• Report:  #830

Complaint Review: Days Inn - Washington D.C. Washington, D.C.

Reported By:
- Tempe, Arizona,
Sun, October 10, 1999
Sun, October 10, 1999

Days Inn
Washington D.C., Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Why I Suggest You Stay Away from Days Inn, or

How my Family and I Had a Wonderful Vacation Despite being Held

at Gunpoint

My name is Brooks Jones. I created this site to keep what happened

to me from happening to you!

True, this is only one person's story, but if you keep reading,

you'll see--it's pretty incredible.


Part I: D.C. Here We Come!

I've been to Washington several times before. When my

mother suggested we visit our nation's capital this summer

for vacation, she also gave me the task of finding accommodations

for the trip. Because I knew the Days Inn chain was in our price

range, and because I could count on a certain level of quality, I

chose them first. [Mistake #1!]

After doing a price/features comparison on the internet, I booked

rooms at the Days Inn Gateway [Mistake #2!], mainly because they

had a free shuttle to the Union Station metro stop, which is the

tourist's cheap and fast ticket to anywhere in the surrounding

area. I also noted that they had a pool, where my nine-year-old son

could cool off after our daily sightseeing. I booked two non-

smoking rooms, one for my husband and myself, and one for my

mother, sister and aforementioned son. We arrived on Monday, July

12 and planned to depart Friday, July 16.

As soon as we had located the hotel, I was dismayed to

discover that it was a two-story structure with open halls in a not-

so-nice part of town. Of course, I

could not have known about the neighborhood from the internet, but

the hotel information I found mentioned nothing about the open

halls,which might have been a reason for me to choose another hotel.

After checking in on Monday, July 12 at 1:30 PM to rooms 247 and

246, my husband and I noted

that our tub had not been cleaned out. Also, our toilet clogged up

after one flush. We asked someone at the front desk to please send

someone up to address these concerns. One of the housekeepers

came up right away to check the tub, and a handyman worked on the

toilet with a plunger.

(Foreshadowing alert: this was the first and only time we received

prompt service at this hotel, however, as you'll see, this event

has future significance.) We left while this was going on and went

downtown to the Mall.


Part II: Give Me All Your Money

The next morning (Tuesday, July 13 at 8:10 AM) I went next

door to my mom's room to see how close they were to being

ready. I stayed in the room about ten minutes, and then went

back to our room and opened the door with my key. I was

startled to see a tall youth holding a gun behind the door who

greeted me with Give me all your money. He had my

husband and I wait in the bathroom while he went through all

our belongings looking for cash. A few minutes later, we

heard our son's voice in the room and panicked--but luckily the

robber had already left, with all our

spending cash ($150) and oddly enough, my inexpensive pocket camera

(he even took it out of its case!). After making sure that everyone

in my family was safe, my husband went immediately down to the

lobby to call the police.

I realize that this could have happened to anyone and therefore I

don't hold Days Inn responsible for the incident. However, I DO

hold the hotel responsible for the following fact: the detective

called in to investigate the crime (Thomas Austin-Braxton) told us

that when he asked about the surveillance cameras on our floor, a

hotel employee told him that the camera was not operational and no

tape was in the recorder that day. Later that same morning, my

husband had a brief conversation with Ricardo Conde, the hotel

general manager, about the tape. Mr. Conde told my husband that the

surveillance camera service was a service not provided by many of

the other hotels in the area, and that yes, there was a tape in the

camera recording at the time of the crime, the police could come

back later to pick it up, and that he didn't know where the

detective had gotten his information. Mr. Conde also said

something to my husband about possibly comping our room because

of the incident.


Part III: From Bad to Worse

Although quite shaken by the morning's events, we left the

hotel an hour and a half later (after the investigation) to go

sightseeing downtown. When we returned at approximately

7:30 PM, no one had cleaned either room, and the toilet in

our room (246) overflowed. I went down to the front desk at

8:00 PM, told them about the uncleaned rooms and the

toilet, and asked to be moved to two rooms closer to the

lobby for safety. Crystal Brown, the shift supervisor that

evening, told me repeatedly that there were no more

non-smoking rooms available. I then asked for someone to

please come up and clean the rooms and un-clog the toilet. I

was told by Karen Rivera, the head of housekeeping, that

there was nothing she could do about the cleaning because all the

cleaning staff left at 6:00 PM.

