What's the cheapest hotel you ever stayed at? Did it suck?

I always see signs in the middle of nowhere for hotels at $19.99 a night and I think, Norman Bates? Has anyone stayed at an el cheapo room?

My cheapest room was $39.99 in Georgia outside of Atlanta. It was a name hotel and I got a corporate rate by giving them my business card even though I just waalked in at 2AM. They were really nice, even letting me sleep in an extra two hours after check-out at their suggestion because I checked in so late/early.

Any other cheap hotel stories?

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I stayed in a Days Inn south of Dallas. It was about $39/night, and while it didn’t exactly suck…well, all that was near it was a Denny’s and a truck stop, so for food that evening I had the MRE’s I had the foresight to bring along, and washed them down with drinks from the truck stop. The “continental breakfast” they advertised was cheap orange juice and glazed donuts at the front desk.

Didn’t suck (and the bed was comfy) but it was kinda crummy.

When I was in the military in Biloxi, MS, in 1973 a bunch of us piled into a rented Lincoln and headed to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Problem was, this was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of roadtrip and we had no room reservations.

The first night some of us slept in the car just out on the streets. A couple of guys slept in the open trunk. A few others bundled up beneath the car. (I slept on the floor of the car.)

The next night we decided to find a room. After hours of driving we ended up in a ramshackle, downright scary neighborhood–at least it was scary to a bunch of eighteen-y.o. white kids from the suburbs. We got a room at a place that may or may not have been an official hotel. It cost us maybe $15 for all eight of us. One bed. One bare-bulbed lamp. The room had a fireplace, but one that had stuff growing in it; we didn’t look that closely. The place was incredibly musty and damp, and the building was so shaky that the upper floor moved back and forth a little when we would walk and stop. We were actually afraid the place would collapse. Well, we pulled the bed apart; a few guys slept on the mattress on the floor, a few guys slept on the funky boxspring (also laid out on the floor), and a few others slept on jackets spread across pushed-together wooden slats that had supported the boxspring in the frame. Two guys gave up and slept down in the car.

In the morning we didn’t even bother asking about the continental breakfast.

I don’t think anyone will beat this one. I used to drive all over rural Alberta doing deliveries, and tried to end my day in a larger town or city with a reasonable hotel or motel. One night I just couldn’t make it, and had to stay in a very small town, forget the name now, outside of Peace River. The hotel there was just an excuse for a beer parlour, the bartender didn’t even know if they had rooms. She went and got the owner, a young fellow who explained that they were doing renovations, and I might not like the rooms. I replied “It’s got to be better than sleeping in the truck.”, and he said “What’s your truck like?” I asked to see the room. It was bad, and only had one bed. No rooms with two beds, the guy said, so I asked the price. He thought for a second and said “Ten bucks?” I said,“I’ll take two.”
So the room was okay, being as all we did was drop into our beds and sleep. The bathroom was down the hall, and there was no shower, just a tub. Complete with plastic play toys. We got up, bathed, and had to do our deliveries there before eating, because the town had no restaurant.
My boss was very pleased with my expense report that trip, suggested I stay there every week!

Motel 6 was called that because a single room cost $6 in the mid 70s. Very nice and well worth twice that, so they raised the price.

Summer '96, £5/night, bunk beds in a room over a bar off an alleyway in Amsterdam’s red-light district. I don’t remember whether I liked it or not.

Hospedaje Ramos, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. They charged 1,750 pesetas a night for a single, which worked out to around $12 at last summer’s exchange rate. At the restaurant downstairs, I got a three-course meal with half a bottle of wine for around $8.

And it was very, very nice. Basic but clean, and my room even had a view of the cathedral. I’m definitely staying there again on my next trip.

When I was in Prague, May 1998, I stayed in a hostel that cost me 250 koruna a night (about $7.50, then; nowadays it’s probably closer to $6.25).

The hostel was really a collej, a dormitory. An old dormitory. But, I shared a room with a really nice German guy, just like I did in my first few years of college. There were toilets and showers down the hall, and they were filthy. Even by my own “oh, I’ll clean the bathroom next weekend” laxidasical standards, they were wretched. I could barely breathe in the toilets because there was no ventilation at all and they hadn’t been cleaned since Havel was in jail.

The showers were okay, but I’m glad my roommate had flip-flops with him that I could borrow, because the tile floor was cold and yucky.

Anyway, $7.50 a night was too good of a deal to back out on, especially since hotels that week were hard to find and pricey.

I love staying at el cheapo motels and The Oriole Motel in, IIRC, Lynchburg, VA takes top honors.

I was biking south from NYC and decided that I deserved a bed instead of a campsite this night. The woman at the 7-11 saw me with the yellow pages looking for a place to crash in town, and engaged me in conversation. After she suggested a number of places, I asked which one she thought would be the cheapest. “If you want the cheapest, that would be the Oriole. Maybe twenty bucks a night. It’s run by a family of rummies at the end of town.” (Incidentally, that the first time I ever heard of someone use the term “rummy” outside of the bar scene in It’s a Wonderful Life.)

