Friday, May 7, 2010

In Search of the Ideal

For my trip next week, I had decided to book a hotel for my first night traveling rather than try pot luck. For no particular reason, I picked a town that's a halfway spot between here and Cincinnati.

When I went to look at the selections in this town, the choices ranged from independent motels and the lower end places such as Super 8 for $50-$60 right up to (for this town) a Hampton Inn which is $107.

Of course, my fantasy is some historical inn, surrounded by gardens, maybe with its own ghost, where I have a wonderful dinner in the inn and then retire to my tastefully decorated room. Well, no such luck. I hate Bed & Breakfasts, but I always check them out.

To me, a B&B is the worst of both worlds. It's like being a houseguest where the people don't particularly care for you. I'm really not that interested in gathering in the parlor and talking to that nice couple from Syracuse. When I've been forced to stay in a B&B, I always felt as if I had been sent to my room.

B&Bs are expensive, I think -- the ones in this area were all $190. I'd be willing to pay that for the perfect room, but I swear they all seem to be decorated with the ugliest country kitsch accessories. Is there any bed covering other than a patchwork quilt? I don't want a teddy bear on my window sill or a fake straw hat with dusty dried flowers hanging on the wall. Or a plaque that says "Believe" or whatever.

I spent way too much time studying the choices. Reading the consumer reviews, I have to say the lower end places really grossed me out -- am I'm not that squeamish. But rooms with bed bugs, rooms that smelled like wet dogs, stained, nasty bedspreads, bathrooms that hadn't been cleaned, somebody's socks left on the floor just turn me off.

Basically I want a clean bed, a clean bathroom and a TV that works. I want to feel as if I can go barefoot in the room and not get a foot fungus. It took me a while to realize that a modest serviceable room doesn't exist -- if a room is modest, it's going to come with dog smells, a dirty bathroom, and a bedspread that has been used for all sorts of things I don't want to think about.

Remembering an experience of a friend who opted for a non-airconditioned hotel room to save money and hey, we're on the beach, how hot can it be? (She and her husband found out how hot it can be and cut their weekend short)... Anyway, I opted for the boring, high-priced Hampton Inn for $107.

I did try all sorts of things to get the price down, including calling the hotel directly, visiting various sites and I even googled coupon codes and got one for Hampton Inn which was about three months old and didn't work.

After all this, my room better smell like a mountain meadow with a bathroom where surgery could be performed. And I better feel like I want to snuggle with the bedspread.

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