Is The Hotel Half The Trip?

This question has been burning in my mind since our “budget inn” experience in Mackinaw City. How do you rank the importance of where you stay compared to where you go?

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Before I met my GF I never traveled… like ever. I used to think “I don’t care where I stay, I’ll sleep in my car if I have to as long as I can be (insert random travel destination here)” For someone who has never been anywhere I thought just being there would be enough. Then enter the GF into my life… who I might add, works in the hotel industry. She travels allll the freakin time! Since we met, we’ve been to San Francisco, St. Louis, Fort Lauderdale, and various cities around Michigan. Every time staying at some pretty nice hotels, but I never really gave them a second thought. (With the exception of the luxury resort in Florida, that place WAS the destination). That Is, until we opted to save some money and book cheap for our Mackinaw trip.

You may have read about our trip, and I touched on the cheapness of the motel, but not really in depth. It started immediately when we entered the room… it was about 40 degrees outside and maybe 50 degrees inside. Even though they knew we were coming the heat was shut off so the room was an icicle! Ok, no big deal, only there was a stale smell in the air as if the room hasn’t been used in weeks. We cranked the heat up and tried to use the exhaust fan in the bathroom to circulate the air a little but it took a good hour before things were comfortable.

Now I could nitpick the little stuff: the 2 pieces of art on the wall were identical right down to how faded they were. The bed was lumpy, there were only 2 small towels that were once white but now slightly yellowed… and they stunk like mildew. The soaps and shampoos smelled like a cheap whore. The electrical outlets were so worn that our phone chargers would fall right out of the wall. But really all of that could be overlooked.

It was the major stuff that really bothered me: for starters, there was hair in the shower drain… not a little hair, a big fucking clump of hair!! …the water ran cold for what seemed like 10 minutes and when it got up to temp it smelled funny. The bathroom was painted a odd blue color and on closer inspection it was done to hide all the nasty stains all over the walls. This got me looking closer at everything and I had come to the conclusion that this room hadn’t been cleaned properly in ages. Everywhere you look there was dirt and grossness. Even the in room coffee maker looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for a loooong time.  We got over the grossness factor long enough to get some sleep and wondered what awaited us at breakfast.

Morning came and we went into the little cafeteria thing for some complimentary breakfast. At first everything looked pretty good but when u got down to it there was just as much gross here as there was in the room. The waffle makers were old and had blackened caked on goo that was once batter (I hope). The toasters were cruddy and dirty, the coffee tasted like swill, most of the baked goods were on the verge of being stale. It was not very appetizing at all and the only prepackaged item they had were little mini yogurts.

Originally we had booked a nice hotel with a Mackinaw bridge view. It was rated #1 in the area according to Trip Advisor at a cost of $100 per night… not a bad price considering… but instead we opted for the $50 per night motel. What was the difference? Well, instead of coming back after a long day and watching the lights of the bridge flickering in the waves, holding hands or cuddling… we dreaded coming back to our smelly room to awkwardly sit on the bed and watch tv until we passed out.

I’m going to have to admit that I’m wrong on this one. It DOES matter where you stay. Maybe I’m superficial and spoiled but at least I’ll be enjoying my sleep as much as the rest of my trip from now on.