Tom Bodette does the friendly and folksy Motel Six commericals -- the ones that end with "We'll leave the light on for you." On my recent foray into Michigan to make the world safe for marketing, I decided to stay at one of those places. No, really, I did. You should have seen the looks I got from everyone else who stayed at the Marriott.
I've stayed in some pretty swank spots in my time. Resort hotels with entire tropical jungles transported to the lobby. With four star restaurants that have swans swimming up to the table. And people trained to do nothing but fold your napkin whenever you leave your seat.
But, except for the posh room service, Turkish terrry cloth robes, mirrors on the ceilings, hot tubs at the end of the beds, and phones in the marble bathrooms, hotel rooms are pretty much the same. Especially when you are traveling for work. It's just that some places charge an arm and a leg more because they fold a point on the teepee. Or provide you with mango flavored shampoo.
Most of the time I'm only in the room to shower, sleep, and use the toilet, so the candy on the pillow and the sexy bathroom with a glass wall that allows people watching TV in the living room to observe you as you bathe, brush your teeth, and perform any other normally private maneuvers, are lost on me.
I'm working, not playing. Or performing.
All this is leading up to my rationale for saving a ton of money and staying at the No Tel Six. I did save a ton. What I paid for three days wouldn't cover the tips at most places.
However, I told the desk clerk that I would give the place one night and if I didn't like it I would leave. I asked for a room with a view of the lawn in front of McDonald's and they obliged. So far, so good. There was no one else on that side of the motel, so I asked them to keep it that way if possible. I assumed when they said okay, that meant okay.
I walked into the room. After long hours on the road, it was refreshing to be hit with an arctic blast of non stop air conditioning. Plus the hum of the retro machine that pumped out the icy air kept down the noise of the tractor trailers pullling in for the night.
Luckily there was an extra parking space next to me outside my room, so that the Dodge Hemi steroid pick up truck that pulled in could have room to stretch out and not trade paint with my rental car. Surprise. Apparently I was going to have next door neighbors despite my request, even though there were dozens of other empty rooms. Everywhere. The thump thump of that engine on that monster actually shook my room. But I was already unpacked so I didn't leave.
The tiny white towels were clean. But there were enough to cover my body and my hair. The soap was so small there was barely enough for one night. But there were two at least -- one for the shower and one for the sink. I assumed correctly that I would get more each day. The beds were made. And except for the cigarette sized holes in the blanket, you didn't notice any unexplained stains or smells. I didn't bring my black light with me however.
There was cable. Including HBO. The water in the one piece fiberglas shower unit was wet, hot and hard. Like my men. It's a JOKE. There were hangers. There were drawers for clothes. There were friendly strangers with no teeth who yelled across the lot and offered to help me unload my car. Or get me some ice. Only with a police escort, thank you.
I wasn't going to be there for more than sleeping time, so I was not missing all the fancy perks. Even though the family next door to me sounded like they were bouncing their kid off the wall. Luckily the noise of the ice age air conditioner drowned out most of the noise.
I wasn't suffering too much and decided not to leave, until I realized the next day, when I got back from hours of work, that I wasn't going to get new towels. The ones I used were just folded up again. EEEEWWWW.
I may be willing to sacrifice a lot of things to save money on a room -- low thread count sheets and foam rubber pillows, but when it comes to towels, don't go folding up the ones I've used and serving them up for the next day. Somebody has used them. EWWWW. Okay the somebody was me. But EWWW nonetheless.
Now that I think about it, some mango shampoo would have been nice too.
I sure did save a boatload o' dough.
But, never again.