Hotels Schmotels

On the road for about 5 hours, just inching into “somewhere” Alabama, I pulled over to  ‘spit-in-the-bucket’ corner store under the freeway to get a 6-pack and ask if there were a place to stay. “It’s Sunday! We don’t sell alcohol on Sunday!” the aging, but pleasant woman said as she adjusted her pearl glasses in disbelief. Awesome. I said “do you have non-alcoholic beer?” (I was desperate, what can I say.) She said “yes, it’s right over there by the regular beer.” I returned the evil 6 pack for a ‘blessed’ non-alcoholic 6-pack and brought it to the counter. “Oh my .. you’re not from around here, are you? We don’t sell this on Sunday either!” Eventually, I bought some jerky or something and she pointed to a ‘lodging’ just under the freeway! Joy!

As I booked into this ‘lodging’ under a bridge, the guy gave me my key and I said “your sign says WIFI right?” He gave me an odd look then asked for my key back. He had to re-locate me into a ‘WIFI room’ which faced the front (and freeway). As I entered my room (no word of a lie) a cockroach scurried off my ‘bed’. “PERFECT” I laughed! I honestly did. THIS is what a road-trip SHOULD be! I’ve stayed in the best and the worst. I don’t care.

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The WORST was the ‘Airport Hilton’ in Los Angeles, and yes, I will call them out. Exorbitant, hidden prices to begin with. (As if Dad comes home and says “guess what kids! We’re going to stay for 2 weeks holidays at the Hilton Airport!!! OH YAYYYY”).

As I pulled into this overnight, businessmen only, block-o-cement-disguised HELL to check in, I am immediately assaulted by demanding valet soldiers. I said to another “does that guy who just took my keys even work here?”. You MUST pay for the potential use of the exercise facilities (I know, a common practice), and other various, ridiculous charges and taxes. In my room I get to sign up $14 to get on the interweb per day. C’mon. This is a ONE NIGHT airport hotel!  NOBODY is going to book a few days for a “swim” outside of a convention. That was about a $500 1 night stay! Talk about taking advantage – esp. when you don’t need to! NEVER HILTON again, for me.

One of the BEST luxury hotels was indeed the Beverly Hills. What “class” in the proper sense. What nice, friendly people. What an amazing history as you wander past Marylyn Monroe’s bungalow where she basically ‘lived’ (and eventually you end up in the Polo lounge.) Even at around $550 for 1 night (and 1 call to your landlord), this place is “it”.

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Having said that, I’ve had some excellent “cheap” hotels such as the one in Santa Brabara, Cali at about $85 which was unexpectedly awesone, comnplete with a jacuzzi in the room (??). Same in “Bradenton, Florida (St. Petersburgh). The “Days Inn” by the Texas airport with ‘French doors’ opening to a lovely patio – also under $100 for the night.

The FUNNIEST was a last minute grasp, late-at-night in Miami. Can’t remember the name, nor did I get a pic (unfortunately), but it had ‘private garage stalls’ where you parked, with ‘private stairs’ up to your room. (LOW RENT – as in, when I asked “how much for the night”? His eyes raised .. “the whole night?”)

It was bathed in red lights. Round bed, mirrors on ceiling. Red lights in bath / shower. Beside the bed was a car stereo system (which could play cassettes). And you thought a cockroach was … “eewwww”!

Back to the beginning of this, back under a bridge in Alabama, facing front for WIFI (with password being something like “HOJO – 1234”), I woke-up and turned the corner on my way to continue my journey, and drove past a Howard Johnson’s just behind the trees. PERFECT!