m almost there and BAM! A screen pops up reading that “No rooms can be allocated by the kiosk at this time. Please see the front desk”. I think the top of my skull literally blew off, hit the ceiling and landed back on my head. I must have done something because everyone in the lobby turned to look at me. I tried the other kiosks. Same result.

Now I’ve lost my place in the non moving line, my sanity and my temper was not far behind. I got back on my phone called the hotel reservation line again. Of course, little miss happy pants answered. I by passed her for the manager. I explained that none of the kiosks were working and that I’ve lost my place in line. He came out to help. I’ll give him credit. He was polite, respectful and courteous. He tried the kiosks and realized there was a system issue. Meanwhile the Asian couple was still trying to check in. Maybe they were going for a Guiness World Record for the longest check in at a hotel ever.

The manager came back out shortly with two keys and an apology. There was a look of amazement on the faces of everyone in line when I grabbed my bags and family and headed up to our room. They were all probably wondering how much money I bribed the staff with to get by that line. Hold on folks. My story does not end there. Refill that beverage, I’m just getting warmed up.

ACT II “The Hotel Room”

We all use these travel sites to find great hotels and cheap deals. The hotels know this and compete vigorously for our business (just like DJ’s). They post pictures on their websites of luxurious rooms with beautiful and succulent amenities just calling our names. Baloney.  Compare my room pictures of our actual room 319 to their website. It’s like an episode of the bloody twilight zone.

The first thing you notice is the “vault” door. There’s a little plaque on each door that says it’s original from like 1919. That’s cool, but the door reminded my wife of one you see in a horror movie where the mad scientist locks you in. The room was simple and sparse. No artwork at all. The furniture was older than me (Think bad 1970’s). The view from the windows was obscured because of all the dirt on them. The pillows were flatter than______ (fill in the blank). The room had a musty smell which reminded me of the spare bedroom at my great grandmothers house. You know what I mean, right?

After freshening up we left to grab some dinner. As we headed to the elevators a woman came down the hall asking if we had seen any staff. She frantically explained there was a mouse in her room. I think at that point my wife’s eyes burnt a hole through the back of my head. Remember it’s Mother’s Day. Luckily, dinner was great. We came back exhausted and slept on the paper thin pillows..

ACT III “The checkout”

The interview was at noon. My wife and daughter went shopping for the day so I could head out for my meeting. I went to the lobby at 10 am to check out, plenty of time to catch the train over to Brooklyn. I dropped my keys in the express box and walked over to the Bell Captain to check in some bags to hold for the day. The Bell Captain looked at me and said: “We don’t do that, man”. Okay, so who does? You have to take the bags down to the basement to the luggage room. Alright. I made my way down to the basement (think the shining. You know, that scene where the elevator doors open up and all the blood comes out.). The young man at the counter asked me for my tickets. What tickets? You have to purchase luggage tickets at the front desk first for $5 each. Now you tell me!

I make my way back up to the lobby. There is a huge line. I ask someone in line how long they’ve been there. Over an hour. Are you kidding me? I went back to the Bell Captain. I’m a glutton for punishment I guess. Why he didn’t tell me about the tickets in the first place is beyond me. I explained my situation and he had me go to the side of the front desk. A staff member came out and I proceeded to try and buy luggage tickets. She asked me for my room keys. Guess what? They were in the express box. “Sir, I need proof that you were a guest here”,she said. I get that. Can you look up my reservation from last night? Sorry this computer is down and the other ones are tied up. At this point I’m looking around again for that camera crew from Pranked. After a little coaxing she sold me two tickets. Back down to the creepy luggage room. It’s now 1045 am. That was quick.

ACT IV “The Pick Up”

My interview in Brooklyn went great. My wife and daughter enjoyed their shopping. Around 5 pm it was time to grab the bags, get dinner and start the drive back to New England. We entered the hotel lobby and nature called. I asked where the rest rooms were and I was informed that they were downstairs near the creepy luggage room. Well at least that’s on the way. We headed down and I find the rest rooms. Both locked. We get our bags from the luggage room and I ask the attendant for a bathroom key. He informs me that keys are upstairs at the front desk. Not again! We head back up to the lobby. You guessed it! A long line and a one hour wait. We left.

Do you think I left them a great review? No, I didn’t. Actually most of what is in this post is in my review. There was a definite disconnect between the image this hotel portrayed online and what really goes on in their lobby. Look at your business. Are you living up to your reviews? Do your personal interactions with clients jive with what you post online? Do you have systems in place to immediately correct mistakes or fix problems when they happen? Get on it!

Michael Cordeiro Michael Cordeiro (63 Posts)

Mike Cordeiro is the owner of M.C. Entertainment. A small RI multi-op. Mike got his start in the entertainment field while stationed in Frankfurt Germany in 1990. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Entertainment & Event Management from Johnson & Wales University and has appeared on TLC’s Four Weddings, hosted an episode of Toddler’s & Tiaras, and does background acting for movies.


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