Hotel Guest Discovers Fancy Room Service Is Frozen Trader Joe's Meal After Finding Stocked Fridge (Exclusive)

Elle McLemore tells PEOPLE that the hotel's website claims they have a “chef-driven menu” featuring “original artisan food.”

<p>Elle McLemore</p> Packaged Trader Joe

Elle McLemore

Packaged Trader Joe's meal (left) split with the room service meal (right).
  • Hotel guest Elle McLemore her "room service" was actually a frozen Trader Joe’s dinner

  • She told PEOPLE that her husband stumbled upon a freezer stocked with prepackaged meals from the grocery chain while grabbing breakfast one morning. 

  • According to McLemore, the hotel claims on their website that all of their meals are made by a private chef.  

A hotel guest was in for a surprise when she discovered her expensive room service was actually a frozen Trader Joe’s dinner.

In a recent TikTok, Elle McLemore, who goes by @elle_pooh on the app, brought her followers along as she and her husband uncovered the truth behind their hotel’s pricey in-room menu, including the moment she realized her $20 cacio e pepe was actually a $3.79 prepackaged dinner.

In the video, below, the Los Angeles-based actress, 32, starts out by unveiling the tasty looking pasta dish that was delivered to her hotel room. But that's quickly followed by a shot of the hotel's "communal refrigerator," stocked with a variety of prepackaged foods purchased at the grocery chain, including a frozen bag of cacio pepe. "Thought it tasted familiar," she captioned the shot.

McLemore tells PEOPLE that it was her husband who first stumbled upon the incriminating freezer.

<p>Elle McLemore</p> McLemore's room service presentation.

Elle McLemore

McLemore's room service presentation.

“My husband Josh went to grab us some things for breakfast,” she says. “He went to look for almond milk for my coffee in the refrigerator next to the buffet and that’s when he made the discovery of all the prepackaged foods." That also included a chocolate lava cake they'd had for dessert the night before.

The pasta was listed as “Calming Cacio e Pepe Pasta with Truffle Oil” on the room service menu. McLemore says they hadn't suspected the pasta was an imposter because “the presentation was honestly incredible.”

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While she said her husband thought it was “hilarious” and the pair later laughed it off, she admits that the hotel was deceitful.

“It was my husband’s birthday dinner,” she says. “We came here because we were looking for a peaceful and unique experience, and booked it because their website said they have a private chef who makes culinary meals that cater to dietary needs.”

The hotel even marketed the menu as “crafted to nourish the body and soul,” she adds.

McLemore declined to disclose the property's name.

<p>Elle McLemore</p> Frozen Cacio e Pepe in the communal refrigerator.

Elle McLemore

Frozen Cacio e Pepe in the communal refrigerator.

While the presentation was great, McLemore says she and her husband have had Trader Joe’s cacio e pepe before and that their hotel dining experience was definitely “mediocre for the price tag.”

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<p>Elle McLemore</p> Stocked freezer in the hotel filled with more frozen meals.

Elle McLemore

Stocked freezer in the hotel filled with more frozen meals.

In the comments section of the video, many users were outraged by the hotel’s actions.

“I would’ve lost my mind,” one person wrote.

Others pointed out that maybe the price is so high because guests are paying for the service, not just the food.

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<p>Elle McLemore</p> Listing of the meal on the hotel menu.

Elle McLemore

Listing of the meal on the hotel menu.

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“I get it, but it’s not just the food - it’s the wage for the person buying it (plus gas), making it, delivering it… it’s $4 at TJs because you aren’t paying anyone to make it for you,” wrote one user.

While McLemore agrees that the hotel has a right to sell marked up frozen food for their business, she clarifies that the real reason why she’s “conflicted” is because they marketed it as a “chef-driven menu” featuring “original artisan food.”

One commenter seemed to sum up everyone's sentiments:“What a trader joke.”

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