How many times have you checked into a hotel after a long day of traveling, only to find that the room you were placed in has a mold problem?
Well, it happens more frequently than you know.
We recently had the displeasure of being placed in a suite where the bathroom was infested with mold behind the wallpaper.
I travel a great deal for work, so I spend a lot of time in hotels in most cases I usually don’t have any issues but in this one case that was different
While traveling through Florida we decided to spend the night in Jacksonville along the Riverfront.
We checked into our hotel late that night.
Tired and exhausted from being on the road all day we just wanted to check in, shower, and go get something to eat.
As we entered the room, I detected a faint earthy musty odor. Because it was so late we really didn’t think anything of it.
We hopped in the shower, then went out to get something to eat, came back to the hotel then jumped into bed
During the night, I kept waking up because of a smell that would just not go away. It kept getting stronger and stronger.
Also, my wife kept coughing.
It was about 2 o’clock in the morning. So I didn’t want to alarm her until I knew for sure what was causing the issue.
Being a Safety Professional and having experience when it comes to mold, I determined that there was a mold issue inside the hotel room.
If you can smell the earthy musty odor, that generally means that there is a growth site somewhere.
The smell kept coming from the bathroom. I recalled two things from earlier that night
One, my wife complained that her throat and sinus became irritated after being in the room for a short while.
And two, while I was taking a shower, I could smell the scent become more pungent; but again I didn’t pay attention to it because it was so late.
The Hidden Mold Uncovered
I got up to investigate the issue and heading straight to the bathroom to see if I could find the source of the smell.
Guess what I found?
The wallpaper at the bottom next to the baseboard was peeling.
I also noticed that there was fresh caulking – as if someone was trying to cover the peeling wallpaper.
Any mold of building professional in maintenance or construction knows that this is a sign of a moisture problem and possibly a mold infestation.
I gently lifted a small section of the peeling wallpaper only to find what you see below. You can see it in the short video below:
The hotel maintenance personnel failed to take the proper steps to fix this issue.
The correct thing to do was First, find the source of the moisture and fix that issue.
And Second, call in a professional mold remediation company to remediate the mold problem.
Instead of fixing the moisture problem and treating the mold correctly, they just simply smeared caulk over the edge of the wallpaper to stop it from peeling.
What they don’t know is that it only made the situation worse.
The mold will continue to grow unless you fix the most resource. Not to mention, they’ve given this hotel a bad name.
What we did next after discovering the mold in our hotel room
I quickly reached out to the front office.
I told him that I wanted to see the manager in our room as soon as possible.
We were told that the manager would not be in until 8 o’clock the following morning.
So we had to wait.
In the meantime, all we could do is turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom put a towel at the bottom of the door to seal off the bathroom and to prevent smelling and inhaling mold all night.
At 8 am, I called the front office and ask for the manager.
The Manager arrived knocked at the door about 10 minutes later. We expressed our concerns about what we found the night before.
We asked the Manager to walk into the bathroom to assess our concerns. She politely obliged.
Then said! I don’t really smell anything. I smell something like paint maybe…
Then I said to her. Well!
What you’re smelling is not paint that’s mold growth in the bathroom.
I proceeded to show her the location where the mold was growing. Her response was to call maintenance to have them look at the issue.
Our response was, no! we demand to be placed in another room that doesn’t have these issues.
They quickly schedule us to go move into another room and assured us that the maintenance manager will be there to fix it right away.
Somehow I doubt if they were going to fix the issue correctly.
Which is to fix the moisture problem, remove all that affected material including the wallpaper, dry out the area, and replace everything affected by the mold.
We didn’t make a big fuss about our experience because we are loyal to this hotel brand and we wanted to give them an opportunity to make it right.
Not just for us, but for other future guests.
To make sure they didn’t take short cuts with the repairs, we sent a letter to the corporate office telling them of our experience and the lack of maintenance oversight that led to the issues we encountered.
The corporate office responded with the below statement:
Based on what we experienced with this hotel.
I thought it would be a good idea to give you a couple tips to help you in case you ever experience something to what we did.
How can you avoid spending the might in a moldy hotel room?
Here are a few tips you could use if you ever experience a situation like ours.
- When you first get checked in, inspect the room by checking the bathroom for any signs of suspected growth, smells, or standing water. Report anything you find to the front desk and ask them to have it repaired promptly or move you to another room.
- If you get into a hotel room and you smell a musty earthy odor there could be an issue, so always report it promptly. You never know what it could be. Don’t ignore it like I did.
- If you see any leaks or mold growing in the around the AC vents, walls, carpet, or anywhere call the front desk and ask to speak to the manager on duty. They should take steps to correct the issue promptly.
Hotels have building engineers and housekeeping that are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of these buildings.
It’s their responsibility to ensure each room is inspected thoroughly before a guest occupies any room.
Remember, you’re paying for a clean and safe room.
If that is not being provided, you have the right to ask for another more suitable room.
If they don’t want to budge, simply asked for a refund and try to book another hotel.
There’s no reason why you need to stay in a room where you’re not comfortable.
If you’ve encountered something similar before, let us know in the comments below.
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