Where to begin......We stayed at the Staybridge Suites in Fargo for the first, and will be only, time over MLK weekend in January on a two night getaway weekend with our toddler. When in Fargo we usually stay at another hotel that is within line of sight from the Staybridge. However, on a whim we decided to check Hotwire and ended up with the Staybridge. At the time of booking we were positively thrilled. #1 rated hotel in Fargo on Trip Advisor, a suite room, fantastic looking pool in the photos on the Staybridge website - what could go wrong? We would soon find out.
Upon arrival in Fargo we confidently drove past our usual hotel and on to the Staybridge. The TripAdvisor award in the lobby confirmed our smug belief that we had truly scored with this deal. Our first inkling of disappointment was opening the door to our "suite". It was considerably smaller than many normal hotel rooms I have stayed in. The room was "U" shaped to make it feel like something other than a hotel room, but it was small. Bed was at best a small queen size, though it appeared to likely be only a full size. I guess a small stove and fridge qualify as a suite. We were put in a room right over the entrance to the hotel with a floodlight lighting up our room all night. A trip down to the pool was an even bigger disappointment. The pool pictured on the Staybridge website is **NOT** the same pool at the hotel. The website looks like a large pool area. In reality the "pool" is at best 25' x15' of extreme chlorination.
Retiring to our room in disappointment we could look out our window and see our usual place of stay in Fargo and feel the first pangs of remorse at our choice. Little did we know the worst was yet to come on Sunday morning.
Awaking a little after 9am the next morning my wife took our toddler to the "pool" for a morning dip while I headed for the shower. Turning on the water I quickly discovered that the difference between the water turned all the way to "hot" and all the way to "cold" was about the difference in the temperature of Lake Superior in September versus December. I headed downstairs to ask at the front desk if there was a problem with the hot water. At the desk the man ahead of me asked the woman with the "Manager on Duty" nametag if there was a problem with the hot water. She rather curtly replied that there was not, just that too many people were taking showers at once. The customer stated that there must be a problem as they had stayed here before and never had a lack of hot water. He was told even more sharply that there was NOT a problem with the hot water and that people needed to STOP using water to let the system catch up. The man indicated that he would follow up with management later, the "Manager on Duty" indicated indifference, and they parted ways. Watching this exchange I decided it was entirely futile to make a similar inquiry. So off I went to find the rest of my family at the "pool" and let them know that even though they were now highly chlorinated, showering was not an option.
Walking from the front desk to the "pool" area I had my first glimpse of the utter chaos that was the breakfast area. I think by my count there were a total of 12 tables in the entire breakfast area. We decided that since we were already downstairs and showing wasn't an option we might as well go to breakfast. There were far far more families in the area than tables. The food area is a small side room from the breakfast area adding to the chaos as every one milled around trying to get in or out of the food area with minimal interpersonal collisions, and then try to figure out where to sit down and eat. Most, like us, appeared to end up taking food up to the room as eating in the breakfast area clearly was not an option. Breakfast was scheduled to run until 10:30am that morning. We arrived there about 9:30am at which point the scrambled eggs and sausage were gone, one waffle iron was broken, hot cereal was gone, most remaining items were heavily picked over, and the staff looked to be on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown. (In fairness, coming back down around 10:20 more sausage had just been put out, though all other items looked the same or worse.) I overheard some remark by a breakfast staff member about not expecting that many people for breakfast that morning. How a hotel can not know the night before the number of people staying there and how many to expect at breakfast the next morning was yet another point of bafflement in our Staybridge experience.
Looking around the crowd at breakfast it was clear the vast majority of people had not had been able to shower and the universal greeting that morning at breakfast and in the hallway was, "Did you have any hot water?" It was very unclear from the unshowered condition of the breakfast crowd who the evil hot water-hogging guests were that had drained the boilers before the rest of us awoke.
Returning to our "suite" with breakfast in hand we couldn't help but notice our usual place of stay out the window in the distance. And the pangs of regret grew stronger.
