- "We've stayed at this hotel various times and they don't disappoint - very clean and nice friendly staff always willing to assist any way possible." in 6 reviews
Firstly, I will say that they are a great option for long term hotel stays if you are not in a place to rent an apartment or home. All locations have free laundry, on site gyms, patios, and business centers (generally just one small desktop by the front desk). It's by no means fancy or upscale or even mid-range for that matter, but if you go through the Sales Director and receive long term rates, it's a solid option long term.
That being said... If you do stay here, make sure it IS long term. There are much better short term options out there. The only reason I would recommend it for long term stays is that it can essentially work as an apartment where your utilities are already included in the rent (ONLY do this if it's extremely discounted- their managers and sales teams CAN discount as low as $30/night without tax if you stay for 30+ nights). Short term stayers, go elsewhere. Trust me.
Candlewoods are small so the linens and towels are all washed, folded, and stored in a tiny space behind the front office. It is FILTHY. I was genuinely disturbed on my first day when I was shown everything. The back room is essentially a storage closet with two industrial sized washers, two industrial sized dryers, and one old card table to fold everything. The trash from around the hotel is kept in this same small room and the large bins with wheels that housekeeping uses for the clean linens are the same ones they use to haul trash to the dumpster... Once a day, the bins will be "washed out," but I mean, trash was in them moments before the "clean" laundry was and it always seemed very unsanitary to me. Anyway, as an evening shift front desk representative, the laundry is a big part of your job at Candlewood. The housekeeping teams are small at these hotels so they do not have the spare time to do the laundry. That means it falls onto the front desk.
So in-between checking guests in, taking phone calls, and helping guests, the evening shift front desk representative (3pm-11pm) must complete all of the laundry. It is exhausting. That is why if you approach the desk during this shift, you will often be greeted with a sign letting you know the person is away for a moment. Another worrisome fact- The person you see at the front desk any time after 5pm is the ONLY employee on property until about 8am the following day when management, sales, housekeeping, and maintenance arrive. This always intimidated me a bit because the evening shift was mine and I was always worried something would go wrong and I'd have no idea what to do, and if often did. I was 19, a student, and had no Emergency training. I was not qualified to be the only employee for hours in an entire hotel. Once I had to evacuate everyone at 9pm on my own because pipes burst in the fitness center and the entire first floor flooded, another time I had to deal with US Marshalls and a legitimate SWAT team because the escaped South Dakota prisoner (not even kidding) was hiding in the hotel and I happened to be the lucky person to find him, and aside from that, there had to be more than 60 911 calls during my one and a half years working there- Which is not uncommon in the hospitality industry, but Candlewoods are low-level "motels" so they attract A LOT of prostitution, illegal drugs, drunks, and domestic disputes. Keep in mind there is no "training" for the front desk representatives aside from learning the IHG brand and the computer system used for checking guests in and out. They'll have you learn how to snake a drain, plunge a toilet, and use the washers and dryers, but aside from that, the front desk very much has to be quick on their feet in all of the strange and scary situations that occur at motels like Candlewoods.... On one plus side: Working here actually got me out of a couple speeding tickets because I got to know the police officers so well from working the desk that they let me off with warnings any time I got pulled over for speeding in that area (for whatever reason, I unintentionally speed A LOT).
Anyway, think of a dirty fast food kitchen... that's essentially the vibe of the laundry room at Candlewoods. Dirty, small, and hot. So when you place the linens and towels that you just washed onto the shelves and table of these dirty back rooms... well they aren't so clean anymore. Trust me, I felt pretty weird having to do this. I was stranded at work one night due to a snow storm and my manager called to tell me to sleep in one of the rooms, and I legitimately couldn't do it. I ended up sleeping in my car for a few hours (and it was FREEZING outside) so that I didn't have to sleep in the hotel's bedding. I've seen and done the process myself to know that using those linens was not something I wanted to do. So in conclusion, long term stays, sure stay here if you need to, but definitely buy and wash your own laundry and do not utilize the ones the hotel provides.
*These pictures are of the "laundry room" where the hotel towels and linens are washed and stored. The large bins with the laundry in them double as the bins used for bringing trash out to the dumpster... The room is ALWAYS messy and when there is no shelf space, the "clean" laundry is stacked onto the floor. The floor was cleaned a total of zero times in all 19 months of working there.*
I am not an upset ex-employee. I put in my notice after I finished my schooling and left on good terms with my co-workers. I just wanted to give honest insight into what these hotels are like because it was unfortunately pretty terrible.
A great home away from home when traveling !
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