Sunday, July 10, 2011

Destination: Hell

We thoroughly enjoyed our vacation, so we thought we'd ease back into reality by staying in the worst hotel the world has ever known. Now, I should preface my tale by stating that I've always had really good luck with Priceline. I've used the "name your own price" feature at least 25 times and have always gotten downright decent hotel rooms.  Most of the hotels have had a nice breakfast (not just the "continental" breakfast where they throw a stale muffin at you when you check out) and most have also had a pool.  So, I had no hesitation about using Priceline to book a hotel room for our trip back home. It's a 16-hour drive so we wanted to break it up at roughly the halfway mark.  I got online and bid on a room like I always do. My bid was accepted by an Extended Stay America hotel. I checked out the hotel's website. No pool, but everything else seemed okay at first blush. No worries.  Until we checked in.

Now, I don't think I am that particular about hotels. I don't need toiletries (I pack my own) and can live without breakfast. All I really want (particularly when we are just traveling and not staying in that town as a destination) is a clean hotel room and a suitable bed.  When I checked in, I asked if we could have a room with two beds. No. Okay, how about a cot?  We don't have cots. Okay, well, if I had called earlier, could I have gotten one? No, we don't have them at all.

I guess I was waiting for the front desk person to at least pretend to be helpful and accommodating.  Then she said this: "You're here for one night. You won't receive housekeeping."  I almost bit my tongue off to prevent what would have been my reply (something to the tune of, "did I ASK for housekeeping, beyotch?")  We were going to be there for 12 hours and weren't expecting housekeeping services, but whatever.

We walked upstairs to our room. I have no idea if smoking was allowed anywhere in the building, but the whole joint reeked of it. The hallway carpets were stained with God knows what.  We entered our room. A queen bed - awesome.  I knew instantly that this would be the worst night's sleep of my entire life. Moments later, we noticed that the bottoms of our feet were black. The carpet was that filthy. We realized we'd have to keep our shoes on the whole time (even, comically, after we donned our pajamas a couple hours later). We went to Chipotle for dinner (where, as an added bonus, our daughter spilled a full container of chocolate milk on the floor) and then returned to the dark underworld in which we'd spend the night. I attempted to give my daughter a bath, but of course the tub stopper did not work properly. My night just kept getting better. Oh, and did I mention that Aunt Flo had arrived with a vengeance earlier in the day?  I thought you'd want to know that little detail. My husband, shockingly, did not want to discuss it when I brought it up.

I hadn't planned to drink any adult beverages that night, but I thought better of it once the sleeping arrangement fully sunk in. I drank a glass of Merlot and then another. Then I hopped in bed and hoped for the best. Our adorable daughter was snuggled in between us. As soon as the lights went out, she sprouted about eight extra sets of knees and planted all of them (at high velocity) into the small of my back. For the next five hours, I did everything I could think of (short of forcing her to sleep on the nightstand) to make the situation work, including: shoving her over to her dad's side of the bed, tucking in a blanket around her in an attempt to immobilize her legs, putting her new build-a-bear cat between us to buffer the assault she was delivering, and just helplessly spouting, "Sweet Jesus!" every fifteen minutes or so. Finally, P took one for the team by moving into the center and placing her on his other side. I finally slept for a couple hours, waking periodically to ponder the possibility of bed bugs hanging out in this dump.

We finished our drive home the next morning. As soon as I got home, I promptly got online so that I could write a bad review of the hotel lest it slip my mind later. However, literally hundreds of people had already beat me to it. The complaints were the same: filthy carpeting, unmotivated staff, pervasive smell of smoke, etc. Looking on the bright side, my own bed has never looked better.

One of my favorite photos from our vacation (A and her cousin - they are 16 months apart in age):

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