As those of you that follow my IG feed know, last month I got a chance to take a trip with my Husband to the U.S. East Coast. This was a trip we had been wanting to do for a while, but my full time office job did not allow me to take the time off I needed to make it happen. So, after transitioning to a (admittedly scary) full time self employed Blogger/Influencer business, we decided to take the opportunity for a little couple time and also reach out to some brands across the country.
My hubby’s cousin got us a great deal on some discount tickets, we just had to fly into Baltimore, Maryland. Since the first couple days of our trip was going to be in Washington D.C., Baltimore is a short 50 minute drive away from our destination and accommodations there are much cheaper than they are anywhere in the D.C. metro area. We got an amazing deal on a rental car through Priceline for just $29 per day. After arriving on our late afternoon/evening flight into Baltimore, we arrived around midnight.
Our 1st step was to pick up our rental car which was fairly straight forward. Making sure to avoid all the “Extra” insurance they try to sell (if you have full coverage insurance, you are likely covered for any damage to the rental car, so check with your insurer and don’t waste your money), we loaded up the car and headed in the direction of D.C.. Of course, arriving in the nations capital at 2 or 3 in the morning wont exactly work, so we set out looking for a reasonable Hotel or Motel in the east Baltimore area so we would be close to the city in the morning.
Our 1st attempt at finding good last minute deals on Priceline and Hotel.com was a bust, mostly because these online apps wont allow you to adjust for the fact that it is 1 a.m. in the morning and therefore wont let you select a room for that night and since we don’t want to check in for the next day, it wouldn’t work. We tried calling a couple of the best priced choices online and seeing if we could get a deal for the night since it was so late. After calling 3 different Hotel/Motel chains, we gave up and decided to just drive in the direction of our destination and see what came up. We knew the absolute worst case would have us taking a nap in the car, which we were almost prepared to do from the get go if the prices weren’t fair.
About 15 minutes west of D.C., the search on our phone told us there were several Hotels and Motels at the next highway exit and since most cities bundle their hotels in the same couple of block areas, we got off the highway to take a look. The 1st place we saw was a local Casino Affiliated hotel. Sometimes, if you arrive late and or sign up for their club/players card you can get a good deal. No luck in this case as they wanted $149 for a standard room which would actually be for less than 8 hours. This was an easy No thanks and we drove on. We saw a mid priced style Motel named The Garden Inn. It looked like a decent enough place and the sign outside said rooms for $49 per night! Sounds good to us, we just need a few hours sleep to start off our long day of touring.
After trying to wake the desk clerk who was sound asleep in his chair for a good minute or so, I was able to get us checked in. Except for his less than cheery and IDGAF attitude (which I chalked up to falling asleep while being all alone in the middle of the night), the lobby and surroundings looked modern and clean. The exterior of the building appeared pretty much the same. It appeared about as nice as we could expect for a budget hotel in the middle of the night. However, as we drove the car around to the back of the building where our room was located, we watched the clean and modern motel morph into a scene from a low budget horror film. We started seeing peeling paint, old exterior window air conditioners, a guy loitering near the edge of an exterior hallway and the hubby was convinced he was doing something nasty as he was facing the wall in the shadows…ewww..
We found a parking spot finally in a surprisingly cramped and crowded parking area near where our room was and grabbed our few bags (I’ll talk later about how we traveled with only carry on luggage for a 5 day trip) and headed towards the entrance as directed on the motel map. As we stepped inside, we immediately were hit with a moldy, musty smell which had a clear hint of urine and smoke. We glanced at each other as we surveyed the area around the elevator which was doing nothing to alleviate our 1st impressions. The window at the end of the hall was broken, air conditioner rattling, little pieces of trash were strewn around next to the occasional cigarette butt. The elevator door opening kind of woke us from our dazed trance and we reluctantly stepped into the elevator being careful to avoid the puddle of what we prayed was just water from the rain outside and we pressed our floor button. A minute later, we rattled to a jerky stop and our door opened at our floor. At 1st, I thought maybe I had dozed off and started to dream and I was now in a 1970’s movie about a crack house. Trash, dirty carpet not cleaned since
Obama’s 1st term and not changed since Ronald Reagan (which was before I was old enough to walk BTW). The wallpaper (Yes, I said wallpaper) was right out of a disco and had probably been there since disco was popular. We walked as quick as we could to our room as we just wanted to get inside and get some sleep, so we could move on.
We were optimistic for about 60 seconds as we just wanted to get some sleep and thought “well, it must be hard to maintain such a large common area” and didn’t want to be negative on our 1st day of our trip. Our optimism was short lived as we stepped into our room. The 1st thing I noticed was a beigeish yellow blanket as a bed spread across the bed. It literally had a couple of holes and no less than 6-7 obvious large stains on it. The TV was a relic from the 1990’s and its remote had tape holding the batteries in. The carpet in the room was in very bad need of replacing (when I was about 12) and equally as stained as the bed spread. On the wall, the hubby pointed out what appeared to be blood streaks, which could have been the result of the end of a jumbo roach, or even possible human blood. We didn’t know, and didn’t want to know. I turned on the light in the bathroom not sure what I would find, but had ideas already based upon what I had seen so far. Annnnnnndddd, yep… I was right. On cue, running from the lights were 2 little roaches running across the floor. I give out the expected yell of “Ewwww!” and almost at the same moment, the hubby yells out “Gross” from the other room. I stepped out to see him holding that “not so attractive” bed spread up above the bed and he says “we have bugs in the bed”, I said, “in the bathroom too” I said. That was it, we were out of the door as fast as we could. We headed to the office to demand an immediate refund and complain about the accommodations.
As we could have probably predicted, the clerk was again sound asleep in his chair. After several attempts and some moderate shouting, he woke with the same courteous attitude as before. We informed him that we wanted to check out and get a refund. He didn’t blink and didn’t even pause to ask why, he just started typing in the computer. Clearly this was not the first time someone has returned minutes later to request a refund. He just continued to ignore us as we tried in vain to shock him with tales of how bad the room was. Minutes later he hands us a refund credit card slip without a single word in rebuttal. Not an apology, no remorse of any kind about the shape of the room he sent us to. Even when my hubby asked him straight out, “is this normal? DO people actually sleep in that filth?” The clerk just looked at him with a frown and passed him the refund receipt. This was just as a guy comes through the front doors and asks, “do you have vacancies?” “Don’t do it” my husband says. “The worst rooms I have ever seen” he said. Ok, thanks said the man , as he turned and walked back out the door. The hubby and I finished our night out just down the road at a Motel 6, where we paid $7 more for the night, yet received a extremely modest, yet clean 2.5 star motel stay that was just good enough to allow us a few hours of sleep, so we could start our first full day in America’s capital.
Stay tuned to my blog for the next installment of our east coast adventure. One little hint, the next installment is filled with far more photos and much less drama. I cant wait to share our experience. See you online Loves.