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It’s the same old, same old….

February 15, 2021


10:30 AM – I am all packed up, cannot wait to leave. I would have stayed quite a bit longer, however, that hotel turned out to be a hell-hole and I deserve way better – don’t we all? Let’s go to the facts:

I called the CFI phone number and explained to the lady on the other side I needed her to stay with me while I picked up my luggage and brought it to my car in the parking lot. She agreed. I went downstairs to pick up one of those luggage carts. The woman at the reception who came across as a gang member asked me if I were checking out. I said I was.

As I dragged the heavy cart in the hallway while talking to the lady, a large, out of shape middle aged man opened the door to his room and immediately closed it. As I passed by his room, he threw something onto his door so I would hear. The more noise you make the more I want to vomit. It is a gut reaction I will not apologize for.

After placing all my luggage in my car in the fastest manner possible, I realized I had left a shawl in the room. I told the gang woman and she said she needed to walk me to my room. I followed her and when we opened the door, the stinky smell of overly processed foods prepared in unhealthy oils was overwhelming. I retrieved my shawl and we left. Downstairs, the gang woman ran downstairs and disappeared. Within a minute or two, as I removed the snow and ice from my windshield, someone – not sure if that was a man or woman – started to shovel snow making a lot of noise. That vomit feeling again…

Time to leave – yuppieeeee! 

Now, a review of this Extended Stay America hotel in Urbandale, IA. The rooms are more like apartments with a small kitchen and they are designed for long term stays. 

After staying for a week, I decided that I could handle the creeps. I went to Walmart and bought a small stick vacuum cleaner. When I used it on the carpet, I was so surprised by the amount of dust it collected that I took pictures. The carpet was so filthy that after vacuuming it, the whole room smelled better.

There was a “torturing” noise caused by a toilet flap that needed to be replaced, I recorded it.The toilet was also leaking small amounts of water on an almost daily basis. I did not complain because I knew if I did, I would be sent a dark soul I would rather not interact with, so I found creative ways of co-living with the torturing noise..

The heater in my room did not heat all that well considering we were in the height of winter. Luckily for me, I have a portable one. Combined, I was able to be comfortable.

The construction is old and there were a lot of cracking noises. There would be no privacy if I opened the curtains, so for three weeks, I opened them once! 

The first time I renewed my stay, the gang chief who identified herself as the general manager ordered me downstairs immediately to update my keys. I knew that was a bogus excused, I learned from another manager I could update my keys at my convenience. On the way downstairs, a huge man with an even bigger backpack passed by me. My intuition screamed: “dark soul.”  I went downstairs and updated the keys. I ran back to my room.

I was to leave and had considered – better yet, my intuition told me not to renew for one more week but I got afraid of the inclement weather. I am not used to driving in the snow or icy roads and I was right in that. In hindsight, I should simply have moved to another hotel. Again, it wouldn’t have been better but I could tell myself I tried.

So, in the morning I had yet to let the hotel know what I would be doing, I got a phone call from the “general manager.” She wanted me to move my car. She said she had a crew cleaning the snow. When I got downstairs, first, there wasn’t snow enough around my car to require me to move it. Secondly, there was only one other place I could park and that was near an SUV that had just conveniently parked next to the spot. My intuition screamed “black soul!” I returned to my room. It was then a Thursday. The noises of throwing things on my walls and doors intensified. On Saturday afternoon I went grocery shopping. Upon returning, I met a new lady at the reception. Her name was Angie and she said she was Savannah’s (one of the managers) mother. I told her I had not found green onions in two different stores and was surprised about it. I asked her for kitchen towels, toilet paper and toiletries. She told me that I could ask her for ANYTHING.

Back to my hotel room, I barricaded myself inside. A nut job started pacing in the hall. Not only did I document everything I spent hours texting to Jenni at the CFI center. It is all here.

Around 10:50 AM I got to the Nissan dealership in Irondale, IA. Creepy place, not one bit different from everything that is going on everywhere else. Cars with loud engines passing by, lots of noisy efforts to get my attention. I pretended I did not notice anything and once, I asked to use the restroom. Inside the car, I meditated, listened to positive messages on Youtube and took my mind to a more pleasant, enjoyable place.

I was ready to go to my next destination. On the way to Mason City, almost one hour past Ames, Google Maps instructed me to get a detour. For quite a few minutes, in spite of the wind and blizzard warnings, it seemed I was going to make it. Then, my computer gave the warning of slippery road and I immediately lost control of the car. I fell into a ditch of snow. My car has emergency buttons and roadside assistance. I talked to the first, who said I really needed to call the second. I seemed all was going well when roadside assistance called me to let me know there was a tow ban.

The strangest thing that happened was that roadside assistance, concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get out of that place, they called an officer. When he came, he drove by my car and stopped a quarter of a mile away. It seemed he was communicating with maybe the gang. He eventually returned but decided to help the other car that had lost control of their car one minute after I lost control of mine but in their case, only the front wheels had fallen into the ditch. The officer seemed almost trying to avoid me? It was weird. Finally, the aunt of the van’s driver came to pick him up and I was offered a ride to a hotel where the couple was staying.

I did not have any other option but to stay at the Grand Hotel. I told Christina at the reception I wanted a quiet room, near a camera and near the elevators, without connections to any other rooms to which she replied none of them had. Even after I specifically told her I wanted to stay in a quiet, clean and safe room and that’s ALL I wanted, there were still weird noises coming from the living room walls and then from the vent in the bedroom. I was just so tired that I fell asleep on the couch for an hour or so. Later, after a shower, I listened to a meditation online and fell asleep to the sound of relaxation music. Expensive hotel for the hellish atmosphere…I would not recommend it to ANYONE!

I woke up with a phone call from the sheriff telling me the tow ban had been lifted and I should then start making arrangements to get my car back.

My reply-review about staying at the GrandStay Hotel & Suites Ames, IA

1606 South Kellogg Ave

Ames, IA 50010

I was stressed out due to the accident, I was hungry – my last meal had happened at 8 that morning and I was worried. As I told Christine, the staff member who did my check-in, I needed a clean, quiet and safe place for the night. I paid what was asked of me. However, as I walked into your lobby,  there was an older man who looked at me with an expression of a predator who had just identified the ideal prey. In my room, I turned up the heater and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up to what sounded like scratchy noises on the wall, coming from the other room next to mine. I took a shower and headed to the bedroom where more noises seemed to be coming from the vent. I told a friend about it and he said had he been in my place, he would have shot the vent a couple of times…. Luckily for me, I fell asleep fast. When I woke up, I soon received a call from the sheriff telling me the tow ban had been lifted and then I kept the rest of the morning on the phone with roadside assistance and the tow truck company. Some  suspicious noises kept on going but I did not want to or could pay attention to them. I can honestly say that my stay at your hotel was rather UNPLEASANT. The resolution is that I left and that felt great!

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