I Worked At A Resort Hotel, And I'll Never Forget That Nightmare

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 
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I spent the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college living above a barbecue barn on the Intracoastal Waterway with three of my best friends, getting drunk, and working at the nicest hotel in the most popular resort town in the state. As a broke college student, I was incredibly grateful for the job.


Working at a resort hotel, especially a really nice one, can really suck. Tourists from the Midwest and Canada and the rest of flyover country have driven hundreds or thousands of miles to drop huge sums of cash to laze on our beaches, drink our liquor, and visit our (slightly cheesy) tourist attractions. Because they dropped this much cash, used up their hard-earned vacation time, and traveled so far, they expect perfection.

Well, not all of them, but many (most?) of them.

The worst offenders feel like since they have dropped cash on a fancy-schmancy resort hotel, they should get whatever they want. This resort hotel is run by teenagers, by people paid minimum wage, by economically abused maids, people who are overworked and underpaid.

I worked both reservations and the front desk. Reservations was its own particular brand of suck. You would call the week before Memorial Day Weekend, The Fourth of July weekend, or some other giant festival and expect a room. There would, of course, be no rooms at the inn, or no rooms to your liking. You would scream at me and demand I fit you in somewhere. I would insist very politely that I could do nothing about this, because I literally could do nothing about it. You would continue screaming. Resort hotel: I couldn’t hang up on you. I had to keep being nice as you screamed at me.

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Then, the people who liked to scream would sometimes show up on these weekends with no reservations, lie and say they had reservations, and throw public tantrums when they didn’t get what they wanted. Pro tip: DON’T be like those people.

My friend — let’s call her Jamison — was the hotel owner’s granddaughter. He lived in the penthouse. It was the crown jewel of our entire resort hotel, and not available for guests (or anyone else). A woman called demanding the penthouse suite. Jamison calmly explained that the owner lived there and it wasn’t possible, sorry. The woman kept her on the phone forever demanding to stay in her grandfather’s (occupied) apartment and could not understand why this was unreasonable.

Then we had the schemers. You know, those bastards who lie to get a discount. No shame pulling out the AARP card, asking for a military discount, or a teacher’s discount. These are valid and well-deserved.

Shame: screaming about roaches in your 9th floor room in a lobby crowded full of guests, knowing there were no roaches. We had one woman so obnoxious we paid her, in cash, to leave. Please do not be like that woman.

You harangued us endlessly about your vacation minutiae, about everything from towels to pool conditions to fights on adjacent balconies to the inadequacy of the pool furniture to the pillows.

Our city’s famous for its drunks. Drinking is the city pastime, in fact, and it starts not with day-drinking, but with breakfast-drinking. We had to regularly listen in on calls through the PBX machine (which Jamison manned) that relayed all walkie-talkie conversation in the building. People got drunk at 10 a.m., went out to the pool, cursed around the small children in the lazy river, and had to be removed. They once pooped in said river. We always had a vision of a little turd hanging out on a yellow tube in a pair of sunglasses, just chillin’. Of course we had to shut down the lazy river, prompting a raft of misery and complaints and calls to the front desk about what monsters we were. A resort hotel shut down the goddamn lazy river. Fine, go swim in poo water. Serves you right. We were trying to save you from disease, and save ourselves from lawsuits.

Katerina Novozhilova/Reshot

For the love of god, DON’T BE LIKE THOSE FOLKS.

One woman couldn’t, or wouldn’t, work her key card. A staff member had to escort her to her room, every goddamn time she left.

A wedding had the wrong plates. Disaster.

To reach the ocean, guests had to exit through the pool area, walk down a wooden pathway, and cross a sand dune. They bitched endlessly that a luxury resort hotel would force them to engage in this indignity. It’s as if they all wanted personal fireman slides down to the beach from the fucking balconies. Of course, this would have obscured their ocean view, leading to further bitching.

And speaking of balconies, they’d climb from one to another, floors and floors and floors from the ground. They’d feed the birds, despite being asked specifically not to, who’d leave poo everywhere. Then guests would complain about the poo.

We even had folks do things like drop heads of lettuce in the toilet (this really happened) and demand discounts. This is how we learned, and I quote the head maid, that “vegetables in toilets always go to maintenance.”

This should really go without saying, but DON’T PUT FOOD IN THE TOILET.

But oh, we had our sweet revenge. Piss us off? You had paid for an ocean front room. We gave you Lobby 21, on the ocean side, but with the view obscured by a giant statue thing. “Lobby 21, buh-bye,” we’d mutter at each other. We would not offer you a refund, because hey: technical ocean view. You could see a sliver of ocean.

We were nice, of course, we had to be. And this was our only way of getting any retribution for having to take the abuse.

The people who liked to scream would sometimes show up with no reservations, lie and say they had reservations, and throw public tantrums when they didn’t get what they wanted.

You treated us like dirt. You harangued us endlessly about your vacation minutiae, about everything from towels to pool conditions to fights on adjacent balconies to the inadequacy of the pool furniture to the pillows to the mice in the room (there were no mice). You’d try to pay us with maxed-out credit cards — several of them, and be furious our machine declined them. You’d bitch that your maid was “not white.”

People are often looking for perfection a staff can’t deliver. No one can deliver it. So calm your tits. Shit happens. Don’t call the front desk and ask us for a weather report when we’ve been in a windowless box all day and you have an oceanfront balcony. Don’t bitch about the rain and the heat to us. We are not god and cannot control the weather and no, we will not give you a refund for it.

We’ll give you lobby 21. Buh-bye.

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