Being a budget-minded traveler, I am slightly more limited with accommodation choices compared to the average Joe. I never plan to spend much time in the hotel room, so it doesn’t need to be fancy or have exquisite amenities. My biggest concerns are Price, Safety, and Cleanliness.
Now, sometimes my price limit means I end up in a real sketchy hotel.
This is the story of that hotel.
I felt totally awesome booking it. The location was a perfect distance away from downtown St. Louis. The price was just right, and none of the reviews raised any red flags.
As the sun began to set on day 2 of our road trip, my brother and I drove down the street that housed our hotel. We each searched the sides of the road for some sign or hotel-looking structure. A small and white sign pointed the way to our hotel, around a patchily paved stretch of road. We followed and ended up in a small parking lot, surrounded by a one story stretch of building that was our resting place for the next two nights. I had my brother stay in the car while I checked in at the front desk.
Now, when I say “front desk”, I need you to picture this:
Enter a small, dimly lit, bathroom-sized room. There is a half wall in front of you that extends the length of room, with bullet-proof glass from the top of the wall to the ceiling. There is a half-circle cut out of the bottom about the size of a grapefruit. The glass is plastered with handwritten notifications for the guests. One in particular catches my eye, advising that the rooms are not to be used for prostitution and that all they will call the cops on all prostitutes that use their rooms. Behind the glass is a lock box for room keys and a mini fridge.
“Hello?” I called out. A young woman came from a side room and smiled at me. “You are checking in?”
I answered yes and handed over my driver’s license and credit card. I could hear a tv somewhere in the back, but I was unable to make out what was playing. I signed something agreeing that I’d abide by quiet hours, that I wasn’t a prostitute, and that I was liable for anything stolen from my car. The woman grabbed two water bottles out of the mini-fridge and squeezed them through the hole in the glass.
I thanked the woman and walked back to my car, nervously laughing to myself.
My brother and I got our things from the car and found our room. I put the key in the door and pushed it open. My eyes just about came out of my head and I immediately started laughing uncontrollably.
The first thing that knocked me off my feet were the walls.
The cement bricks. The green. The electrical outlets a foot from the ceiling. The blue paint framing the…tv? dresser thing?
The headboard of the bed even got some nice blue framework:
Notice the matching bed comforter.
Once we got over the initial hilarity of our room decor, we had to check out the state of the bathroom. I was kind of hoping it would be bright yellow with maybe some purple polka dots?
Nah, it was pretty drab. Except for… oh wait…the door handle was missing!
And that’s not all folks. The door didn’t fit in the frame. This is how we kept the door closed:
Classy stuff right there
All in all, we got what we paid for.
Okay, maybe a bathroom door handle should have been included in the price. Or at least offered for a small fee?
Aside from being 89% sure that snakes were going to come out of the drain while I was showering, the room was not all that bad. Nobody tried to break in and rob us. Nobody got attacked by cockroaches or bedbugs. And we were still only a 5 minute drive from the St. Louis Gateway Arch!
So yes, the hotel was sketchy and quite tacky, but I’m sure there are worse out there.
What is the sketchiest place you’ve stayed in? Share below!