A fierce hurricane, unfamiliar surroundings, the company of strangers.
That may sound like a prescription for a nightmare.
Yet, a number of folks who hunkered down in Bradenton-area hotels during Hurricane Irma can’t say enough nice things about their hosts.
Lisa Starks of St. Petersburg rode out Hurricane Irma at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 4450 47th St. W.
“Everybody was so kind and nice. I decided to stay here until I could go home,” Starks said. “It’s been a lovely experience. And of course, them waiving their pet policy made it even better.”
Another guest, Michael Bond of Bradenton, volunteered that the staff at the Holiday Inn Express was friendly and nice.
“Management did everything possible for us,” Bond said.
Good hotels specialize in relieving anxiety and fear with reassuring hospitality.
“Honestly, we just treat everyone like family here. Our staff is like a big family. We want all of our guests to feel like they are at home away from home,” said Rebecca Stucko, general manager of Holiday Inn Express.
Robyn Price, the regional director of sales and marketing at Courtyard by Marriott Bradenton Riverfront, 100 Riverfront Drive W., said her staff went all out to assist guests, whether they were locals without power, law enforcement officers or employees of the Weather Channel.
A huge tree fell outside the lobby Sunday night, but otherwise the hotel sustained no damage, Price said.
Everybody was so kind and nice. I decided to stay here until I could go home. It’s been a lovely experience.
Lisa Starks of St. Petersburg, on the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 4450 47th St. W.
“Everyone came out of the rooms the next morning and said, ‘We made it, we made it,’ ” Price said.
An Ohio resident who asked not to be identified called her stay at the Courtyard “wonderful.”
“They took care of everything. They are very kind. I would give them an A plus, plus,” she said. “I felt extremely safe.”
The Hyatt Place, which opened in April at 6021 Exchange Way, Lakewood Ranch, found itself booked throughout the storm.
General manager Ashleigh Gonzalez has not left the Hyatt Place for more than a week as she worked to make sure her guests were comfortable and safe.
“We allowed a lot more pets to stay and we changed our menu around,” she said.
In addition to its guests, the Hyatt Place had others stopping by to dine at its restaurant when many other eateries were closed because of Irma.
“Power never went out. It might have flickered. We said our prayers,” Gonzalez said.