Hitting The No-Name Motels for Fun, Safety and Value

Whenever you travel you face the agest oldest debate of working with the name brand chains versus going somewhere smaller, though ostensibly equally convenient motels for you accommodations. Take it from me, the reputable name is far more than it may seem, and not just because you’ll be more sure of avoiding a landslide of criminal drug addicts.

I know it sounds basic — and I’ll get serious for a second because it is — but wherever there are discount motels there’s sure to be a gaggle of derelicts, drug addicts and overzealous innkeepers. I wish I could say I know this in some indirect way, but our hotel reservation at the Mark Hopkins got all messed up somewhere between the corporate rep who promised us a room and the onsite general manager (who is apparently too new to know how to make a booking stick without being mean about whose fault it was).

We took an hour, drove the famous stretch of Highway 101 along Lombard Street, and checked out all of our best options for an affordable, reasonable room, but what we got was neither affordable nor reasonable. There were some conventions in town so even though the banners out front all offered spectacular rates, nothing was available for less than twice the price.

We ended up paying more than double what we expected and the room we got was not just dilapidated, but disgusting. Nevermind that the parking was nearly non-existent; the bed was falling down in one corner, half the outlets didn’t work, it smelled like an armpit on vacation and half the building didn’t go to sleep until two in the morning.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with roadside motels, but stick with the big names you know and trust. You won’t pay more for using the big guys, you’ll just skip the madness of lying 7-feet beneath a crack party and the worry of laying on sheets that may or may not have been washed within my own lifetime.

Above – It may not look like much, but don’t be fooled by my snark, it isn’t.

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