Hey everyone, I had an experience recently that left me a little unsure whether my expectations were reasonable or I was just being a diva (not unlike our fellow traveler with the wormy salad). It’d be great to hear what your thoughts are. If you’re not interested in my vacation misadventures, feel free to skip this post!
This past weekend I was on a short trip to Palm Springs. I booked a vacation rental “place” rather than a hotel. It’s a limited-service property with about 20 rooms where you don’t get daily housekeeping, and there is a very small on-site staff.
The trade-off is that the rooms are larger (with kitchens) and nicely furnished, and there are some shared amenities like a hot tub and swimming pool.
They had listings on AirBnB, but I booked directly online through the management company, since it was a bit cheaper and their cancellation policy was more flexible. The property got great reviews online.
Fast forward to a few days ago. Immediately upon arriving, I had some trash to throw away, so I looked for the wastebasket in the room. One of the first places I looked was under the kitchen sink. I opened the cabinet and saw a large roach (who was probably just as startled as I was) crawling around.
Now, let me stop for a second and just say that I am terrified of roaches. Terrified.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I responded in a completely dignified way that definitely didn’t involve high-pitched screeching and hyperventilation. After a few moments I managed to collect myself and found the on-site management office. Nobody was there, but there was a phone number that it said to text with urgent matters.
I texted and a few minutes later a maintenance person showed up. He opened the cabinet and didn’t find the offending critter, but sprayed a bunch of Raid.
Shortly thereafter, I was able to reach a manager by phone. He explained that during this time of year, bugs are regularly coming in from the surrounding desert and seeking shelter, so this kind of thing is unavoidable and happens at every property.
He also said that they have the property regularly treated for pests. The property seemed clean and well-kept, and the room looked like it did in the online photos.
Since they were unable to find the roach, I asked the manager if it would be possible to move us to another room. He said there were no other rooms available. I told him I can’t stay in a room where there’s a bug crawling around, and also where they’ve just sprayed a bunch of chemicals. I asked if there were any other alternatives or if he would be willing to issue a partial refund.
He was nice the whole time, but also seemed a little bewildered by why I claimed I’d have trouble sleeping in that room. I explained my aversion to roaches (and also to the neurotoxins found in bug sprays).
I ended up booking a stay at the Hyatt Palm Springs (which cost a bit less than the vacation rental) and am disputing the vacation rental charge with Chase (I booked it using my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card).
I’d love to know what you all think about this situation and how you would have handled it — do you think it’s unreasonable to expect some form of compensation from the property management company, or would you expect in this situation to just eat the cost of the room (or, if you’re less terrified of roaches than I am, to just stay there)?