My husband had some work to do in Destin, FL for a couple of days - in which case, we decided to take off together and take 2-3 extra days and turn it into a working vacation - see a few sights etc.
That's when he asked me to find a good hotel on the beach. I looked around on the internet and found the RAT-isson (Radisson Resort) in Ft. Walton, FL ... sounded great, the pictures we saw on their site were awesome, not to mention their "supposedly" great reputation ... so we booked an Ocean-View King size room (4th floor and above) - we were EXCITED to say the least !!!
We got up around 5am (ET) that morning - got both pooches ready for the kennels - and took off ... later that evening, around 9-10 hrs of driving, we arrived at the hotel. It was Saturday, November 1 approx. 7pm (CT). The hotel lobby looked OK - big and spacious.
After that long drive, we had to stand in line for over 1hr in order to check-in. They had only ONE young girl at the reception desk, to check-in a hoard of "business groups" that had arrived that same Saturday evening !!!
The young (and apparently NEW, as she told us), receptionist was courteous, helpful and greeted us with a smile and we filled out and signed all the "paperwork" involved - at that point in time when she directed us to our room - #1104 - we noticed that it was a ground-level room - we remarked that we had specifically asked for a top-floor room - she told us that there weren't many left - only a few on the 4th floor - but we had better not go into those, since she had seen them and they had dirty "beds - floors - shabby in general" ... hmmm .... should have been a red flag for us, but were too tired other than feeling obliged that she at least warned us.
We began going back and forth unloading our baggage and my husband's equipment (took forever since there was NO PARKING near our beach-front room) ... we were too busy and tired to notice the state of our $129.99 room just then ... we were also quite hungry and thirsty - so we immediately took off to checkout the bar and restaurant.
The bar looked empty - only one couple shooting pool ... we ordered 2 drinks - the barman was very friendly and gave us a few tips on the best restaurants etc. ... since we were so tired and worn out - we decided to order room service ... we ordered 2 Rib-eye Steaks and "Gumbo" (wanted to try it out).
Here's the rest of the story - to cut it short:
1) ROACH-infested: The hallway to our room had HUGE roaches crawling all over the doors, walls and floors ... My husband was STILL counting while I tried "avoiding" them by to running back into our room for "safety" (or so I thought !!! our room "entertained" hoards of roaches also !!).
2) The CARPET: It was DISGUSTING, FILTHY and worn-out ... cigarette-holes all over it ... we couldn't take our shoes off to walk barefoot.
3) The CURTAINS: One curtain panel was hanging off the curtain rail - and where the curtains connect in the center - well, both curtain panels were held together with SAFETY-PINS (helpful if your skirt or pant zipper breaks - but to hold curtains in an "exclusive" $129.99/night resort hotel room ???????)
4) The TIKI-BAR: Sorry, but never had the chance to "try" it out - it was closed "early" that evening (even their sign indicated that it should have been open for several more hours) ... on a Saturday ?????
5) The BEDSPREAD/COVER: We could have read a newspaper through it - what, with all those cigarette holes in it, and ancient state of wear !!!!
6) The PILLOWS: We had 3 WAFER-thin pillows on a King-Size bed ... oh, the pillowcases were king-size alright - but the pillows inside them ? well, they were Baby-Crib sized !!!!
7) The FURNITURE: I've seen motel 6's and motel Super-8's with better furniture ... this hotel's furniture was chipped, dirty, broken and in extremely POOR TASTE (wonder who the "famous decorator" was ?).
8) The ROACHES - again ! yes, we had a few browsing and taking a stroll around our room all night - in which case, my husband was summoned to undertake to his "husbandly duties" and take care of swiping those trespassing little critters (or as was in this case "HUGE" critters).
9) The BEACH: Great view from our room - ahhhhh ... but that's as far as it goes ... we couldn't walk on the sand to get to the beach - wayyyyyy toooooo dangerous ... specially with all those beer cans, broken beer bottles and metal beer caps that seemed to be a virtual "trash farm" in the sand !!!
10) The BATHROOM: Where's the water pressure ??? Why don't those towels dry us ??? Why are they sooooooo "thin" ???? where's those plush towels that should come with a $129.99/night room ? .... Basically, dismal water pressure, worn-out "hand towels" passed as bath towels and on down the line accordingly !!! (ONLY "decent" thing about entire room was that bathroom appeared to be somewhat recently remodeled and was thusly far more clean and less hideous than than the rest of room.)
