Hotel / Motel

I travel a lot and stay in a lot of hotels. Over the years, I travel with some awesome bands like Capitol3, Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre, Blackberry Wednesday, and even a little with Black Oak Arkansas. If you’’ve ever traveled with a touring band, then you know that sometimes you stay at really nice hotels but most times you don’t. Now, I’m not talking about the Ritz or Peabody, though every now and then we are lucky enough to be on a bill that will supply such things. When I say nice hotel,” I’’m talking about something in the $55-$65 per night range, but when it’s make money or sleep in a nice hotel we usually end up in some place that claims to leave the light on for you.

Tonight, I’m sitting here at a Days Inn in Palm Coast, FL, and can’t help but to count the things included in the $26 that is the difference between sleeping in a $29 per night motel room and a $55 a night hotel room (before taxes and other add-on charges, because those vary from place to place).

Now if for no other reason but to inform the traveling youth, by focusing on the good and bad elements from my own encounters and overnight lodging experiences in motels around the country, I will spell out each dollar of the difference and why I believe it is worth it to spend the extra money. So, read carefully and pat attention, because this information may someday save your life.

Let’s begin with the parking lot. When staying at a hotel you get a nice, clean, well-lit parking lot that usually has a place near the main entrance where you can park while checking-in and unloading your bags, then the car can be parked in a reasonably safe environment. At a motel you get a cracked-up, trash-filled lot with a half-lit sign and a barely-lit parking lot where you park in front to check in, then you drive around to the rear of the building (because that is where they put people like us) to a lot with a chain-link fence covered with overgrown weeds; a perfect environment for someone that wants to break into your car and steal your microphones. Extra parking-related cost $5; value $500, because that’s what a set of drum mics costs. For those who are wondering, yes, that really happened!

Next, let’s discuss the room. In a hotel, there is a nice lobby with a clerk behind the desk, who is more than happy to help you no matter the time of night. You get a little keycard, ride an elevator, and walk down a nicely carpeted hallway on the way to your room. When you get to the door, you put in your keycard (and it works), enter your room, lock the door behind you, then good times are had by all.

In a motel, you have a dirty, bulletproof, plexiglass window in front if a clerk who would rather be anywhere else at the time even though her shift started only minutes ago. If you’re lucky, you get a keycard. If you aren’t, you get a key. Yes, that’s right, a KEY; as in the metal kind that you have to return in the morning like at some backwoods gas station bathroom. You walk up a set of rusty metal stairs, then down a cracked concrete walkway on the way to your room. However, if you’re lucky and get a keycard, it usually doesn’t work until the second or third try. You enter the room then turn around to shut the door behind you, and the dead bolt doesn’t work or the door doesn’t close all the way. So, you have to rely on the door latch, or god forbid, a chain to protect you from being robbed or stabbed in the middle of the night. I’ve been lucky, so far. Extra room-related cost $4; value $500, because that is about how much you made last night.

When you enter the room in a hotel, the fresh smell of clean linens and sunshine hits you first. You look across the room at a perfectly arranged, organized, manicured room where there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place. There are two beds with enough space between them for people to move around without bumping into each other. There also is a lounge chair and a nice little place to set up your computer and get some work done. There is a fridge, microwave, iron and ironing board, coffee maker, and, sitting on the nightstand between the beds is a TV remote control that sometimes is sanitized for your protection.

When you enter the room at a motel, you are greeted with the smell of feet and cigarettes. Leave the light on! As if. It’s dark and musty, and you have to touch as least two (and sometimes more) germ-covered light switches before you find one that works. The light turns on and you see two beds, one that is crammed against the wall and the other crammed against the air conditioner with about a foot of space between them. The room also contains a long, warped, chipped, and faded combination TV stand-dresser-desk-whatever else they can cram on there, and, sometimes, a chair. Oh yeah, the remote… it’s somewhere, so let’s go hunting to find it, if it even works. Most importantly, don’t forget the Lysol. Extra room-related cost $5; value $50 – $10,000 (see explanation at the end of the next paragraph).