Sure enough, behind the counter, in the reception room of the OM was a father and his three or four sons (aged, say, 16 to 22) – all stoned-to-the-gills – sleeping it off on a couch, playing pool, and watching Liquid Television on a pawn-shop TV. The soberest one of the lot took my $18 (cash, of course) and showed me to a room that defies description.

The mismatched colors and styles of the furnishings were like an LSD trip as seen through a pile of broken glass while wearing cardboard 3-D glasses. Cigarette burns – everywhere – were the only consistant design feature. There was one or two roaches (the moving kind… I probably could have found the other variety, but I didn’t look).

But hey, the hot water worked, and the bed was clean, albeit ancient. Exhaused, I slept like a log – yes, without being ax-murdered in the middle of the night. I slipped out the next morning and kept pedalling south.

To this day, I consider paying anything over $18/night at any motel as a rip-off. (Smilie here.)

On my trek across country in the spring of ‘99, I was on a budget, so “cheap motels” was my mantra. My first stop was in Buffalo, so officially that was the cheapest at $0. On the other hand, my uncle’s house isn’t officially a motel so I gues that doesn’t count.
Next stop - South Bend, Indiana - Super 8 Motel - $45 (IIRC). What a freakin’ dump. The halls smelled like urinals, the rug was torn up in one corner of the room, there was some sort of gunk on the table (I don’t even want to fathom a guess at what it might have been) and the lock on the door looked like it had recently been jimmied. I didn’t like it, to say the least.
My next 3 stops were in Nebraska, Wyoming and Nevada. At all three, I chose Motel 6 - about $40. These are really nice cheap motels. Each one had a pool, friendly customer service, well kept rooms and most imortantly, secure locks.
So in this case a 6 beats an 8.

Ugh. When I was a sophomore at NYU, we had to move out of the dorms on May 30. My boyfriend and I were sharing a summer sublet that began on June 1, so we needed somewhere to stay for two nights. We had very little money.

We stayed at the St. Mark’s Hotel, and if you are familiar with the East Village, you will know that hotel is essentially a flophouse. I obviously did not have a firm grasp on that concept at the time. It was $25 a night for a double room with private bathroon.

The sheets were stamped “LA County Jail.” I opened the closet, and the floor was littered with used needles. I assume they were used, I didn’t examine them that closely. I was so freaked out by this that I insisted the boyfriend move the dresser to block the closet door (I had these visions of sleepwalking and opening the closet and stepping on a needle). When the dresser was moved, there was a rust-colored splatter stain on the wall behind it. I don’t know if it was blood, but it could have been. We moved the dresser back and took our chances with the closet.

The strange part (or one of the strange parts) was that the bathroom had been redecorated recently, and was actually quite nice.

The amazing thing is that we did in fact stay there for the two nights. We simply didn’t have the money to go anywhere else.

Back in the late 60’s a friend of mine and I decided to do something really stupid. We went downtown and got ouselves a room at the oldest hotel in town. We couldn’t stop laughing all the whole night. The room price? $2.00. Came complete with a bathroom down the hall. :D:D

My best and worst hotel experiences oddly enough happened at the same place.

Don’t laugh : South of the Border.

It was during our honeymoon and we decided to drive from Rhode Island to DisneyWorld in June in a little white Subaru with no air conditioning. The second day of our trip we had expected to make it as far as Brunswick, Georgia, but we started to get tired after a few hours, the heat started to get to us, so we decided to stop at SOTB. I had been there a few times before, so I was fairly familiar with it.

Being on our honeymoon, we decided to go all out, so we got one of their big suites and it was beautiful. Nice big room, beautiful bed, hugh swimming pool with a jacuzzi which, for some reason we had all to ourselves. Parking right outside our door. Cable TV which back then was a big thing. Everything was perfect and the price, I think, fairly reasonable at about $70 for the night.

Of course, on the way back we decided to hit it again but since by this time our funds were starting to dry up, we went for one of the smaller, cheaper rooms : about $30 a night IIRC. It was terrifying. The sheets were damp, the parking lot looked like it hadn’t been managed in years, I think we may have even found a cockroach crawling out of one of the sinks. Even the food at the restaurant, which had been excellent on the way down was lousy this time around. I think we ended up ordering a pizza from a nearby Pizza Hut.

So, if you’re going to stay at SOTB, either go the whole hog, or don’t go at all.

Our frat one time went on a road trip to U-Mich to watch a football game. This was planned a bit in advance but apparently no one told our brother frat at the university. Either that or they didn’t care and basically ignored us for the weekend. Anyway, the first night we slept in their lobby. Carpetted, but still rock hard. If the door was opened down the hall a gust of air about two degrees off absolute zero came whipping through the lobby, waking us all up. That is, assuming the loud creek of the door didn’t do it already.

