Can this trip be saved? Bedbugs in my hotel room (and bad service — really bad service)

I am writing to describe the most horrible hotel stay I have ever endured in any hotel in my life,” the note began.

Well, that’s one way to get your attention.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight. Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

The email, sent to the Comfort Inn Conference Center in Richmond, Va., detailed an unpleasant stay from start to finish. But let’s not bury the lede, as they say in journalism: The worst part, says Cricket Moore, was the discovery of a bedbug between her sheets.

She scooped up the insect, took a picture and brought it to the front desk.

“I was dumbfounded to discover that the hotel either had no procedures or had not trained its personnel how to handle a situation like this,” she says.

Before I get to the hotel’s efforts at resolving her bug problem, let’s put the issue in a little context. From the moment Moore arrived, she had trouble with her accommodations.

I was not so happy when I entered the room. I discovered heavy dust inside the TV cabinet, a radio that made loud crackling noises when I walked in front of it, a desk lamp missing a bulb, a toilet paper holder with no stick to hold the paper, a constantly running toilet, both black and orange mold in the corners of the bathtub, and a lavatory faucet that could not settle on either hot or cold water at any setting.

The sofa was stained and the blanket was dirty and pilled. I removed the comforter as soon as I entered the room.

Efforts to persuade the hotel to address some of these issues were to no avail. One request, in particular, was turned down flat – she asked for new sheets and towels with which to line the drawers, so she wouldn’t have to expose her clothes to the dusty dresser drawers.

“I was told that I’d asked for too many linens and that they do not triple sheet,” she says.

What followed was a sequence of events worthy of a Fawlty Towers episode, with Moore asking for one thing and the hotel either unable or unwilling to deliver it.

When she left, the hotel handed her a bill for the full amount — $293.

Since then, Moore has been in touch with the hotel’s owners, the Richmond City District and the Virginia Department of Health. She believes she shouldn’t have to pay $293 for an unclean, bedbug-infested hotel room.

I agree.

Did Comfort Inn do its to address the issues she experienced, or not? I’m sure the property would argue that it did.

But should it refund the entire $293? That might be asking for a little too much, as far as the hotel is concerned.

Moore doesn’t just want her money back. She’s also asking Comfort Inn to refund her entire group as well, to the tune of $1,300.

The list of things making their stay less than comfortable is too long to categorize, but includes insufficient linens, lack of paper products (even when team members went to the front desk to ask for replacements), less-than-cordial treatment by staff, humming noises in the rooms, lack of housekeeping services.

Hmm. Could any hotel be that bad?

I wasn’t there. But reviewing the entire grievance, including a request to refund $1,593 – I’m just not sure.

Update (6/1): I contacted Comfort Inn, and it apologized and refunded the $293.

(Photo: tsm all/Flickr Creative Commons)