She said several times that all she could do was bring up some

fresh towels. During this exchange, Karen said several times to

Crystal that she wasn't even supposed to be working and she

couldn't wait to get out of there. At one point, when I must have

looked especially exasperated, Crystal said to me: Don't cry on me

now. Looking back on the events, I wish I had checked out of the

hotel at this point. Since I didn't, that was Mistake #3!

After a few minutes of this, Damon, the hotel handyman, came in.

Karen asked him to go up and fix our toilet. He responded Nobody

should have rented out that room. I can try to fix the toilet, but

it'll just clog up again. Something is wrong with it. Then he

asked me if it was coming up through the tub. I said Yes! and

suddenly understood why our tub wasn't clean when we checked in.

Damon did go upstairs to our room but he was unable to fix the

toilet. At that point we moved to a clean, smoking room across the

hall--257. My mother, sister and son stayed in 247, even though it

hadn't been cleaned.


Part IV: The Last Straw

The next day (Wednesday, July 14), after a blessedly uneventful

morning, we went sightseeing again, and at about 7:30 PM we came

back to the hotel. When my husband and I tried to open our door,

our keys didn't work, even though we had been issued new keys the

night before. After walking all the way back down to the lobby and

getting that straightened out, when we got back to the room and

opened the door, one look told us that again, the room hadn't been

cleaned at all, and in fact appeared completely untouched by


Even though I knew from yesterday's events that the housekeeping

staff had already left for the day, I went back down to the front

desk and informed Karen of this. She responded by pulling out the

day's housekeeping record and she then showed me on the chart where

the room had been cleaned and checked! I then asked her, since she

clearly wouldn't take my word for it, to please come up to the

room with me so she could see for herself that the room was not

clean. Karen did, and after a brief visual inspection, she said

that she hadn't been here and therefore didn't know if it was

something we did or something they did but that all she could do

was to file a complaint about the staff member who should have

cleaned the room. I responded that since she was the head of

housekeeping herself, couldn't she clean the room while we waited

across the hall in my mother's room. Karen insisted that that

wasn't possible, that she had other duties and that all she

could do was bring up some fresh towels. At this I told her that I

was pretty fed up with their hotel and its staff, and since she

represented the housekeeping staff as far as I was concerned I

expected her to clean the room. She left the room abruptly, and

never brought up any fresh towels. Knowing that it was too

late to drive around trying to find another available hotel room, I

felt like a hostage and was absolutely infuriated. I spent the rest

of the evening drafting a letter to the Days Inn CEO.

The next morning (Thursday, July 15), I decided that the only way

to resolve the situation satisfactorily would be to leave. At about

8:00 AM I went down to the front desk and told Crystal Brown that I

wanted to speak to Mr. Conde. She told me that he wasn't yet in,

and when I asked when he would be in, she laughed nervously and

said Well, he's supposed to be here at 9:00, but we usually give

him a couple of hours to get here. So he'll be here around 11. I

told her that we wanted to check out and find other accommodations.

She offered to help us do that, saying that her sister worked at

the Days Inn downtown, but my husband and I both asserted that we

didn't want to ever stay in another Days Inn and that her ssistance

wouldn't be necessary. Crystal handed us our check out summaries,

and I then said I don't expect a free room here, but I do want to

stress to you that the service that my entire family has received

here hasn't been worth a penny. She said that there was nothing

she could do about that, that the only person who could do

anything was Mr. Conde. I suggested to Crystal that she call Mr.

Conde and tell him that we would be willing to wait for him before

leaving, but only for the amount of time it would take him to get

to the hotel. She did that, and said He says that if you can wait

30 or 40 minutes, he'll be here. Since it was 8:20 by then, I

said we would wait until 9:00.

We waited in the lobby. 9:00 came and went, and at 9:05 I went up

to the front desk and announced that we were leaving. Because I

felt strongly about the poor treatment by the hotel, we left

without checking out. I told Crystal to charge my credit card for

the rooms, if that's what she felt like she had to do. Then we

drove directly to the Embassy Suites in Alexandria, which was full.