Once in the room, you drop your bags on the bed then head for the bathroom to get rid of the soda from the long drive between cities. In a hotel room you have a clean bathroom with a large shower and an endless supply of hot water, a toilet that flushes, a sink that drains as the water flows, and enough absorbent towels for everyone then some. It’s stocked with new travel-size soaps, shampoos, lotions, hand towels, cups, and a functional hair dryer, and again, there is enough for everyone. If you forget any of your toiletries, like a toothbrush or razor, the cute little thing working at the front desk will be glad to give you one, free of charge.

A motel bathroom, at best, has been wiped down between occupants, and has mold in the corners of the shower and on the floor. The toilet must be flushed at least twice per use, and the sink hangs off the wall and fills-up while washing your hands or brushing your teeth. There are two towels (in a room that occupies four people) with a thread count of a truck stop bathroom hand towel. There is one bar of soap, one small bottle of shampoo, and if you’ve forgotten something, good luck getting help from the staff. There might be a vending machine somewhere on the premises, but it’s always stocked (well, half stocked) with the cheapest items they can find. If it doesn’t take your money, you can get a single-blade razor for about two bucks. Extra bathroom-related cost $4; value $50 on the low end (for food that you normally wouldn’t eat and less personal space than you had in the truck) and $10,000 on the high end (for the two emergency room visits, a short hospital stay, and throat surgery to treat a bacterial infection). Again, yes, that really happened!

Whether you’re getting ready to go out to a show for the evening, use the computer for a while, do some work, watch TV, sit and read, or whatever it might be, climate control is very important. In a hotel room you get a relatively new, programmable (sometimes) AC unit that will keep the room at the perfect temperature and not make a sound doing it. In a motel the AC unit has two speeds: on and off. It is either so cold that I have to sport the sweat shirt to bed or so hot that I have to sleep without a shirt in a chair next to the air flow. There is no happy medium. If you happen to get a room with an AC unit that will allow you to set the temperature, most of the time it sounds like a chain saw being put through a wood chipper in a train station. So, the choice comes down to being comfortable or sleeping. How much is being comfortable and getting a good night’s sleep worth to you? Is that not the reason for getting the room? So, lets say extra climate-related cost $2; value $30.

Maybe you decide to take a nap before the show or get some sleep after a long night, so you crawl into bed. In a hotel you have a comfortable bed covered with fresh, clean linens (with a reasonably high thread count) and a bedspread. Sometimes there are three or four fluffy pillows for each bed. You plop down on the bed, and it barely moves. You are able to go to sleep then wake up well rested. In a motel room, the bed feels like it was picked up off of the side of the road or at a yard sale. You have the option of sleeping under the sheets with all the bed bugs or sleeping on top of the dust covered, cigarette burned comforter, and there are two wafer-thin pillows on each bed. When you plop down on the bed, the corner drops off of the frame. Then, you must reassemble the bed frame before you can go to sleep. You toss and turn all night until you’re sick of it, then you get up with a crick in your neck or back, or both. Extra bed-related cost $3; value… Well, I’m not sure what a good chiropractor costs these days, but let’s just say $100.

Finally, at a hotel you wake up in the morning to you own coffee make and coffee in your room, and a continental breakfast with juice and muffins. Every now and then you might stay at a hotel that has a full breakfast bar with hot food. Either way, you can have coffee and a little something to eat to start the day. At a motel, there is no coffee in your room. If you’re lucky, there might be a thermos filled with coffee located somewhere near the front desk in the lobby-like area. If you aren’t lucky, you can ask the clerk where to get coffee, and they will point (usually without looking up) in the general direction of a gas station. Extra coffee-related cost $2; value $10 for two cups of coffee, a bottle of juice, and a donut.

All together, for the extra $26 you will receive an extra value of somewhere between $1190 and $12,000 depending on what kind of sicknesses you may contract. I say all of that to say this: in a recent test of hotel and motel rooms, from the cheapest to the most expensive, 82% of samples taken contained E. coli, and there was fecal matter present. So, no matter where you stay, bring the Lysol; extra cost $5; value priceless.


One comment to Hotel / Motel

  • woodworking plans  says:

    What’s up, everything is going perfectly here and ofcourse
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