My stay at the Sheraton Ghetto

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So I’m in Miami, speaking at the Mobile Adult Congress. I arrived yesterday, stayed overnight, and then spoke today, heading home tonight, hopefully.

In the middle of all of this, I managed to find the worst Sheraton in the free world.

Now understand – I’m a huge, huge fan of any Starwood property. I’ve been a Starwood Plat for years – It’s the only chain I frequent, even though I’m a Diamond at Hyatt and a Diamond VIP at Hilton. And this isn’t bragging – it’s actually kind of a sad thing. It means my cats know my cleaning lady better than me.

So it shocked the hell out of me to have such a horrible, horrible experience at the Sheraton Miami-Mart. I suppose that anything that ends in “Mart” won’t be great, but I never assumed the two would be related. End result, though, the Quik-E-Mart would have been a better experience.

So I drive to the hotel. I get there, and look for self-parking. I just can never justify valet if self exists. “Go out of the parking lot, make two rights,” says the valet guy.

OK, that’s weird,” I think. But whatever.

I get to the self-parking area, where a man who’s much more interested in sending text messages then talking to me says, while never once looking up, “How long you staying?”

Um, one night,” I said.

Seven dollars.” He says, again, never looking up.

So it’s seven dollars to park around the corner from the hotel. That’s a nice start.

I get out of the car, and notice that it’s starting to get dark. How do I notice this? Because every (and I mean EVERY) single light in the parking lot is dead. It’s virtually pitch black.

There is not one light that works in the parking lot in the middle of nowhere. That’s lovely.

I make my way into the hotel, and check in. It’s about 7:30pm at this point. The front desk guy tells me that the Starwood Preferred lounge is open until 8pm, I can go up and have a drink. He also tells me that based on my status, I’ve been upgraded to a bigger room.

This is good.

I drop my stuff off in my room, and don’t even look around. (Had I, it’s doubtful I would have gone directly and had a drink.) I go to the lounge, and walk in.

There are two platters. One has a bunch of wilting broccoli on it, and one has little mini-pizzas. The mini-pizza tray has one little mini-pizza left, and it’s connected to the bottom of the pan by a layer of grease and fat that has to be two inches thick.

I relax, and tell myself I’ll simply fill the empty void in my life stomach with beer.

I go and look at the beer selection. I see a Corona and a Heineken. Now we’re talking.

This is the benefit of Platinum status! Yeah! Free beer! Woo-hoo! Free beer!

That, for whatever reason, is eight dollars PER BEER at this Sheraton.

So much for 107 nights at a Starwood hotel last year. That and $8 will get me a bottle of suds.

OK. Not a worry. My wallet and all that is in my room, so I’m just going to go back, get online, get work done, and get to sleep.

I go back to my room. I try to sign online. It’s 7:53.

By 8:54, I’ve given up. Wireless at the Sheraton Ghetto means connecting to the router, and not getting out. My overcooked cheeseburger from Room Service sits, half-uneaten, on my desk, mocking me. My cheeseburger could get online if it needed to. It could mold an 802.11G router from the left over french fries and small ketchup bottle, and be talking to other cheeseburgers around the world within three minutes. Me? I couldn’t connect from the Sheraton Ghetto to save my life.

Thank you, HotAir Wireless Networks. You suck ass. Seriously. But props for having NO problem taking my ten dollars. You had the problem once you TOOK my money, to then go and actually let me get online.

So at around 10pm, after working on my Blackberry for a half hour because I can’t get online, (and just shoot me in the head now, watching the end of The Biggest Loser: Couples,) I get into bed, and notice something I’d apparently missed…

The exposed wiring throughout the room.

This was lovely.

I fell asleep to the thought that there were various bored holes in the walls of my hotel room. This was about as comforting as falling asleep in a remote village knowing that Les Stroud wasn’t around to protect me, so they gave me Bear Grylls.

I was not too happy about this.

Somehow I did manage to fall asleep, and was wide awake come five am.

So I’m already up, skeeved out, and by the way, my rib is killing me, since I forgot to bring Ibuprofen with me.

The hell with it. I’ll go take a shower, and wash away this horrible experience.

You’ve got to know something about me. I LOVE my shower. My shower, quite often, is the highlight of my day. I have rituals in my shower.

Hell, this is my porn.

So you’ve gotta understand… A shower? A pretty big thing to me.

I turn on the shower, and like I do in any hotel, hang up my clothes for the day in the bathroom so the steam can unwrinkle them out.

A few minutes in, I go to step into the shower. I notice two things right away. The first being, the tub is flooding.

For whatever reason, the tub wasn’t draining. This made my shower incredibly quick, incredibly frustrating, and made me even more skeeved out than I already was, which I thought wasn’t possible.

Second, when I tried to turn the shower off, it broke.

Yeah, that little outside ring hanging off the bottom of the shower basically just came off. I had to get a towel to grip the knob to turn off the shower.

I didn’t need a towel to dry off. My rage was burning the water right off of me.

I got dressed. Never one to learn from my mistakes, I go downstairs to the lounge again, thinking that perhaps the free breakfast will be the one redeeming feature of this miserable Ghettotel experience.

It was not.

Overcooked eggs, lukewarm coffee, and a toaster that didn’t toast later, and I was out of there.

Sheraton’s response when I went downstairs and not only told them what happened, but presented them with photographic evidence?

“Well, we’ll take off your room service charge.”

So $30 off my $188.00 bill is supposed to calm me?

When the desk-person told me that she was going to rectify the situation, I honestly thought, “oh, well I won’t be able to write a blog then, because they’ll make me happy.”

Note to Sheraton: Taking off the price of an overcooked cheeseburger and two beers, does not make up for the Ghetto-non-fabulousness of this hotel.

I’m so, so, so unpleased. I know how far my blog travels. And because I’m writing this when I’m supposed to be listening to other speakers, my level of brilliance isn’t up to, say, the “Yours is a very bad hotel” powerpoint. But still, it’s made me think. Perhaps the Hilton family of hotels isn’t such a bad idea for 2008… Over a hundred nights in a hotel per year should make people perk up.

So let’s see what happens.

Hell, at this point, an all-syrup Squishee would be better than the Sheraton at where I stayed last night.

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