They somehow made room for us after hearing our story, and from

that point on we had a completely delightful stay.


Part V: Aftermath

After returning to our hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, I put the

finishing touches on the letter I started while in D.C.(the website

you are reading now contains almost all the text I wrote in this


I sent a copy of this letter via certified mail to the CEO of Days

Inn, Joseph R. Kane, Jr., and I also faxed a copy to the hotel,

directed to Mr. Phinvom Lim, the owner of the Days Inn Gateway. I

know someone at Mr. Kane's office received my letter, because the

receipt arrived about a a week later, although it's hard to tell

who actually signed it (see for yourself at right).I do know that

the signature on the receipt does not match the fake laser-printed

one on the form letter I later received.

I was shocked to receive no response from either the Days Inn

Gateway, or the Days Inn corporate office at all, except for a form

letter that I received the week I returned to Winston-Salem (with an

outline of the policies regarding complaints), and $15 check that

arrived in the mail the week of August 27 with no explanation. When

I called the Days Inn customer service number (1-800-441-1618) a

few days later to inquire about the check, I was told that only a

presidential representative at another office could comment about

the case (#428720), and I was given another toll-free number to

call (1-800-577-9390). After calling this number, I was told that

usually letters do go out before any compensation is sent, and that

she couldn't explain why the check was sent out first. I explained

that I did appreciate that so far, no charges had appeared on my

credit card bill, but what I really wanted was some assurance that

the poor service that my family and I had received would not happen

again, either to me, or to anyone else unlucky enough to stay at

the Days Inn Gateway.

I then asked what the $15 check was for, and I was told that the

presidential office had reviewed my case and had come up with $15

worth of compensation. No other explanation was given.

I have still not received any other correspondence from Days Inn.

About two weeks after we got back, detective assigned to our case

called to let us know that a suspect had been pprehended who fit

the description we gave after the holdup. Apparently this suspect

tred another similar holdup in the same otel, but because the

target of the holdup as armed, a struggle ensued and the suspect

ended up getting shot with his own weapon! Therefore, the detective

drove down here to Winston-Salem to show us a photo lineup. Both

my husband and myself identified the suspect in custody (from a

group of nine). While here, we asked the detective if they had, in

fact, received a surveillance tape from the hotel. He assured us

that absolutely no tape exists that contains a recording of our

holdup at the hotel on that Tuesday morning. We are in the process

of testifying against the suspect, who is connected with several

similar crimes in the D.C. area.


Part VI: Conclusion

Because I have gotten no indication that the concerns outlined here

have been addressed at all, I recommend that no one stay at the

Days Inn Gateway when visiting Washington, D.C., so that no one

else is victimized as I was(either by a holdup, or by the

deplorable service).

Because I have never gotten a response from the Days Inn corporate

office that addresses my specific concerns, I'm worried that if

something like this happens to someone else staying in another Days

Inn, that person might have to go through the same hassle I did,

only to be handed a $15 check with no explanation. I am still

convinced that absolutely no one, starting with the head of

housekeeping at the Days Inn Gateway and going all the way up to

the CEO of Days Inn, cares at all about the quality (or lack

thereof) of our stay. I believe the very least Days Inn should do

is acknowledge a certified letter directly with a personal reply,

and an offer to cover the extra hotel expenses we incurred on our

last night in Washington, which shouldn't have been necessary at


Because there are many other hotels where friendly, courteous

service, prompt attention to guest concerns, and a clean,

comfortable room are expected and can be taken for granted, I

recommend that no one stay at any Days Inn hotel. Is fifteen

dollars and a free room worth the hassle I went through?

If this story makes you as mad as it made me, e-mail Days Inn, or

call their customer service number at 1-800-441-1618. Or better

yet, just stay away from them, and help me spread the word by

forwarding the original e-mail message that led you here.

If you think I'm just a disgruntled employee, even after reading

this far and looking at my vacation pictures, e-mail me with

specific questions. Thanks for reading!

Brooks Jones

Featured Reports
Reports & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
Also a victim?
Repair Your Reputation!