Upon our return to our "suite" I again checked the shower. The temperature difference between hot and cold was now that of Lake Superior in November versus December. I walked back down to the front desk to inquire if there had been any change in the hot water status and was told quite curtly by the "Manager on Duty" that the maintenance man had been out, there was no problem with the hot water, and that the problem was too many guests trying to use the hot water. (Apparently there was a high concentration of people who enjoy long cold showers at the Staybridge that day.) Returning to our "suite" we decided that the best option for my wife and toddler to dechlorinate was to heat bathwater on the stove. We started heating water at 10:30am. Using the available pots and pans in the room and the stove it took us until nearly 1pm to heat enough water to make a reasonable bath. In other words, this unplanned "Little House on the Prairie" bath experience burned up the remainder of our morning and into the afternoon and in the process raised the humidity of our "suite" to about 98%. We periodically checked for hot water and there was none. By noon both taps ran equally cold.
At approximately 11:30am I again walked down to the front desk to inquire about the status of the hot water. This time a man was working the desk. He explained that the problem with the hot water was that the heating system for the hotel was not designed to be able to handle anywhere near a full hotel. And that since the hotel had been nearly full that morning, it was beyond what the hot water system was designed to handle. Assuming this explanation is correct - the hotel was never designed to actually be full - Staybridge Suite deserves an award for monumental engineering stupidity to put right next to that ironic TripAdvisor award in the front entrance.
Returning to our "suite" we resigned ourselves to finishing the project of boiling bath water old school style. On every trip to the tub with a pot of water our usual hotel of choice sat there out the window in the distance, mocking us for our foolish unfaithfulness.
We were finally dechlorinated and ready to leave about 1:30pm. Still no trace of warm water at the tap. On the way out the door I again asked at the front desk about the status of the hot water. "Manager on Duty" was back at the desk and again told me that the problem was everyone using the hot water and that if everyone would stop using the hot water it would come back in about an hour. Now the pure silliness of this excuse was apparent with a look in the parking lot. This was 1:30pm on a Sunday, after checkout time, with less than a dozen cars in the lot. Yet the Manager on Duty continued to blame phantom guests taking cold showers for the lack of hot water. Other than perhaps housekeeping doing laundry, it's very unclear to me who could possible have been using water in any volume at that time on a Sunday afternoon.
As our schedule for the day had been completely sabotaged by the water fiasco, we didn't return to the Staybridge Suites until late in the evening. Had we not been on a Hotwire deal for two nights we certainly would have left. In fairness Monday morning was a very different experience. With far fewer people at breakfast the food was good, staff much more relaxed, and the Manager on Duty was far more professional in appearance and attitude than anyone we encountered over the weekend. Our experience on Monday is the only reason I am rating the Staybridge as "Poor" instead of "Terrible". Still the damage was done for us and we are not likely to stay there again, nor can I recommend that anyone else do so either. As we left the Staybridge we passed our usual hotel one last time to regret what could have been a very different weekend had we gone with our original plans to stay there. "For all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these - it could have been."
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Come settle in at the newly renovated Staybridge Suites in Fargo, North Dakota! Centrally located near Interstate 94, and just minutes from Hector International Airport (FAR), North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the Fargodome. The Staybridge Suites Fargo offers a multitude of amenities that will help you feel comfortable whether you are here for an extended stay or just an overnight visit. Our award-winning hotel and staff will be glad to welcome you and make you feel right at home. We are located just a short five-minute drive from West Acres Mall, the largest retail shopping center in North Dakota. Our hotel guests have easy access to a many restaurants and retail locations. Corporate travelers will also appreciate our location near businesses such as Microsoft, Essentia Health, Sanford Medical, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, John Deere, Cargill, Noridian, Case and much more! At this all-suite hotel, you'll enjoy apartment-style accommodations including a kitchen with a full-size refrigerator. During your stay in Fargo, be sure to take advantage of our complimentary laundry machines, which are available 24 hours. Hot breakfast is served every day, and evening receptions serving a light meal and beverages three nights a week offer a chance for you relax and mingle with other guests. We also offer complimentary shuttle service, wireless internet, and the Pantry is open 24 hours for those late-night munchies. Whether you're looking for one night or thirty, we invite you to visit us in Fargo, start planning your trip today. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Staybridge Suites Fargo Hotel Fargo
- Fargo Staybridge Suites