What a weekend

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Oct 9, 2018
I belong to a small collectors' club whose members come from several north central states, and each fall we have a get-together in western Wisconsin, within an hours' drive from the Minneapolis / St. Paul metro area.

Normally, when I make plans for travel from southeastern SD to this meet, I plan an overnight stop in the Twin Cities area so I don't have all that driving to the show and back in the same day. I also tend to make reservations well in advance, but for a variety of reasons, I wound up not doing a search for a hotel until the night before I was to travel.

I tend to go more by price than amenities when I search for a hotel, and I generally have had at least a fair experience, but the title will become clear as I go on.

I settled on the Key Inn at Woodbury, cough up the money for a nonrefundable reservation, only raising an eyebrow at the stipulation I would have to pay a deposit upon arrival (I didn't realize then that should have been a big red flag).

I go about the process of packing and head out the next day, and when I made a stop for gas, I reply to a text from my friend in St. Paul asking if I was coming, and to which I responded with where I was staying the night.

On the road a few minutes later, I get a text from my friend advising me that I'd picked one of the worst hotels in the Twin Cities and I really should find a different place, mentioning that that particular place was known for drug traffic and a murder had occurred there at one point.

The deposit suddenly made sense, and I decided to no-show and search again for a different hotel once I get into the metro area. A quick search done before continuing corroborated my friend's comments, and I realized I'd finally come up with the short straw when going by price.

Once in the metro area, I did another quick search, settling on the Royal Inn just across the river in Hudson, mainly because I had stayed there years ago while working in the area on assignment as an employee of a contractor firm.

While the site said the Royal Inn had one room left, there were actually more, as two other people (one a walk-in guest like me) checked in before I got to the desk.

I get in, text my friend with my updated stay information, and then I decided to read up on the Key Inn. It didn't take me long at all to find many negative reviews of the property (even as recent as a few weeks ago), a mention of human trafficking at that location, and its equally infamous past when it was a Red Roof Inn.

The next morning, I woke up with my wrist and forearm in a dull ache, to which I had attributed to my occasional habit of sleeping in odd positions.

As the day went on, it became apparent that the dull ache was from a multitude of bedbug bites across said wrist and forearm.

I can't win for losing?

Once back home later that day, I did reach out to the Royal Inn about the bedbug issue, and they expressed surprise over my experience and pledged to check the room the next morning (I heard nothing after that, but my friend said that I "should be able to get my money back"). I also promptly took steps to ensure that no bedbugs hitched a ride, nor would any such get the opportunity to infest my house.

I also left a matter of fact review on Hotels.com about my decision to no-show my reservation at the Key Inn, and suggesting that properties with a consistent history of negative reviews should not be offered as a lodging option, to which the site said, "We're not posting that review."

By the way, all this was in late September, a couple weeks ago now.

What do you think my options are at this point?

Bedbug issue aside, I'm not overly interested in bucking for a refund from the Royal Inn, as while not entirely satisfactory, I got what I paid for - a place where I could sleep for the night.

On the other hand, while I do understand that nonrefundable means nonrefundable, I would not have booked at the Key Inn if I had a bit more time to do my normal due diligence when seeking places to stay. I paid for something I did not get to use, and it was a choice made in the interest of my own safety.

Or do I just chalk it up as an expensive life lesson and just move on?
Feb 3, 2017
Not surprised you couldn't post a review about a place you didn't actually stay in, a reputable review website (if any really exist as such) wouldn't allow a non-guest to review somewhere they didn't stay.

Chalk it up to just stuff that happens sometimes; I'm sure you came away from this experience knowing to better research wherever you choose to book to stay especially for a non-refundable room - that's a good thing to come away with and hopefully, others are busily doing their due diligence.
Sep 19, 2015
The reviews for the Key Inn are pretty bad on hotels.Com.

Sometimes a place is cheap for all the wrong reasons— bad part of town, badly maintained... and bad clientele tend to congregate at the cheapest places.

The time to check reviews is before hitting the book button. And many places will not let one leave a review unless they actually stayed there, which does make sense.

Are you sure you were bit by bedbugs and not another insect?

When I go to a hotel now I put my luggage in the bathroom and then take the covers and sheets off the mattress and start inspecting. Yes I am that paranoid.

I do not see that anyone has posted a bed bug negative review on the Royal Inn but that does not mean there are no bugs. But without some evidence (signs in the mattress or finding one of the disgusting things it is hard to prove)

I do not think you have any recourse on the place you did not stay— I mean the place could have been booked up by a group of nuns or a group of criminals but since you never stepped on the property you can not say what it was like that night.

And the other place — unless you had evidence of bed bugs again it is hard to prove —

But I do recommend that everyone inspect the bed upon checking into a hotel.
Likes: lindatravels
Oct 9, 2018
Thanks for the prompt responses. I'm not overly thrilled that I really have no recourse at all, but nobody ever said life was fair.

As for my not catching on to the bedbugs right away, I have dermatographia, and which may well have initially masked the presence of bites, but to remove any doubt, I attached a picture taken the day I got back home.


Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
That is not necessarily proof of bedbugs. Proof of bedbugs can be found my pulling the bed apart and checking at the seams of the mattress to look for something like this.

Again- the time to talk to the hotel is before you leave if you think there A82EDBF2-7219-46BE-8914-1256BCF5416C.jpeg was bedbugs. And this is how you prove it.
Likes: lindatravels
Sep 19, 2015
It was not one of our hotel pictures. But that’s what you look for when pulling the mattress apart for evidence of bedbugs
I would run out screaming if I saw that.

When I look I pull the sheets off the bed and use my cell phone flashlight to look for any signs of bugs... or just general ickiness.

Even when exhausted I do it and luggage stays in bathroom until I get it on a metal luggage stand.
Likes: Neil Maley