2022 Cross-country Drive (Part 3: Lodging)

For those who travel a lot, myself included a long while back, talking about lodging is not very interesting. Unless the room is spectacular or perhaps a grim experience, most of us have experienced average hotel rooms. The biggest fail here, in the context of my trip, is not taking pictures of the single worst room I have experienced in decades, while taking pictures of all the other good rooms.

Despite the three week trip and planning over a month in advance, I only made reservations in New York and Washington D.C. I figured I would just play it by ear for the rest knowing finding a place to stay might be tricky some nights. The very first night, after a long drive through Kansas, I stopped at the ‘Days Inn by Wyndham near Kansas Speedway’. Back in the day, some 20 years ago, a Days Inn was just fine for a quick night’s sleep and little time in the room. That’s exactly what that night was, arrived by 9pm and planned to be out by 9am.

The person at the desk told me $110 for the night which was a surprise. I expected a price bump but that was up from the old days of $40 a night. I said fine, just wanted to rest. Big mistake as the room was a dungeon. It had a single overhead light and no others except the bathroom. No switch near the bed, no power outlet by the bed, and when you turned off that one light it also turned off the outlet next to it, meaning I woke up to a phone that hadn’t charged. The furniture was old with serious signs of wear, the tiles in the bathroom didn’t even have grout and slid around. The room was tiny, it had definitely been smoked in, and offered little comfort.

After that I decided to stay at a Marriott property every night I could as I had good experience with that chain in the past. My first professional experience was a three and a half month stay in a Courtyard Inn in fact, and I didn’t even get points for it as no one offered to sign me up for the loyalty program. Eventually I did on a subsequent stay, but after years of no travel my account got deleted anyway. I signed up on this trip for fun and the first night got $4 off my $299 room! By the end of the trip I reached Silver Elite status which clearly means I am a hotel rock star. At some point, the rooms kind of blend together.

Honestly, I don’t even know if those are all Marriott properties. Despite intending to stay at them, Google led me astray a couple times. When searching for “Marriott Hotels & Resorts”, twice it led me to non-Marriott locations without any indication it was doing so. Every night, regardless of location or chain, there seemed to be at least one minor problem. Generally not enough to complain but it speaks to how bad it is when you pay up to $300 a night and have to deal with such issues.

  • 5/26 – Marriott no hot water
  • 5/27 – No bottle of water, TV went out 11:15p, no trash can in bathroom
  • 5/28 – 1:30a building fire alarm for almost 15 minutes. Ended up being false alarm.
  • 5/28 – Movie playback problems
  • 6/2 – Cable went out 2:40p mid-movie, many times after including the final minutes of another movie
  • 6/3 – No cold water in bathroom sink faucet, no toilet paper roller
  • Many Marriott properties: 39 North products in shower have a 100pt logo for the name, and 10pt font for the actual product (shampoo, body wash, etc.). This is ridiculous and they should never use that product again.
  • 6/5 – Marriott Atlanta – I had to argue to have the desk person give me a room after he said all reservations must be done online or with app (yet no prior night had that issue). No DND door hanger in the room.
  • 6/4 – TV Roku menu popped up every minute, literally, and couldn’t disable. The back door internal lock required banging with a butter knife to open, no TV in bedroom.

Some of these problems you can see should never be an issue. Little things that any staff member should find quickly and fix before a customer occupies the room. And yet… there I was. With that, I will leave you with the biggest “uh…” picture from my lodgings. Your guess is as good as mine.

3 responses to “2022 Cross-country Drive (Part 3: Lodging)”

    • A little part of me was curious… would it give me superpowers? Then I thought, “my superpower would be making more Google sheets” or something.

  1. Damn. The place I stayed back home was $90 a night and in a super dodgy part of town, but the staff was amazing, my room was super clean, everything worked, and I’ve never felt a bed so comfortable. Plus, they had some really neat birds in the lobby. Sounds like I lucked out more than I thought.

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