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happytrailstoyou Mar 27th, 2006 12:34 PM

Do You Report AAA TourBook Problems?
Has anybody had a good experience reporting TourBook problems to AAA?

Last September I spent a sleepless night in a disgusting room in the Winthrop Inn in Winthrop, WA. I reported the problem to AAA, and received letters of appreciation for my comments with assurance that the place would be investigated.

However, when I received my 2006 OR/WA TourBook yesterday, I was dismayed to find that the Winthrop Inn is now listed with comments augmented to make it sound even more appealing. Now, in boldface type are the words “free continental breakfast,” a dismal affair which, on my visit, consisted of a forlorn basket of little, half-defrosted muffins sitting on a ledge in a hallway.

On a recent visit to California, I encountered a restroom reeking of stench and filth in a AAA rated restaurant in Blythe, CA. Should I report the situation to AAA or forget it?

GoTravel Mar 27th, 2006 12:38 PM

Absolutely report this stay.

AAA is supposed to inspect all hotels once a year but I'm sure some are missed along the way.

A_Traveller Mar 27th, 2006 01:05 PM

Just a point to consider, with editorial and printing lead times necesary when publishing a guidebook for national distribution it is conceivable that the information contained in your September 2005 was received too late for inclusion in the 2006 TourBook.

Neopolitan Mar 27th, 2006 01:13 PM

You need to realize that one person's "terrible" is another's "lovely". We were sitting at a Wellesly Inn with a breakfast like you describe -- the most pathetic watery OJ, coffee that tasted like old fashioned instant Sanka, and a few miserable packaged cheap rolls. Another couple were sitting there and the woman finally said, "isn't this fabulous? I just love it when you get a great breakfast for free with your room". I laughed, then suddenly realized she wasn't making a joke. Meanwhile we stay at Springhill Suites that has a great breakfast and all we heard was a couple people complaining because you have to "make your own" waffles -- great things premeasured in paper cups you pour into an automaticly timed waffle maker. Who could complain about those on a free breakfast?

But yes, if more people took the time to inform AAA, it could make a difference.

Malesherbes Mar 27th, 2006 01:40 PM

They care, so yes, report it. They inspect certain diamond level hotels each year...certainly all 4 and 5 levels, and possibly the 3s. The remainder less frequently. They are tough, ugly and have sharp teeth. LOL Generally the hotel has no idea they (AAA inspector) are there as they come in incognito, but if they (hotels)are wise, they are always on the lookout for a guest "pattern". :) Still, usually they do their inspection undetected, then meet with the GM to discuss results. Such a fun industry!

What Neapolitan said too about one person's "terrible" being another's "lovely" is SO true, which is why when reading TripAdvisor you absolutely must read a vast number of reviews on each property then take the general consensus.

gail Mar 27th, 2006 01:51 PM

While I have no way to verify inspection of lack of bias on the part of AAA - it should be understood that it costs to be listed in their tourbooks - so while I also find them useful, they are not independent ratings of hotels or anything else.

Malesherbes Mar 27th, 2006 02:01 PM

It costs, but <i>everyone</i> listed pays so where is the bias there? There is none. There are hotels who chose not to be listed simply because they haven't gotten the rating they'd like, therefor there are perhaps some pretty good hotels who will not show up in their books...their choice though. I can't recall which now, but at least 2 older 4 or 5 star/diamond hotels in FL decided against being listed for that reason. They were both older historic hotels that could not/would not meet some of the stringent requirements for a certain diamond level, and rather than take the lower level, they dropped out. Still nice old hotels though, worthy of anyone's consideration.

traveler24 Mar 27th, 2006 02:40 PM

I've been a member for over forty-five yrs. and have used the tourbook a lot and have always been satisfied with their evaluations. Idid report a dirty, run down motel in New Orleans 2 years ago and it was not in the next tour book.
I do not know the criteria they use for listings. However, i stayed in a clean, well furnished motel in Grass Valley Ca.last year. I called AAA tourbook dept. and was told that motel (locally owned) did not meet their criteria. All they could site was &quot;too small&quot;. Of course I did not know the square feet but it did not seem &quot;small &quot; Maybe the &quot;locally: owned&quot; was the reason ????
My only comment--I wish they listed more of the &quot;medium&quot; price accommodations.

