Destination: Flagstaff, AZ

Jan. 20, 2011

Awoke to a dusting of snow on my car in Tucumcari. Yikes! As usual, I had parked right outside my hotel window and when I peeked out to check on my car, it was covered with light snow as was the whole area. This really surprised me because it had been 68 degrees when I arrived yesterday. Luckily, I wasn’t too freaked out by the snow (having just come from Atlanta, the snow city) but it did make me wonder about the drive ahead. I really hoped I didn’t run into a real snow storm.

The new desk clerk, a round fellow with white whiskers who looked like he just rode in on his horse, assured me that the snow dusting was normal and there was no snow in the coming forecast. I was blessed with perfect weather every day of my 7-day adventure.

The drive from Tucumcari to Flagstaff was long, but beautiful. The landscape has finally changed into the typical western rocks and hills. I just look and look and look, and then look some more having never seen such things.

Finding the hotel in Flagstaff was hard because: 1) I was exhausted from so much driving and looking, and 2) the sun was directly in my eyes. Yes, I’m heading West and the sun sets in the West, and the sun out here in the West is much more intense than it is in the East, I’m learning. Plus, Flagstaff has a lot of traffic at 5 pm when I arrived. This hotel was definitely off the beaten path. When I finally found it, again, I wasn’t sure if it was open for business. This Hampton Inn had some serious renovation going on and was surrounded by cranes, scaffolding, and a huge ditch that you had to precariously cross on a handmade wooden bridge. WTF? Not only that, but clearly it had recently snowed heavily here; there were piles of dirty snow on every corner.

I’ll skip straight to the hotel review because this place sucked.

Hotel Review: Hampton Inn, Flagstaff, AZ

Right away the clerk asked me how early I planned to get up in the morning, because that would determine where my hotel room would be. They started construction later on one side of the hotel, “to inconvenience the guests less.” Bad sign. So I picked the side where construction started later, only I guess that was the side of the hotel that hadn’t been renovated in a hundred years. The room was small and crowded. By far the worst bed (totally soft) and pillows (completely flat) of my trip. The sheets and bedspread were just scary. My room was also right outside the elevator so I heard everyone going up and down. I never did locate the ice machine in this hotel. It did have a decent fitness center and an awesome heated pool; but again, no swimsuit. I decided to take a bath to make me feel better, but the water was only tepid; it never got hot. So I had a lukewarm bath that only made me feel worse.

The construction noise didn’t bother me, but the small room heater banged and whistled so much that I finally got up and turned it off. This was a standard Hampton Inn room heater but it really did not work. If I hadn’t been so tired I would have asked to move my room. But I was really feeling bad and nauseous, like maybe I was catching something. So then it got cold in the room, because Flagstaff at night is COLD. I didn’t sleep well for the first time.

Breakfast was big and spread out, but not very good. The eggs were too salty to eat and the bread for toast was stale. While I was having breakfast, a big screen TV in the room announced that it was 15 degrees in Flagstaff. “15 degrees!” I said out loud. The breakfast room was full of business types in suits with briefcases, ready to head out for a meeting.

For all this inconvenience, there were no perks. I would expect the hotel to do something to compensate guests during this kind of construction. Oh well, I won’t be back.

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