Next night many of us said “screw this.” and got a motel room. $80 a night. Room was actually quite nice…for 2 people. Comfortable for 4. You pack 10 people in there and you can’t see the floor anymore. Many people claimed beds. I didn’t get one. My superior debating skills came into play here: “Fuck you, sophomore, move your ass out of the bed right now.”

Then of course we all had to get cabs to go anywhere. Nothing was remotely within walking distance. All in all, a fine college trip.

Just got back from working out of town all week. We stayed at a Quality Inn, $60 a night. Not cheap in the $$$ sense, but customer service sucked.

One of our guys’ rooms smelled like pee, and when he mentioned it to the clerk, the clerk said “would you like to check out?” Not “would you like another room?” or “we’ll take care of it”. (There were other rooms available.)

Another guy’s room had an AC unit in the window. The unit was stuck in the open position, and cold air blew in all the time. He mentioned it, but by the third day, it still wasn’t fixed. He finally covered it with towels to block some of the draft.

I’ve never actually stayed there, but if I were single again and headed toward Walt Disney World, I’d head straight for the Orlando/Kissimmee Resort Hostel. At $17/night, it’s cheap even by Kissimmee standards. Everything I’ve ever read about it has given it nothing but high praise. There are a couple of downsides, though: you’ll be placed a dorm-like room with up to five other men/women; and only one TV for the whole place (which means that if it’s Tuesday night, you may miss Dark Angel if you don’t call dibs on the TV first).

Now, for my story:

One afternoon a few summers ago I was driving west on I-44 headed back to college in Joplin, MO. At about 6:30 I get so sleepy that my truck swerves back and forth across the lane a couple of times. Even though I’m only 2 1/2 hours from home, and I have to be at work the next morning, I figure it’s dangerous for me to be on the road. Thus, I enjoyed :wink: my one and only stay at The American Inn. It stank of cigarettes and pee and the room was dark and dreary. But it had two things going for it: $23 per night and they took Amex.

Looking through my journals from last summer, I see that I had even cheaper digs in Dublin – about $10 a night. Can’t recommend the place, though. Here’s what I had to say about it:

Oh, the joys of hosteling.

When I lived in Leeds, England in 1993-94 I occasionally had to do research in London. Since money was tight I was staying in a run-down youth hostel there for about £15 a night (already fantastically cheap by London standards). But on one trip there I saw a place nearby that was offering £10 a night, or about $14.50 by today’s prices. Although the was about the size of a broom closet, it was liveable–there was a TV on a stand at the end of the bed, and a sink and mirror along one wall. I decided that, when I went home to the States, I was going to stay there (it was on the Picadilly tube line, on the way to Heathrow).

BIG MISTAKE. This time, my £10 paid for a room so small the only floor space was where the door swung into the room. The only way I could get to the sink (which, BTW, had no hot water) was to crawl over the bed. There was a TV, again, but this time it only showed static. I didn’t care about that so much as the damp patches all over the walls and the ceiling, and the water pipe which was leaking out into one corner of the bed. Oh, and the door didn’t actually lock, either. It didn’t matter–when I wedged my suitcase into the space in front of the door it was as tightly shut as the doors on the space shuttle. The manager charmingly dismissed my concerns about the state of the room with a wave of his hand and the words “Sorry. No more room. All room full.” Early on in the night I decided there was no point in trying to sleep–but, as there was nothing else to do, I just sat on the dry part of the bed and listened to police sirens for the next eight hours.

So, yes, that was a bad experience…

An EconoLodge in Kentucky. I don’t remember the cost, but suffice to say it was cheap as highway motels go. We went into the room and it looked like a normal motel room. Pulled back the covers and found a dead brown beetle on the sheet. Okay, we can handle one dead beetle. About an hour later we decide to adjust the heating; it was one of those electric radiators with a lid on top and the controls under the lid. We lifted the lid and discovered that the large space underneath, which housed the dials, was literally overflowing with dead brown beetles. There must have been hundreds of them. It was horrible.

Fortunately, I don’t have any myself, but I did witness the one that befell my family. Y’all will be hard-pressed to top this one:

Mom, Dad and my brother came to town while I was in college so that we could all go see my college football team play. It was “Family Day” weekend, and Dad hadn’t made any reservations. Every decent hotel was filled to the brim. So, Dad found a place near the edge of town, on the highway, that had vacancies. It cost $15 a night (this was in 1991, mind you).

There was what appeared to be a blood stain on the wall beside the door at about head-height. They were awakened twice in the night, once by marshalls looking for someone and once by a train rumbling about 10 feet from their window.

Dad never forgot to make reservations again.