Sterling Resorts - Disgusting Room
My wife and I booked a room through hotels.com at a Sterling Resorts Splash in Florida — 17698 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413. When we arrived at the front desk on March the 12th of 2015, we were told that the room is being cleaned. And we were asked to wait. We waited for around an hour. What the janitors did for an hour is still a mystery to us, because when we first walked into our room it smelled like a greasy machinery shed that a farmer had used over the years. There was absolutely no sign that the room had any recent cleanings. Apparently (according to other reviews) there are several guests that end up in HORRIBLE rooms and it turns out to simply be an “oops they got screwed” kind of deal to Sterling Resorts — in other words, some guests have to take the room regardless of the condition it’s in and Sterling Resorts doesn’t care as long as they get their money. It was our first and last stay at Sterling Resorts because of how they DIDN’T handle this situation.
1. When we first walked in the door there was the awful old greasy machinery shed kind of smell. And the carpet on the floor had lots of dark stained spots on it. We were not able to walk without shoes / flip flops during the entire vacation because of how the carpet felt on our bare feet. Stains would have been fine, but it felt as disgusting as it appeared.
2. We made our way into the bedroom where we found what appeared to be pubic hair on the bed. (I didn’t get a picture of the hair in the bed because my wife removed the sheets before I could get one).
3. Last stop was the bathroom… there were hair everywhere in the bathroom. On the sink and on the floor.
AT THIS POINT WE WERE CERTAIN THE ROOM WAS NOT CLEANED. WE WENT TO THE NEAREST WINN DIXIE AND GOT CLEANING SUPPLIES AND SPENT A COUPLE HOURS CLEANING THE ENTIRE ROOM FROM FRONT TO BACK.
In the details of the cleaning process we found…
4. The bathtub was coated with a dark residue. The disgusting part is that it was easy to clean. (The house keepers simply didn’t clean it). Easy to clean… simply rubbing against it with a wet finger removed the residue… means it would have become part of our bath water if we hadn’t cleaned it.
5. The bathtub drain was clogged.
6. The door handle to the balcony was broken and wouldn’t lock. We slept behind an unlocked balcony door.
7. The handle on the laundry machine was broken.
8. The iron was coated with some kind of brown grime. We couldn’t use it to iron our clothes.
9. The TV/DVD player didn’t work and had to be replaced.
10. Everything in the room was old. That would have been fine, but things didn’t work.
11. We got sheets and covered the couches with them for the entire stay. Considering what was on the floors and everywhere else… we didn’t want to take any chances on what might be on the couches.
12. All the dishes needed to be washed.
13. And the people in the room below us smoked as we were on the balcony trying to enjoy our morning. It was so bad we had to go inside for a while.
Why not just go home… you can’t really do that when you have two children with you that have been waiting for the vacation for weeks and all their friends are just a few miles down the road having fun. And the kid’s room wasn’t too bad. We asked for another suite, but were told there were no others available — 1902E was our only option. We spent around two hard hours cleaning the entire suite. It’s not something you expect to do when you spend this kind of money for a vacation.
We put in our complaints and a manager called us on the last day of our vacation and told us she would investigate the situation and call us back. She offered a refund for the cleaning fees. The refund would have been in the form of a gift card to their resort. We were and are not interested in coming / going back to Sterling Resorts Splash so we didn’t take the refund. It would have been useless. No one in their right mind would take a refund that requires them to come back to where they had the most horrible vacation experience. We would certainly not have paid for this kind of room if we had known the conditions.
We were told that the other rooms were not like the one in which we stayed in. That is certainly believable because if the other rooms were no better than ours, most people would have left unless they were in the same situation as we were — with kids and no money. We definitely learned that these people don’t know how to correct a wrong.
The manager did not call us back. We had to call her. When we eventually got in touch with her, she explained that it was determined that the room was not in bad shape. SHE WAS CORRECT BECAUSE: WE SPENT TWO HOURS CLEANING THE ENTIRE SUITE WITH TOWELS AND CLEANING SUPPLIES THAT WE PAID FOR WITH OUR OWN MONEY AND LABOR. That was the time we were supposed to have for relaxing after our long eight hour drive from Nashville, Tennessee to Panama City Beach, Florida. We CERTAINLY left the room in a MUCH cleaner and livable condition than we found it. So… of course… she didn’t find it dirty. She didn’t sound dumb, but her elevator apparently doesn’t make it to the top. (Which reminds me… we got stuck on the elevator on the 17th floor. People were using the stairs because the elevators kept getting stuck. They eventually shut them off).
Around a month or so later we called again to see if they were going to refund anything and they wouldn’t respond. (We are not the kind of people that let this kind of thing go until a wrong is made right at some level). We eventually got online and found email addresses and sent pictures to them that we took before we cleaned/as we were cleaning. The email address was for the wrong manager, but she agreed that the condition of the room was unacceptable and gave us the email addresses to the correct managers. Supposedly she also forwarded the pictures and emails to the HOA. At least she knew this was a problem that needed to be settled. However, the manager for room 1902E eventually called me to inform me that there would NOT be any refund / compensation of any kind. She said sorry it was a bad experience and hung up. Again, she seemed to be a sound minded person, but her elevator is still not repaired. She had a very careless attitude. Not sure why she even called.
If you are looking for a vacation, don’t let convenience and a name called Sterling Resorts Splash fool you… they are by the ocean… but you might not want to clean a disgusting room during your vacation.
Reason of review: Horrible management, disgusting room.
Monetary Loss: $1500.
Preferred solution: Full refund.