My downtime today as I get ready to leave for San Francisco where I will meet with a dear friend and also indulge in some sight seeing so I decided to take the time to do the post I have mentioning about my sad stay at the Marriott and how the Sheraton was everything I wanted the Marriott to be but was not. I am a Marriott rewards member and so the loyalty obviously to them and booking stays at their properties. I have had exceptionally good experiences at every Marriott property I stayed in thus far so, needless to say, that is what I recommended to my friends when we decided to book our stay in LAX. The pictures and the facilities mentioned on the website for the Marriott on Sepulveda sounded great. It was close to the airport even though it did not offer shuttle and was an extended stay property which was good since we would get a little kitchenette with a fridge and microwave and coffee maker. Breakfast included, free wifi and a car rental desk on the premises were also mentioned. Well, get there late night and while the reception staff was nice to us even at that hour, the room we got was not the best. Opted for room on the first floor and closer to the office (the original reservation would be a room at the very end of the property which us 3 women did not want to take on) then wished we had not. The room was really small, especially after pulling out the sofa bed to accommodate all 3 of us sleeping, there really was no place to move. In fact, this was supposed to be a handicap friendly room but unsure how anybody with a handicap could maneuver around when three non-handicapped people are having trouble. The bathroom was huge - they could have really used that space instead to broaden the room itself. And yes, to be handicap friendly, it did not have a tub or stall but that resulted in the whole bathroom filling up with water every time we showered and we had to resort to using towels on the floor to soak up all that wetness. Again, not safe for a handicapped individual. And of course, the person upstairs was a nightmare - clearly did not sleep very much because their walking round was the last thing we heard trying to sleep and the first thing we heard before we even woke up in the morning. Plus, finding a spider crawling on the bed did not help. Breakfast in the morning was an eye opener - very below average selection of options, not at all organized, and certainly had nobody keeping track of who was eating. Did not know if half the people eating there were hotel guests or outsiders. The so called car rental on the premises did not exist - the Hertz that should have been there and would have allowed me to score some points because of the Marriott tie-up with the company was not really on the premises. In fact, they were also closed for the 4th. The staff at the hotel organized for some random third party car rental company for us. And the whole time that I had called and asked at the hotel I was assured I did not need to book in advance and I could just walk-up to the reception to request for a car. The rooms did not look anything close to the pictures online and certainly did not warrant the price point they were sold at. A review of the site on the Marriott website has yet to garner a response. I am unsure if this is a property that belongs to them or was recently taken over and not refurbished but I was terribly disappointed and definitely unhappy about having brought my friends here. The part that really tipped us over - we asked for a cab for our ride to the airport when we checked out and were told this was a company they used all the time. Along comes a yellow cab - late, filthy and discourteous. No apologies were given for driving in so late. The car had bags of trash in the front seat and the driver was trying to keep the windows open until we insisted the air conditioning be turned on. And he listened to and watched some program in his native language while trying to get us to the airport on time! Let's move on to the Sheraton now. Had an airport shuttle that brought me to the hotel in minutes. The room actually looked like the image online. No kitchenette but there was a coffee machine and restaurants in the lobby. Well planned and furnished room. Water in the room was complimentary which was not the case at the Marriott. They had a car rental on the premises where I was able to pick up and drop off a car every day for the 3 days I stayed there. And I was able to take the shuttle back over to the airport as well. I am going to have to do some serious background work before I plan to check into a Marriott again.
7am early morning checkouts and breakfast in a box on the go was first on the agenda. (Breakfast box had one boiled egg, one sugar croissant and one banana! Simple and sufficient!) We started driving to Trempealeau, to see Lock & Dam #6 where we watched the dam work and sailboats pass through, then Perrot State Park where we checked out the viewpoint and spoke to the park ranger, followed by the National Wildlife Refuge where we spoke to the park rangers and checked out the culmination of two types of forest land in one expanse. A visit to Elmaro Vineyards brought on a bout of wine tasting. A hurried lunch at Hungry Point Bar & Grill (where I tried fried curds) paved the way for ample fishing in Onalaska. My first time fishing so I was glad to have a few pros with me. After a long wait that drained out all my patience, accompanied by several false starts, I caught one fish! (Special thanks to travel writers Rebecca and Ed for their fishing advise). We were then all checked into different hotels at La Crosse. I luckily got a Marriott to stay in for the next two days - nice to have a coffee maker in the room. Dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant in La Crosse with just the folks from our group living at the Marriott was a fun affair. Not too crazy a day, and not much strenuous activity either. Mostly a lot of driving around so happy to get in a good night's rest before tomorrow comes around.