I had the misfortune of staying at this hotel. BIG mistake. The absence of cars in the parking lot should have been an indication as to the nature if this establishment, but I was tired and needed a room for the night. Little did I know what an expensive lesson I was in for!
This hotel - Bryson's Best Western in Mount Airy, NC (although on your credit card statement will show up as Brintle's Best Western) is located adjacent to a large truckstop off of I77. There are three sets of stairs that lead down the hill into the truckstop's parking lot from the hotel's property. One might assume that they would be accommodating to truckers, however that is not the case. In fact, they seem to have disdain and contempt for truck drivers, as well as having designated them as being targets to be easily exploited.
Did I mention that I'm a trucker? I am. So I parked my rig at the truckstop, and walked up the hill to the hotel's office to check in for the evening. At the desk I asked if they had smoking rooms. They did not. I then asked if the room doors opened up to an outside walkway or an interior hallway. I was told that all the rooms had exterior entrances, but if I was to smoke, to please make sure that the door was shut so smoke wouldn't blow inside the room. I found this to be acceptable and rented a room.
The room was clean and comfortable enough, a coffee maker being the only in-room amenity. Soon after settling in, I walked out onto the walkway from my second story room to have a cigarette. I then had a conversation with a couple (also truckers) staying at the hotel. They were also smoking but had taken the precaution to walk about ten yards out into the parking lot. From there they warned me that I should follow suit and get away from the building before smoking. I wish I had taken their advice, although I'm not sure how much good it would have done. At this point I did decide to walk over to the steps and finish my smoke away from the room doors.
I should explain that I am in the process of trying to quit cigarettes. I'm down to about half a pack a day. Someone in my situation rations their cigarettes and keeps track of how many they smoke. I know definitively that I had three cigarettes the night I checked in, and one the next morning before I checked out. With the exception of about half of the first cigarette I mentioned, all four cigarettes I smoked were on the steps - on the landing halfway between the first and second floor.
After a couple of days I'd noticed that the room charge was still pending on my account, and that there was a $150.00 hold, but didn't think much of it- that's pretty standard practice for a lot of hotels. Late that Friday they put through the charge for the room plus a 150 dollar cleaning fee. I called my bank and tried to stop payment but by then it had already posted to my account and there wasn't much they could do about it until Monday. I called the hotel to dispute the charge and was told I'd have to call back on Monday when the manager returned. The lady who answered the phone said the housekeeper had made a note that there were ashes on the counter and that was the reason for the fee. On Monday morning promptly at 8:00 AM I called the hotel to speak with the manager, Christy (Christie?) O'Neill. I explained to her there was an unauthorized charge to my card. She told me that she KNEW I was smoking in my room because there were ashes on the floor and hung up on me.
At this point I started to suspect that the charge wasn't a mistake but was in fact fraudulent! I called back immediately not only to further plead my case but also to inform her how rude it was to hang up in someone's face. You know what happened? She hung up on me again.
I called a third time and got another woman on the line and asked how to get in touch with the owner. She said she would transfer me and then redirected me to Christy O'Neill's voicemail. I left a message with my name and phone number, and explained that I wanted the money back that was stolen from my account. After a couple of hours she returned my call!
She asked what she could do for me, and I told her that I wasn't exactly the kind of person that she wanted to steal from and that she needed to refund my $150.00. She told me that that would NEVER happen especially after the room had been left so filthy, with the bathroom floor black with ashes, a cigarette butt in the toilet, and the room smelling horrible. She told me that she had had four people check the room, and that they pulled everything out of the room to clean it and then put everything back into the room, after cleaning each individual item. She then gave me the number for Best Western's corporate office, and said I could call them to complain- although it would be a waste of time as they would most assuredly be ON HER SIDE.
Have you noticed that during my tale of woe, that the mess of ashes seems to keep getting larger and moving around the room? I thought that was odd, too. Even more so when I called the corporate office to find out that Christy O'Neill had reported to them that I had all but completely torn the room apart and left burn marks all over the carpet. I'm sure that if called to complain again, Christy O'Neill would claim to have evidence of me starting a campfire in that room, sacrificing babies and laughing as I mashed out cigarette butts into the carpet all the while.
Now, far be it from me to toot my own horn, but I pride myself with being an extremely clean person. I'm the kind of guy who wipes his feet before walking in a building, wipes down the table after eating, wipes down the bathroom counter after their hygiene ritual- and you know those little splatter marks that sometimes wind up on the mirror when you brush your teeth? I clean those, too. Just like I did in that hotel room- just like I do everywhere I go. This woman saw me as an easy target to swindle that would soon be far away, with no recourse to reclaim the money that she stole from me. I'm disputing the charges with my bank, but am also being told that people who try to get their money back in these sort of scenarios rarely have any success.
In closing I would just say that I'd definitely NOT recommend staying at this hotel to ANYONE. Even if you're a non-smoker, if you're unfortunate to have someone pass by and flick ashes somewhere near your hotel room door- that's another $150.00. In addition to that, you'd know that you were staying in a place run by a no-good, lying, thieving, low class human being. My advice- STAY AWAY!!!
An interesting side note- Mt Airy is the place that the fictional town Mayberry (the setting for the Andy Griffith Show) was based upon. I'm confident that Mr. Griffith (God rest his soul) would NOT approve of the behavior shown by the management of this hotel. I wish he was around to call, I'll bet he'd come round the Bryson Inn and make Christy O'Neill see the error of her ways! Shame on you, Bryson Inn!!!