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Wheels on the bike go round and round 24: Non-Quality Inn Wheels on the bike go round and round 24: Non-Quality Inn
by Mike Jennett
2009-07-21 09:42:51
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We are now almost half way across the United States. Each day blends into the previous and most are little more than a pedal slog to reach the next town.

Yes, there are odd restaurants that stand out, nights to be remembered and tourist sights to gawp at, but go buy a Bill Bryson book if you want a travelogue – I just squirt out lines of prose when I feel inspired.

I have now stayed in around 25 hotels during the last month. That’s quite enough to feel a sense of irritating repetition over unpacking, packing, unwrapping soaps, the general laundry routine and setting up the laptop. I dream of the day when I can spend more than 2 consecutive nights in the same place. Forget the Nirvana of reaching a hotel without using a van – to not go through that routine and to come in to an already-prepared computer station now seems like heaven.

Twenty-five hotels in that short period is not just a lot, it’s enough to rant about spectacularly bad places and notice trends in the others.

You’d think that cleaners would notice blocked sinks, missing plugs, telephones without cables to connect them to the wall, non-working lights or toilets that don’t flush and report them to maintenance, but evidently not. Perhaps they’re too busy making beds for midgets – with the covers turned over at what would be waist height for a normal human.

My room at the Indio Super 8 suffered all of the above. Outside, the hotel appeared to be in the process of either construction or destruction and all sunshades in the courtyard except one were broken and rotted. We – the guests – had to construct a solar barrier by mounting the dead shades on top of the single healthy one to behind which to shelter and enjoy the free burgers thoughtfully provided by the management, presumably as an unspoken apology for the sad state of their premises.

I’m always curious about the plethora of minor curiosities and things that don’t work when I check into a new hotel. Will the wi-fi internet appear on demand? If it needs a pass code, why didn’t the front desk supply it automatically, without me having to find that it doesn’t work on demand and then call them?

Why is there no guard on the A/C to prevent the air shooting up inside billowing curtains? Why is there a plaque in the bathroom asking me to conserve water by re-using towels, but no offer of a discount for doing so - thereby saving the hotel money and work?

Why does the in-room coffee taste like old carpet, no matter how strong I make it? Why, in a room set up for two people, is there usually only one regular coffee sachet and one decaf? Does a couple have to share – or fight over who gets the buzz?

I can understand the wish to reduce costs, but if the management is prepared to charge a standard price, then they should also provide the quality given elsewhere – and not cut corners to make a buck.

It’s generally the foreign run hotels that are the worst – this is an observation, not an unfair bias. They’re the ones whose rooms shout at you, “My new owner has spent absolutely nothing on me and has every intention of maintaining that level of expenditure.”

They usually sport tatty curtains, broken fixtures, a TV the size of a small car that screams ‘1975”, a shower curtain without enough hooks, tiny soaps that shatter when you pry off the wrapper, an empty tissue dispenser so you have to use toilet paper to blow your nose and shampoo that makes your hair smell like the floor.

I once stayed in a hotel in Palm Springs – long gone – where the curtains hung irregularly by odd pieces of wire and the beige carpet had so many cigarette burns it looked like a Dalmatian. I had to ask for toilet paper, since none was provided when I arrived, only to be greeted with a 15 second stare of wonder at the front desk, before a half-used roll was handed over. Mind you, having spent time in India, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

At least I could blow my nose.

Read more at: www.mikeonwheels.com OR www.wheelsonthebikegoroundandround.blogspot.com     


  
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