"The Hippest Hotel In Savannah"
I found this nifty looking place, with its claim of hipness, on the internet.
Don and I were planning a southeast road trip, so I booked a room, 2 months in advance. We looked forward to staying at the 1960's motel, on our third night in the old Georgia city!
A Sad Looking Parking Lot
Check in was at 3:00, but we thought we'd stop by at 1:00, just in case.
The drab weather didn't give the motel a lot of extra appeal, but I knew what was waiting inside the lobby!
The website boasted some pretty fun offerings, like complimentary popcorn, RC Colas, Moon Pies and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. As I peeked around the wall near the desk, I could see the doughnut holder was empty.
Rats. Then the desk clerk announced that our room would NOT be ready before 3. "We're doing some remodeling and things are kind of crazy..." She added, anxiously. I assured her with giddy enthusiasm. "No problem! We're just excited to have a Friday reservation! We're on a long road trip and we love staying at retro places like this!"
Back at 3:30
Don and I killed a couple cold, drizzly hours and returned. There were 2 young women at the desk, teaming up to share the grim news that their furniture delivery hadn't come in and they didn't have a room to accommodate us.
I gasped and sputtered and carried on. I didn't care that they'd booked us a night at the "Historic B" or that they were giving us a voucher for a future night's stay. I just refused to believe I was not going to have my night in this fun and funky motel. I was going to be their most fun guest, eating up all the silliness and blogging about it later. Nope, they did not have a spare room reserved for people who REALLY wanted to stay.
Angry and Armed
There are reasons that people like me should not be allowed to have guns. When I'm mad I start shooting and I'm sure these poor girls wondered why I was shooting photos of the office and the popcorn stand... and the Greyhound bus depot across the street.
They must have thought I was getting some kind of evidence... which I sort of was... but mostly I was just clicking my camera trigger because I felt powerless.
Calming Me With Sweets
Don wasn't silent. He reminded them that we'd paid for our room 2 months earlier and if we'd just been told about the concerns at 1:00, we could have gotten a refund and left rainy Savannah a day early.
I chimed in that I didn't care if they'd paid for our night at Historic B...whatever that was. I had paid $131.43 for a zany motel that served Krispy Kremes and Moon Pies. "Well... you can have some Moon Pies." I was told. I was still fuming, but that almost made me laugh. The nervous young woman fumbled under the counter and handed me a box of Moon Pies and two RCs. Oh brother.
Stomping Around With My Camera
We left with our sweets and a voucher, that we'll never use. Don headed to the car and I wandered past a few workmen and trucks to see just what we were missing.
The retro, white cinderblock, the colorful panels and the pansies really didn't look that awesome. Plus there was a heavy gloom hanging in the air and it wasn't all weather related.
Up For the View
I climbed the stairs that made me remember motels of my childhood. I peered in rooms with doors wide open, awaiting new carpet. The odor of cigarettes and fast food containers made me chuckle to myself.
Just moments ago I was insisting they find us a room, even if it was partially ready. Luckily I hadn't been persuasive enough. As I peered across the street at the hissing buses and the folks hanging out at the depot, I realized it would have taken more than a few Krispy Kremes to make the place feel fun and friendly.
We were refused a refund, since Thunderbird had kindly covered the room at the Historic B. Not our choice, but there were few options on a Friday. We found the place and paid the $17. parking fee.
The main door wasn't functioning, but we entered a side door, that had the same lingering cigarette odor of the motel. We stepped inside and spoke with the guy behind the desk. He'd been called by Thunderbird and was expecting us. Don chatted as he was handed the key, "Looks like the Thunderbird bit off more than they could chew, with their renovations." "Tell me about it." Our clerk snorted in response.
As we headed to the elevator, we saw a "Pardon our dust" sign and we realized the deskman's comment was not related to the Thunderbird Inn.
Sheesh. We had left one chaotic motel scene and stepped into another. The elevator seemed to be created with cardboard, Styrofoam and duct tape!
We traveled upward, just shaking our heads.
Sheets of Plastic
We headed towards our room, past a fluttering sheet of plastic. Behind the slick curtain was a railing and the soon-to-be, new lobby below.
Chemical remodeling fumes wafted up and met with the eye-stinging chlorine smells that filled the hallway. The door to an indoor pool was propped open.
Our Little Oasis
Yes, our room was dated and waiting to be remodeled, but it was a huge step up from what we could have been enduring, if they'd given us the room I demanded at the motel.
Don and I were more relieved than mad at this point. We eagerly freshened up before walking to an iconic neighborhood tavern we had just learned about.
Venting With Chalk
As we passed the temporary lobby desk, I laughed because I hadn't realized before that the clever chalkboard wall was a temporary shield for remodeling.
There was a bowl with colored chalk, available at the desk. I grabbed a piece and went to the board, to vent.
B for Beth
Don teased that I should write something about the ghastly Thunderbird. I pondered, but then noticed the words above the fat "B". I figured all I needed to do was add 3 more letters to the B and I would feel satisfied. I did and felt oddly empowered.
Don and I headed off down the street ready to have a good time. And we did. It takes a lot to really get us down when we're traveling. "I'm glad to B... The Beth & Don traveling team!"
The Thunderbird is NOT the Hippest Hotel in Savannah. I don't care how cute they might look after renovations, they handled their customers poorly.
"They" does not refer to the desk help. "They" refers to the possibly fictitious M.T., who is supposed to handle customer concerns. After a month of trying to reach him by phone and email, I give up. I will write a TripAdvisor review and warn others. Then I will try to forget this mystery man, who doesn't deserve to be in my Notable write up.
UPDATE: Yesterday I heard from the Mr. T. He apologized and offered a refund.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!