Thelma and Louise (names changed to protect the guilty) headed out recently on their Epic Road Trip from the DC area to Charleston and Savannah in a VW Jetta Wagon. No convertible, no souped up car, no music blaring forth but still, lots of fun. Lots of logistics were involved…how long would we stay in each city, which city first, which hotels, whose car, etc. With all those decided we thought we were ready to go until I noticed I had booked hotels in the same city for different nights and one of those bookings was non-refundable. Oops. I quickly went to the hotel booking site and cancelled and then quickly found a hotel for the correct dates in the correct city.
Before we got on the interstate, we had to go by our local bakery for some freshly made doughnuts – every girl needs a snack for the road. About two hours from home, we hit a traffic backup. Seemed we went very slowly for about 6 miles and then…..nothing. As we were passing through Fort Mill, South Carolina we saw a sign for Blue Rose Pottery. Since we hadn’t stopped in about 30 minutes, we felt like we needed to stop and stretch our legs, or so we told ourselves that we did. It looked like nothing on the outside but inside….it was Polish Pottery. I felt like I hit a gold mine. We probably spent about 45 minutes looking at the many different patterns. I ended up purchasing two bowls and the knowledge of where to stop off I-77 when I need to “stretch my legs”.
Our plan was to go to Charleston first for three nights. We knew that we wanted to stay in the historic district and that it would be pricier than staying outside and then driving in. We also thought it would give us more flexibility in case we wanted to come back to our room at the hotel. In looking at the charges, we saw that staying Saturday night would cost us over $300 and then it would drop for Sunday and Monday nights. We REALLY didn’t need to stay in Charleston for that price. We knew that on Sunday we wanted to visit a plantation north of the city. We quickly changed our reservation, again, to reflect only two nights. In its place, we made a reservation at a Holiday Inn Express in Summerville, South Carolina, about 20 miles north of Charleston.
I hate to be picky but there were a lot of little things wrong with our room and I did all that I could to remedy it while I was there. We checked in around 5 PM and took the elevator to our floor. As soon as we got out of the elevator there was constant barking and it was about 4 doors down from our room. I personally like dogs but I do not like barking dogs in a hotel room. We walked into our room and about 4 steps in from the door was a large RollAway bed. We couldn’t get around it very well because of where it was and how large it was. I put my luggage down and went to the desk to see if we could have another room. The person working the desk tried calling the room where the barking dog was and there was no answer which is against Holiday Inn’s rules. Apparently you cannot leave a dog unattended, which really isn’t realistic since you most times go out to eat dinner. I was worried about the dog’s barking and how long it would bark. I asked if we could have another room and they said that they were fully booked up. I knew that they were full but was I REALLY the last person to check in…I don’t think so. About half and hour later someone came to get the RollAway bed out of our room. We went to dinner. Came home and found our room hot and stuffy. No matter how low I turned the thermostat or high high I turned the fan, it remained the same speed and temperature. When we went to use the bathroom, we discovered that the wastepaper basket hadn’t been emptied from the previous guest and it was quite full…YUCK! The next morning I again went to the desk to complain about the night (barking dog was not a problem) and they offered me $25 off my $139 room. Hmm, that was not sufficient for a poor night’s sleep. She asked what I wanted and I asked points. She told me to “name my price” and I suggested 25,000 knowing that it would be too much but it would give us a place to begin talking about compensation. This young woman wrote “Guest DEMANDS 25,000”. I objected to that word since I had been very nice (even my friend will say I was nice and polite). Nevertheless we left with no firm offer. In fact, they never called until I received a survey online and I reiterated everything that I had told them at the hotel in person. I ended up with the guarantee that next time I check in we’ll have it personally inspected by the manager and that the night will be on them. She indicated that I “might” find some points in my account to help offset the problems that we had in our room.
Summerville has a charming historic downtown area. Apparently it is the birthplace of Sweet Tea, the elixir of southern women. There is a Sweet Tea Trolley Trail – and if we had more time, we would have gladly taken the tour. I realize that I would like to stop in this city again particularly when the prices for a hotel in Charleston were so high.
Next up – Middleton Plantation