11) The TV: probably had all of maybe 8-10 'viewable' channels - appeared to be of 'historic vintage'. Perhaps this lone 'antique decor' option quantified the room's rather high price?? *note sarcasm*
12) OVERALL: Stacked dirty dishes and trays outside some rooms - rust everywhere - dirty windows ... just ... DISMAL !
13) The RIB-EYE STEAKS: hmmmmmmm ... paid over $50.00 AND added an extra $10 tip (on top of the room-service charge of 17%), to the room-service guy who brought it for us ... THAT was the Mother of ALL INDIGNITIES, bordering upon "assault" !!!! The steaks were "covered" in onions and mushrooms - that's fine by me ... but that ALSO covers up what might not be so "fine" ... as it happens - after eating a few bites of our smothered in A-1 sauce steaks, my husband asks me to "smell" a chunk of steak he's holding out on a fork ... I oblige ... and ... I NEARLY FAINT from the "odor" !!! It was GROSS, VILE & DISGUSTING ... can you say "ROTTING DEAD ANIMAL" ? Apparently the Radisson's top steak consists of RoadKill, state of decomposition not a point of contention for the discerning kitchen staff at the RADISSON !!! In less than an hour, my husband is "not feeling well" - as in 'coming out at both ends', if you know what I mean! .... While my husband was sick, it was over in a few hours for him - But for me, it was another story - as my "luck" would have it, I was destined to spend the entire night running back and forth from the bathroom .... end result: FOOD POISONING !!!!!! ahhh, but of course - after all, this WAS the RAT-isson !!!
Needless to say, we literally RAN to check-out from that HIDEOUS & GROTESQUE "Hotel/Resort" at daybreak !!!
Also, as we were checking-out - there were 2 guests who were complaining about their rooms and were demanding they were put in other, "better" rooms ... that alone told us that WE weren't the ONLY ones having a hard time at the RAT-isson ... NO, we didn't complain OR tell them of our experience (I've sent them a letter instead) - especially after the FOOD-POISONING, we didn't have the energy to stand on our feet any more than we had to ... all we wanted was to get out of that "hell-hole" as fast as possible.
Oh yes - it's not enough that we paid high-dollar for this trash hole - we had to suffer through food poisoning !!!! Final cost for what turned out as our WORST LIVING NIGHTMARE - One Night at the RAT-isson: $268.36 for one night of misery and disbelief !!!
We scouted down the road after that and found a WONDERFUL and EXTREMELY NICE, not to mention NEW motel - the QUALITY INN .... and as far as prices go - we couldn't have asked for more reasonable room rates .... A HUGE, NEW, CLEAN, GORGEOUS King-Size room with all the "comforts" of home .... We had a pool-view (lovely lush gardens with lawns and trees) and just outside our room we had a lake with picnic benches and a gazebo ... we were given 6 PILLOWS ... the room had a round dining table with 2 chairs ... a TV that swiveled wherever you wanted to view it ... we also had a great armchair with an ottoman ... fridge/micro - and WATER PRESSURE !!! (there was also a safe in the room) ... NEW, CLEAN FURNITURE ..... all that, for a mere $55/night ... and YES - it was MORE than worth it - and because we loved our room so much, we decided to stretch our stay for a few more days.
My husband and I travel quite a lot, due to his work - and we have stayed at various Motel/Hotel chains ... depending on the area and availability at the time we've traveled - there have been nice and "not so nice" motels .... but THIS, by FAR, has been the WORST HOTEL we've ever come across. Unreasonable rates for unreasonably DINGY accommodations !
As far as this ROACH-INFESTED RAT-isson at Fort Walton, FL goes ... NEVER AGAIN !!! We were suckered once - we won't be SUCKERS again ! They may have a "reputation" - but, from our personal BAD experience - it's only a FACADE with plenty of "high-dollar advertising" - step into the "back-areas" where the rooms are located - and you'll find yourself in a different world altogether.
And here's a question for anyone who can answer it. They advertise that they spent $5 BILLION on RENOVATIONS .... uh, where might those "renovations" be ?
Columbia, South Carolina