Open Letter to Comfort Inn Ballston

To whom it may concern:

On October 28, 2011, I and my party arrived at the Comfort Inn Ballston in Arlington, VA, in anticipation of a fun weekend attending the Marine Corps Marathon. As you’re probably aware, this is an event that is planned more than a year in advance by the attendees in order to train for the race and to enjoy the weekend’s activities surrounding it. As our party consisted of two runners and three spectators, those of us who were there to cheer on our runners brought bicycles in order to facilitate moving around the race course during marathon day. This, from numerous previous experiences attending marathons, is the most efficient and useful method for getting around and seeing our runners more than just a time or two.

However, when we arrived on Friday after a long drive from Atlanta, we were immediately confronted by management staff who informed us that we were not permitted to bring our bicycles up to the room. They offered a rack outside, or a pole in the basement, to which we might secure the bikes. This was unacceptable and after an extended verbal discussion, they allowed us to keep the bikes in the room. However, after the long drive and being briefly confronted with the possibility that we would have to change hotels because of this issue, I was very unhappy with the management staff there at the Comfort Inn. For lack of a better term, they “harshed my buzz”.

During check in, we were told that it was management policy that bikes were not permitted. If so, we were not informed during the online research and reservation process. When confronted with this fact the manager responded with, “We don’t ask every customer if they’re bringing bikes” however I now ask you if every possible piece of equipment that might be brought up to our room would be subject to discussion. Baby strollers come to mind. Or wheelchairs. You’ll see that I’m choosing items with wheels here because it is my assumption that the issue was a cleanliness one. Unfortunately, we were never given an actual reason for the arbitrary and sudden declaration of “no bikes”.

I find myself very upset by this unwelcoming attitude by the staff. If this is truly a management policy, I ask that it be very clearly stated on the website. We would have been happy to accommodate the policy by not spending our money rooming at this property.

My suggestion is to be clear by stating, “Bicyclists not welcome”.

It should be noted that the aggregate value of the bicycles we kept in our room is more than the rest of the baggage we brought. Storing them somewhere not under our eye was thus an unacceptable suggestion.

Please resolve this difficulty so that future customers are not presented with a similar problem on check in. For what it’s worth, we are Choice Privileges members and this problem has never presented itself anywhere else we’ve stayed.

William Ruhsam
Jennifer Bowie
Sharon Burdick
David Tyberg
Timothy Gallus

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