My husband says I’m a hotel snob.
I say that I simply like to stay in decent places.
So we decided to take a quick family vacay for a change of scenery. You know, a weekend jaunt about two hours away from home. A place with mountain views, trails to walk and nature to see. I’m all for quick getaways. Its how I rejuvenate and where my creativity is sparked. Excited about all of the possibilities that the weekend held, I logged onto the internet to check out hotels and pricing. And then my husband entered the room and looked over my shoulder. *sigh*
Now let me say this: There are two VERY popular chains with excellent customer service that I patronize on a regular basis. I’m talking I am a proud loyalty card carrying person who has racked up UBER points due to stays at those two chains. So naturally, those are the two brands in which I was searching for weekend deals. However, the two brands are not so inexpensive as your local Motel 6, but in my defense, they are not on the expensive end like the Waldorf Astoria, either! My choices fall comfortably in the middle with higher price points in popular locales such as Orlando, Miami, LA…you know, major cities. So, there I was, shopping the rates of my two favorite brands when my wonderful, darling husband told me that those brands were not in our budget for this weekend getaway.
Wait…WHAT? But…this is how we always travel! These are the places where we always stay. What does he mean “they are not in our budget”? Surely he considered these price points when he told me that he wanted to do a quick getaway–especially since he knows how I am about hotels!
To give you some back story, when I was a child and traveled with my parents, I used to LOVE staying in hotels. I loved the fluffy white towels, the huge hotel bed with the ugly floral comforters, the tiny bottles of shampoo and generic lotion. Hotel living was the high life for this little girl. And then I grew up and became a police officer. Not just a police officer, but a crime scene evidence technician. And let me tell you this: Once you have seen a hotel room in black light, you get an ENTIRELY new perspective of hotels and cleanliness! And its due to my years processing crime scenes that I always travel to hotels with my own sponges, bleach, Clorox wipes and Lysol…ALWAYS!
Okay…back to present day…once I got over the shock of hubby telling me that my two fav brand hotel chains are not on the table for consideration for the weekend, I began the dubious task of sorting through hotel chains with a lower price point. But I promised myself that I would NOT stoop so low as to book a hotel that rents rooms by the hour, has roaches working as bell hops or is in walking distance to the local strip joint. We found a hotel that is nationally branded, very popular, was economically priced and had decent reviews. Even though the pictures on the internet showed the rooms in the very best light of day…and even though my husband was encouraging and stating that the rooms didn’t look bad…and even though my inner hotel snob was screeching “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???”, I entered my credit card number and clicked BOOK NOW.
The weekend came, we packed our bags, loaded the car and hit the road for a weekend of fun and relaxation. A quick getaway for family fun and recharge. The car ride was awesome. Great music, corny jokes and gorgeous mountain views. I was excited–so far, so good. We came to the exit for our hotel…and the smile on my face dropped.
ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME. RIGHT. NOW. An ENTIRE weekend HERE.
We pulled up to the hotel which should have been listed as a motel. All of the doors to the rooms were on the outside…which is one of my pet peeves. I prefer to stay in hotels where access to the rooms is on the inside of the building. I checked in and received the room keys. The keys had pictures of pizza on them. *Blink Blink* As I slowly approached the room, I tried to get my mind right for whatever was behind the door. *sigh* I got to the room, slid the key into the door and stepped inside. *double sigh* Just what I thought. Typical motel style room with small double beds, air conditioner under the window, bathroom with the toilet and tub in one room and the sink outside. I knew right then what the first task at hand was: CLEANING. I grabbed my cleaning supplies and commenced to bleaching the hell out of everything that could handle it. The room smelled like a swimming pool with a side of Febreze. I could feel my nose hairs disintegrating as I scrubbed, wiped and rubbed. The more I sprayed and scrubbed, the angrier I got. WHY did I let my husband talk me into THIS? Why didn’t I stick to my hotel standards. Why did I settle. I looked at my surroundings and wondered how I was going to make it through the weekend. The more I looked, the angrier I got. Quite frankly, I was pissed off…DAMMIT. And as the day went on, my countenance reflected my attitude. Oh yeah, I was hella salty.
Evening came and it was time to go out to eat. As we were preparing to leave for the restaurant, one of my sons asked me what was wrong. When I asked why, he told me that I looked unhappy and angry. Now, because I was in my feelings and feeling some kind of way about this whole hotel/motel situation, I had expected my son to feel the same way. I turned and asked him how he was doing and if he was enjoying himself. A smile immediately spread across his face when he stated that he was having an AWESOME time! He said that he loved being able to spend time with his family and that the hotel was cool. He was especially eager to eat dinner and return to the hotel so that he could go to the outdoor pool. He had also noticed that there was an inexpensive snack bar that he wanted to take advantage of. As I listened to him talk, I realized something: While I had been focused on everything that was wrong with the hotel, he had keyed in on all of the perks. At that moment, I decided to take a cue from my son and change my perspective. I decided to focus on all of the things that were right with the place. And real talk, I needed to do this if I planned to get through the weekend.
I thought about the room. No, it wasn’t cleaned the way I like it, but once I finished cleaning, it was okay. It was livable. The flat screen television was brand new and we had PLENTY of channels from which to choose. The air conditioner worked very well…in fact, it worked so well that we had to turn the cool air to slightly warm! The size of the room was spacious enough so that my family had plenty of room to move about comfortably. Sure, the beds were small but it gave me one more reason to cuddle up to my husband at night. The rooms opened up to the outside…but we could park our car directly in front of our door. The hotel was located right off of the interstate and was a straight shot from great shopping and good eats. And the icing on the cake? CRACKER BARREL was literally next door! I could walk there for my favorite pancakes!
When I began to focus on everything that was right with the hotel, I realized that the good outweighed the bad. I also realized that had I stayed in a place of anger and disappointment, I would have missed the hidden gems that were waiting for me to find and appreciate them. Oftentimes, when we find ourselves in situations of our own making or someone else’s influence, when things are not going quite the way we expected, we get bent out of shape. We see only the things that are glaringly wrong and to further cement our anger, we begin to look for more wrong things to add to the list of things about which to complain. All the while, overlooking and missing the blessings and the good that can be found in unconventional and unlikely places. If we would take the time to accept the fact that we may not be in our ideal position BUT we are going to be content in the position in which we find ourselves, we will unlock unforeseen blessings and happiness that we would not have had otherwise. We may not be able to control every circumstance but we can control our attitude towards it. Does this revelation make everything okay? Will I continue to stay at budget style hotels/motels in the future? Oh HELL NO!!! BUT, I have learned the valuable lesson that I dictate my level of happiness and contentment. I can either make myself and my family miserable by complaining the entire time about everything that is wrong OR I can share laughs about the tacky décor, sleep close to my hubby and children, stay up late watching movies on the flat screen and share breakfast in the morning at Cracker Barrel. The choice is mine. And I chose happiness and contentment.
Am I hotel snob? Absolutely. I am and forever will be. But I thank this experience at the hotel/motel for giving me the opportunity to view challenging circumstances and situations from a positive perspective. I have learned that when it rains, I can sulk and get soaked or I can pull up my boots and dance a two step. And I have also learned that after every rain, there is a rainbow to be seen if I am willing to look past the clouds.