Sunnyboy Mar 27th, 2006 02:48 PM

I don't see anything wrong in reporting any problem stays to AAA but keep in mind that if they only receive one or two negative reports about a particular hotel I doubt that alone would have any affect on their rating.

Malesherbes Mar 27th, 2006 02:51 PM

Here's an interesting article on that. It also covers to some degree the problem with historic hotels I mentioned.

They are so specific...# of drawers, whether or not there is crown molding, sizes of TVs and numbers of channels received for various diamond levels. For some hotels, it's just not worth jumping through all their hoops, but most feel inclusion is worthwhile if at all possible.

happytrailstoyou Mar 27th, 2006 02:57 PM

Perhaps I should clarify.

The room I reported was large enough to hold a queen bed and a dresser, but it also had a good table with two big chairs, a refrigerator and microwave crammed into the closet, and a TV suspended for the ceiling. The furniture and carpet was worn and dirty. The bed was lumpy and hard; the box spring was stained with blood. We, and others in neighboring rooms, were kept awake all night by a repetitive sound that the managers of the hotel could locate. The “picnic area on river” was a gravel pit with one dilapidated bench. The “continental breakfast” was what I described.

AAA states that all properties listed in TourBooks meets its standards for cleanliness and comfort, and I believe the place I reported did not.

If I reported these defects too late for publication, AAA didn’t say so.

Malesherbes Mar 27th, 2006 03:15 PM

What diamond level was the Winthrop happytrailstoyou?

I was just reading another article from the tinyurl link I posted above which was talking about renovations and newer styles. Only 1 diamond hotels can have wall mounted TVs (and one would assume that would also include those hung from the ceilings!) 3 diamond must have TVs in at least an open armoire and in 4 and 5 diamonds they must be in a closed armoire. But these days, the really high end suites have plasma screen TVs mounted on the wall. That's the most upscale of the how would they deal with that? LOL

Sorry, I know the above is not dealing with your issue, but I am curious what star level that hotel is, and yes, by September I would think it'd be too late for a new inspection and inclusion in a book. I am quite sure they could not remove a hotel with just one customer's word--it would require a visit to verify conditions.

happytrailstoyou Mar 27th, 2006 05:13 PM

All motels and hotels listed in AAA TourBooks are certified to be clean and comfortable. The Winthrop Inn is a two-diamond property.

trippinkpj Mar 27th, 2006 05:22 PM

I've made reports twice in my 20 plus years as a
AAA member. They were so bad. I think they have both improved since, but were worth a call. With one it was rudeness, and with the other uncleanliness AND rudeness. I don't know which is worse!

nevermind Mar 27th, 2006 06:38 PM

I reported a problem we had with a Hyatt last winter to AAA. Hyatt corporate contacted us and even gave us a comp night in the same hotel to make things up to us. I do think AAA cares (as does Hyatt).

Neopolitan Mar 27th, 2006 07:22 PM

nevermind, are you saying that AAA sent your name and address to Hyatt regarding your complaint? I'm amazed they would do that.

Malesherbes Mar 27th, 2006 08:09 PM

AAA does not contact a hotel with guest complaints, no. Something is missing here...such as a call to Hyatt consumer affairs?

A only costs to be listed in the AAA guide with separate advertising. The normal listing costs the hotel nothing.

happytrailstoyou Mar 27th, 2006 08:44 PM

Yes, AAA lets the property know about complaints.

I received a nice letter from AAA headquawrters in Florida which included, &quot;Your comments have been forwarded to the property management as well as the Tourism Editor responsible for inspecting properties in Winthrop, WA.&quot;

I'm not surprised that Hyatt gave a comp night--that's what good places do. Needless to say, Winthrop Inn crept under its (dirty, thread bare) rug.

desertduds Mar 27th, 2006 09:13 PM

I'm still a AAA member, but, for the most part, I have used the booklets as a reference, but much prefer Best Western ratings. We have been stung, or nearly stung, numerous times with the AAA ratings, but never with Best Western. Last summer we also had great luck with Hampton Inns throughout the west, uniformly excellent.

trippinkpj Mar 27th, 2006 09:29 PM

I've been happy with Best Western also. Can't think of one I didn't like. :-)

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