Friday, January 8, 2016
The Hotel Snob
There are many factors that folks take into account when choosing a hotel. I think cost and location are the two big factors but things like having a pool or continental breakfast are important to some people also. To me, however, cleanliness trumps all of them.
Over the last few years it seems that I have acquired a reputation as a hotel snob. At least that's what my wife claims. To a certain extent she's correct. I have no issue with sleeping on the ground in or out of a tent. I've slept in the back of pick up trucks and on one occasion I even slept under a truck but that's a story for another time. The point is that when you're camping there is a certain level of dirtiness that comes along with it. I get it. No problems from me. Why is that? Because it's through my own actions that I'm in the situation and I know where and what I've been doing the entire time. It feels safe to me but a hotel room is something different.
I'm sure most of us have had an experience where we checked in to a place and found the room to be not quite what we expected even though you did your research and read many reviews. Some things you can ignore while others you can't. In my mind though, people can be just plain disgusting. The thought of spending the night in other peoples filth makes me want to scratch my skin off. I can't handle it. So in order for me to suspend the reality that others have slept in the bed that I'm about to lay down on, the room has to be presented to me like "new" or at least clean.
The worst experience I've had was in a hotel room my wife and I stayed at in Anaheim, California ten years ago. Back then we didn't have a lot of money and we were traveling with friends that were in a similar situation as we were. We found a hotel that had good reviews and we felt comfortable staying there. I imagine that if you were standing with me when I opened the door to that room you would have witnessed the color fade from my face for a brief moment before turning beat red with anger. The ceiling was half drywall and the other half was drop tile ceiling like you would find in an office. The tiles were stained yellow and sagged from water damage that I imagine came from someone in the room above that forgot they were running the bath water and just left for the day. Yes it was that bad. I don't know what color the carpet originally was but it sure wasn't the dark brown and black that presented itself to me on that day but it did seem to match the comforter on the bed, though. The shower had to be my favorite part. The plumbing must have had some kind of leak because there was now a 3/4" PVC pipe running from the tub's spout up the wall to a shower head with straps holding it to the fiber glass enclosure. It was great. I felt so nasty in the place that I slept on top of the sheets and refused to walk across the floor without shoes on. I really can't explain how bad I thought the place was. My wife claims to this day that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was and that I was over reacting but whatever, to me it was bad. I promise you this though. If I had had the money to change hotels during that trip I would have.
Those things can happen in a nicer place too. Not too long ago we stayed in a suite where two out of the three beds had blood stained sheets on them. Now before your imagination runs too wild it was more like someone had a bloody nose rather than a murder. It was gross. I couldn't believe that a reputable hotel would allow such an over site. There were a couple of other things that bothered us too but it had nothing to do with cleanliness but I wanted to make sure that I mentioned that I've had bad experiences in nice places as well as dumpier places.
It's true that I'm extra careful now when researching and booking hotels but I know that things aren't going to be perfect at every location I visit. I'm more careful than I am picky when it comes to hotels at this point and if that makes me a "snob" then so be it. But in the end it's more important to enjoy my adventures then it is to worry about whether the maid really washed my towels the night before. That's really why I'm there. And to be fair if I hadn't had these experiences I wouldn't have such fun stories to tell.
So the moral of the story. Know what features you want in a hotel. Research the property as much as possible from as many sources as possible. Be prepared for anything and save room in your budget to run far far away. Good luck travelers. See you next week.