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Monday, July 4, 2011

Hotel Commentary: La Quinta Inn & Suites (Clovis, N.M., and Denver, Colo.)

I have had occasion in the past few months to stay at two separate La Quinta Inns. Each, in its own way, was somewhat of a disappointment.

Back in March, I stayed at the one in Clovis, New Mexico (4521 North Prince St., Clovis, NM 88101). While the room was clean and quiet, the breakfast left a lot to be desired. I am not referring to the quality of the food, because there was very little offered even though we arrived only 30 minutes after the start time. The waffle machine was covered in burned and encrusted batter and there were no muffins, no bagels, and no fruit. I decided to have a bowl of cereal only to discover, once it was in my bowl, that there was no milk either! We finally gave up and went up to get our suitcases. Once we got out to the car, I grabbed my commuter mug and took it back inside to get some coffee for the road … and discovered that the coffee urn was also empty. Once we returned home, I completed their evaluation and received a message almost immediately apologizing and indicating that I would be given extra La Quinta Returns points. But, not only did I not receive the promised extra points, they didn’t give me any points for the stay!

Last week, I spent four nights at a La Quinta near Denver (La Quinta Inn & Suites Denver Tech Center, 7077 South Clinton St., Greenwood Village, CO 80112). This place was simply not very clean. On the first day, we returned after 6 p.m. to find that our room had not been touched. The maids had come in and left a stack of clean towels and some soap and shampoo but had not made up the beds or vacuumed. We called the front desk and they curtly informed us that the cleaning staff was gone for the day and that their check sheet indicated that the room had been cleaned. We actually sought out the maids each day and asked them to please clean our room. Two of the four nights of our stay, we only received three towels even thought there were four registered in the room. And clearly, the maids only did a superficial clean even between guests, as indicated by the dried urine pooled on the bottom of the toilet and floor when we checked in that never disappeared during our stay.

Needless to say, I won’t be giving La Quinta another chance.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Restaurant Commentary: Casa Bonita (Denver, Colorado)

I was actually stunned to see Casa Bonita’s webpage describe their food as “mouth-watering.” I was in Denver last week with my two daughters and grandson. My daughter had read about the restaurant in a Frommer’s guide and, even though I read online that the food was not particularly good, we gave it a shot.

I cannot imagine why anyone would ever go back there. From the onset, it was a most unpleasant experience, with long winding lines waiting to get in, a sign indicating everyone over the age of two must buy a meal, a limited, overpriced menu selection, and needing to pick up meals on plastic cafeteria trays and then having to tote them thru the entire restaurant to your seats.

Then there was the food. Ugh! Honestly, Taco Bell would be embarrassed to serve food that bad. Even the chips and salsa — which we had to ask for — were terrible. No one at our table was able to eat more than a few bites. The only things actually edible were the sopaipillas.

All of this might have been more bearable, had the “entertainment” not been just as bad as the food. The gorilla show, gun fight, and diving demonstration were at best cheesy, with bad costumes and even worse acting.

On top of everything else, the restaurant is located in a seedy and dangerous-looking part of town that we were uncomfortable being in after dark.

I fully understand that this place is intended to be fun and entertaining for children but, with just a little effort, they could vastly improve the food quality, taste, and presentation. I guess since the place was packed on a Thursday night they think they don’t have to but I believe they do. Save your money, or take it to Chucky Cheese. The kids won’t know the difference and you won’t feel completely screwed.