• Gabrielle Faust

Casulo Hotel Has Delusions of Grandure

Before I begin my review of Stay Alfred at Alexan E6, let me explain how I arrived to stay at this particular establishment. I will discuss the Alfred in the next review, but I feel I need to allow a separate blog post for my experiences at the Casulo Hotel, as brief as they were…thankfully.

Every few months I like to take a few days away from my ordinary life and hole up at a local hotel to knock out a good chunk of writing, as well as simply just decompress. If you have it in your budget to do so, I highly recommend this because it allows you to completely hit the proverbial “reset button”. We all need a bit of escapism away from the laundry, chores, relationship stresses, and overall stressors that come with being an “adult”. And if you can squeeze a weekend staycation into your budget here and there, I often feel it is better than the most expensive couch therapy out there.

So… A week ago I decided to take a few days to work on writing and booked a stay at the Casulo Hotel based on some pretty extraordinary photos on Expedia. Let this be a cautionary tale to those who, like me, book hotels online quite a bit.

I arrived on the 12th of November wondering why in the world this “hidden gem” had alluded me only a few blocks from my house. My gods! This looks like such a 4-star hotel – how had I not known about this or I would have been there this summer just to enjoy the pool and deluxe bar.

There is no deluxe bar. Nor is there a glorious spa pool.

Off of the extremely under construction I-35 frontage road there is a steep drive lined in chained-link fence that leads up to an eerie white-washed building that sends chills through any self-respecting horror fan. Perhaps it didn’t help that it was a terribly cold, blustery, and gray day which lent this hotel on a hill a more ominous feel. I stood outside my car for a while looking at the façade of the establishment and knew there had not been much of an upgrade in a very, very long time. My gut said to leave, but I had a reservation, so I decided to attempt to check in.

I pulled my suitcase out of the car and drug it to the front door acutely aware of the dismally neglected “spa pool” to my left, beyond the chain-link fence. The entrance is one of perhaps the most important parts of the hotel experience. It defines how you’re going to perceive the rest of your stay. This one was covered in muddy tracks across the carpet the laminate tile leading up to the scarred and scuffed reception desk. I already had a lump in my throat…

Most hotels allow you to check in a little early, if they are well organized – a half hour is never really an issue. This was very poignantly made clear that this was an issue because apparently at 2:30pm there was still a person checked into my 3pm room. Which made me wonder when staff was planning on actually cleaning this room. Annoyed, I put my bags in their “baggage check” which turned out to be just a room behind the desk with no security and anyone can open or close the door without any sort of security clearance.

I went to their “gym” to pass the time. This is when I realized this was the last place in Austin I wanted to spend the night. 50% of the equipment was broken. The elliptical was so rusted it looked like it had been left out in the rain for a decade. Both of the treadmills were broken. The pads on the weight machines were so eroded I was scared to use them for health issues.

As I left the “gym” I started to noticed how tiles on the floors were starting to pull up, there were areas of the walls that were just tacked on drywall and the “lounge/bar” looked worse than any serious dive motel I’ve ever seen in all my travels.

At this point I cancelled my stay without even seeing the room. After speaking with the receptionist she confirmed that there is rarely an on-site manager, and that “in her 4 months” she had seen many people check out for “various reasons”. She also admitted to me that the photos being used on travel sites are 10+ years old. Do NOT trust those photos.

To sum this up, do not trust anything you read online, except this review, about Casulo Hotel. They are false advertising to the world through ancient photos from their grand opening. And since then it appears that they have not made one repair...

Now… On to the other review in my next post…

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