I’m not going to review my most recent hotel stay (the Fairfield Inn in Holland, Michigan) since a chain hotel in a small town is even more generic than usual. However, events there prompted me to write this post on hotel etiquette, namely where children are concerned.
I’m not a parent and don’t pretend to know the first thing about parenting or what it’s like to be one. However, I have taken care of enough children in my life, ranging in ages from infant to pre-teen, to know what is good behavior and what is “what the bleep is wrong with your behavior.” I feel the latter is the case more and more; many parents in today’s society don’t seem to actually parent anymore. More and more parents appeared to have “checked out”which is such a dismal outlook for the future.
We stayed for three nights at the Fairfield Inn. Our first night there was fine, no drama whatsoever. Our second night, there was definitely more noise than the first, always coming from the hallway. On the day before we left, the breakfast area was overwhelmed with an extremely large group, comprising adults and a gaggle of children, all of whom appeared to be under the age of 10. To say the children (and to a lesser degree the adults) were obnoxious and rude was an understatement. The children were constantly racing up and down from their seats to the food area, all while the adults were just doing their own thing, drinking their coffee, not caring whatsoever that their children were behaving abysmally.
When we went back to our room after breakfast, we discovered that the ill-behaved children were staying on our floor (of course this was our luck in a three floor hotel). We also discovered that the children liked to run up and down the halls. It wasn’t until later that I surmised that some of them were located on one side of the hotel, whereas the rest were on the other side. And during all of this running and loud carrying on, the adults were nowhere to be found, presumably still down at breakfast relaxing while their horrible children ran wild.
Our last night at the hotel was a nightmare. As we had spent a good deal of the day in the sun and hiking when at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, I was tired. I went to bed about 10:30 PM. It wasn’t very late but nor was it three in the afternoon. Although I started to doze off I was rudely awakened by the sounds of running and I kid you not, screaming in the halls. I couldn’t believe that such unimaginably poor behavior was occurring. This continued for 10 minutes until I got out of bed, wanting to rip open the door and start screaming at them. I felt that as a paying guest I had every right to, but nor did I want to cause a scene so from inside the confines of my room I yelled quite loudly “shut up” and forcefully pounded my hand on the door as I shouted those words. I then went straight to the phone where I dialed the front desk to report them. I’m not sure if the woman working had received earlier complaints (I don’t see how anyone else on that floor would not have heard and reported it) but within a second of me finishing speaking, she immediately said “I’ll be right up.” D had stayed at the door looking out into the hallway through the peephole and said that as the children were walking by with an adult they pointed to our door, I’m sure to say along the lines of “that’s where the people screamed at us.” A part of me wished the adult had knocked on our door for then the metaphorical gloves would have come off. While I am not a confrontational person by any means, this was an instance where my patience was tested and my blood boiled. For one adult, let alone a group think that having your children run screaming up and down a public hallway, at night no less is beyond appalling. It just makes me wonder-when do these adults actually discipline their children? Only when they are being bothered and disturbed?
For those of you who are parents and actually parent your children while at hotels, thank you. You actually know the meaning of the word polite and what good manners are. For those of you with children who don’t give a damn about how your child behaves while at a hotel, you’re a really crappy human being. You have a house for you and your children to be obnoxious in. Your house is your space so yes, run screaming up and down hallways if you want, it’s your prerogative. But when you go to a hotel, you are not the only guests there. Other people paid to stay there too and should never have to put up with such disrespectful behavior. A child acts his age but an adult should know better. Set a better example the next time or any time really.
With that said, bed and breakfasts and any lodging establishments that do not admit children are looking more and more favorable to me these days.
In closing about the Holland Fairfield Inn-between these people and the fact that on our last day there it was 4 PM and our room had still not been made up (I finally just put the trash in the hall and asked for new towels even though we had been gone earlier in the day for 4+ hours), I’ve had much better stays at other Marriotts.