Yes, I’m cheap. And sometimes, the old adage “I just need a bed and a shower” applies when looking for a hotel. But, um, I do actually need a bed and a shower, even when I am being cheap. Here are the three worst hotels I’ve stayed in. You’ll notice all three have “INN” in their name. A trend, perhaps? And yes, one of them didn’t have a (working) shower.
3. MASTERS INN, Atlanta, Georgia
Blood stain on a broken recliner
It’s funny how a stay can be so completely awful that you forget (almost) all of the details, but have no trouble remembering just how incredibly cruddy the place was. Well more than a decade ago, Laura and I drove from our then-home in Pensacola to Atlanta to visit the Six Flags amusement park. We just needed “a bed and shower” the night before we hit the roller coasters, and the Masters Inn room we found seemed to fit the bill. Cheap, close to the park. Yes, I’ve forgotten most of the other horrid details (though I imagine Laura has not), but I’ll never forget one thing – the recliner in the room was broken. And had a blood stain. We walked down the front desk, and in the all-time best response I’ve gotten from a manager about a complaint, here’s what the Masters Inn manager told us: “Well, sometimes we don’t get what we want.”
We wrote to the corporate office and received a nice reply back that obviously the room was not up to the company’s standards (good to hear that at least someone in the company believes that bodily fluids shouldn’t be on furniture), but no refund or coupons for a future visit. Yes, that was the last Masters Inn we’ve stayed in.
2. DAYS INN, New Orleans, Louisiana
Laura forced to do her best Joey Tribiani impression
It was supposed to the most special vacation of our lives. The next day, we were flying to Las Vegas to meet friends and family for our wedding. But since we had an early flight out, and the airport was more than three hours from our house, we decided it was best to drive over the night before and stay somewhere close to the airport. Bad idea.
I remember saying, “How bad can it be? It’s a Days Inn.” Yeah. Last time I’ve said that. We walked into the room and immediately saw bugs flying. From the bed. The bedspread (which Laura always immediately strips from the bed and shoves in a closet) had holes in it. The place was so bad that we would have checked out and gone somewhere else, but here is the really awful part – we paid $90 for the room … and it was the cheapest room in town. There really was no place else to go.
So Laura unpacked almost all her clothes and put them all on. “I don’t want a single piece of my body to touch anything on this bed,” she said. When she was finished, she reminded me of the Friends episode where Joey and Chandler were fighting, and Joey stormed into Monica’s apartment wearing all of Chandler’s clothes. The only time since then I think we’ve stayed at a Days Inn was when the dude installing tile in our bathrooms left our house with no working toilets and we had to find a place close to our house to stay at midnight. But that’s a story for another day.
1. GOLDEN GLADES INN, Miami, Florida
Reserved parking for police officers. No, seriously.
My brother was flying to Tampa and we were driving to Miami to see the Packers play the Dolphins. I had debated back and forth whether to drive down the morning of the game, or whether it would be better to drive down the night before. In the end, I decided we’d stay the night. I did a quick Web search looking for a hotel near the stadium. First mistake.
Found one for $60 with an instant web coupon. Again, it was the cheapest in town (yes, I’ve learned my lesson now). Even with a GPS, we couldn’t figure out how to get to the actual hotel, which was in the middle of about 543* highways that criss-crossed the city. And, of course, many of them were toll roads, so we racked up $1,456* in tolls during our madcap adventure (*some figures in this post have been inflated for literary effect). When we finally made it, the first thing we noticed was the first three parking spots had signs that said “RESERVED FOR POLICE.” The next thing we saw we’re actual police cars, with lights flashing, by the lobby door, and cops pushing a shirtless, handcuffed dude into the cruiser. Most excellent. The hotel I picked for us was a live taping of a future episode of Cops. But wait. It gets better.
We sidestep the police and walk into the lobby to check in. The clerk didn’t have our reservation and didn’t know anything about the “web special” that I booked. Fine, whatever. Just give us a room before someone pops a cap in our ass. We make it to our room, and the carpet near the bathroom was bunched up. Water streamed from the bathtub, even though there was no water in the actual bathtub.
Somehow we managed to get some sleep. In the morning, I went to take a shower. The water just drizzled from the shower head, down the wall, over the side of the tub and … you guessed it, onto the carpet.