10 Signs That You’ve Booked a Bad Hotel
by Cindy Haney
We just returned from our annual family summer vacation, exhausted but refreshed. My two teen-aged daughters actually got along swimmingly and managed to survive the road trip without dying of boredom. We even had some fun without drowning or choking any member of the family.
We became Beach Bums for a few days, playing in the surf, sunbathing and eating plenty of seafood. The only thing that was less than thrilling was the unimpressive, lame hotel. As I said in an earlier blog, this was a Cheap-O year for us, so we stayed in a “Budget Hotel”. If you’ve ever done any kind of traveling, you already know what that means.
This got me thinking about all of the hotel experiences of our family’s past. There is one hotel that stands out as, by far, the absolute worst hotel in entire the country. We made the ill-fated mistake of staying at a hotel called The Velda Rose in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in the Summer of 2009. (You should Google this hotel, you will be horrified.) This is the stuff of family legend, my friend. We have laughingly enjoyed years of jokes and made-up stupid songs about this place (*See the stupid song my brother and I wrote at the bottom of this post!) Since then, every hotel we consider is measured by the worst-case, bottom-line standard of The Velda Rose. Such as, “Hey, there’s roaches crawling all over us, but at least it’s not as bad as The Velda Rose.” Then we laugh until we fall over.
When remembering The Velda Rose, we also have to remember to thank the Lord Jesus that we all survived the terrifying experience without being murdered or contracting a venereal disease. We later found out the place was on the National Registry of Haunted Places, so no wonder! Everything made sense after that. Stepping into the lobby of this place was like stepping into the 1940’s Bates Motel. The parking garage was inhabited by bums and ganstas ready to steal our bodily organs. The place had the funky, moldy smell of decaying corpses and the 1940’s elevators were most definitely haunted. The defunct pool looked like a crime scene and, judging from the scowls on their faces, the staff was clinically depressed.
It was late at night when we arrived and all of the other hotels in the area were booked for the weekend, so we had no choice but to beg God to keep us alive until we could check out and get the hell out of there the next morning. The room looked like it hadn’t been updated or even cleaned since 1941. My brother made the mistake of taking his shoes off and walking on the filthy carpet. His feet turned so black that he couldn’t get the sticky black grime off for a week! What the heck was that crap? We still don’t know. There was a bullet hole in the window, too, which is, um, never a good sign.
And the list of amenities at the lovely Velda Rose continued: we enjoyed a toenail on the coffee table, several unmistakable boogers stuck to the wall, a hairy non-working shower, and scores of armed murderers walking down the hallways screaming obscenities all night. I don’t even want to think about what could have been on those sheets. So we laid towels on the beds and slept in our clothes with our shoes on, in case we had to make a run for our lives down the fire escape. A truly terrifying experience at the time, but hilarious today. Ahhh, yes, The Velda Rose…forever the stuff of family legend.
So this year’s hotel experience wasn’t nearly that terrible. We did have a family of bowling enthusiasts directly above us who like to practice their bowling skills at convenient times of the day, such as at 4:30 in the morning. And there was also some pretty shady characters having some sort of family picnic in the parking garage. Also, upon opening the window, we had a breathtaking view of a huge grey cement water treatment tank. Oh, and driving through the surrounding neighborhood, I often wished I was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Other than that, at least it was clean and booger-free, and pretty much non-memorable. Maybe non-memorable is a very good thing.
So for all of you family-vacationers out there, I’ve put together a checklist for you. If you see any of these things upon arrival at your Budget Hotel, grab your children and run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit!
Ten Ways to Tell if You’ve Booked a Bad Hotel:
- The check-in lady has five facial piercings, a colorful neck tattoo, and pleasantly greets you with a missing-tooth grin through bullet-proof glass.
- Cops are circling the building every five minutes.
- Questionable characters are wearing chains and saggy pants and smoking strange things in the hallways.
- The hotel rents by the hour, or is a live-in residential hotel. Keep in mind that people who “live” in hotels are either eccentric millionaires or serial killers who like to store their corpses in the hotel ice machines.
- Most of the online hotel reviews are left by people with names like “The Night Stalker”. If Google reveals that your hotel has been used as a Kill Site, you might want to move on.
- The website is totally crappy and looks like it was created with Microsoft FrontPage 97. Most respectable hotels put a lot of time and effort into their websites, which is why you should be very suspicious of a website that puts everything on their home page in red italics. You know what else is red? BLOOD. This might be a murder hotel.
- Hallways from Hell. You know those nightmares you have where you’re running frantically along a low-ceilinged hallway, being chased by a crazed lunatic, but you can never seem to reach the end of it? Enough said.
- Dated Décor. If your room doesn’t look like it was furnished sometime in the last two decades, you should probably stay somewhere else. I’m not saying that your hotel room needs to look like a spread from Architectural Digest, but please say “no” to oversized botanical-print bedspreads or generic tropical posters from the Dollar Store.
- Out of Date Electronics. If you’ve got a blurry TV picture from a 1970s Zenith television, a K-Mart alarm clock, no wi-fi, and an A/C that blows only warm, moldy air, then you might want to re-think your choice of hotels.
- And finally, if you open your closet door and discover a chute leading down to a secret Body Parts Storage Chamber, you might want to get the hell out of there. Don’t bother stopping for a refund.
I hope these tips help. As with most things in life, especially when it comes to hotels, you truly do get what you pay for. So if you’re like my husband, and the most important goal on vacation is to, by God, SAVE A FEW BUCKS, then you won’t let a few pesky details like murderers in the hallways spoil your fun. No, siree!
Above all, we made some magical memories, and managed to stay alive as well. That’s how you know it was a big success! But I can’t seem to get this black stuff off my toes…..
* ODE TO THE VELDA ROSE: (Sung to the tune of “DELTA DAWN”)
Velda Rose, what’s that black stuff on my toes?
Could it be some dirty shit from days gone by?
And did I hear ya’ say, there were ghosts in the hallway
To take us to our gravestones in the nigh-y-ight.
Velda Rose, what’s that smell fillin’ up my nose?
Could it be a rotting corpse underneath my bed?
There’s boogers on the wall and murderers in the hall
And toenails and body hair that someone shed-y-d!