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The bad hotel

July 19, 2011

This post has no photos.

I wrote this up awhile back after having a dream that reminded me about it. I wasn’t sure if or where I’d post it, but I might as well put it here. This is my “worst hotel” experience (everyone has one, right?).

My cousin Stacy and I were on a road trip across Canada in 2000. We had made a stop in Edmonton at what was then the world’s largest mall, and on “Bourbon Street” (part of the mall) we went and saw a comedy show. After the show, we were talking to one of the comedians, and in our conversation it came up that we were headed to Winnipeg.

The comedian (comedienne, actually) talked about how horrible the mosquitoes are in Winnipeg, and that it wasn’t a good idea to camp there. We had camped for much of our trip, but used hotels when sites weren’t available or we wanted a decent shower. We decided we would make Winnipeg one of our hotel stops.

It wasn’t like nowadays, where you just get on your smart phone and check out hotels and reviews and such. We just had a travel guidebook with a listing of hotels, and after calling several (on a pay phone!), we finally found one in our price range with an open room for the night we’d be there. Booking hotels I’ve never heard of without seeing them first is not my favorite, but we felt we had no choice. The comedienne was very adamant about the mosquito problem.

So we rolled into Winnipeg one night and eventually found our hotel. It was over a bar, so from our room we could hear pounding music for much of the night. We entered our room from a creepy hallway with a regular key (not the key cards that were normal even then), and found two twin beds. ?? The room–and especially the bathroom–smelled bad. It was very unpleasant, but we were tired and had been driving a lot. There wasn’t the luxury of finding a better place, especially in the middle of Canada (which is a lot like driving through Wyoming or the Dakotas–you never know how long you’ll drive before finding civilization).

Because of our poor hotel experience, Winnipeg was tainted for us and we decided not to stick around after checking out the following morning. I feel bad now, because my mom told me how she had been to Winnipeg a time or two as a girl, and she had good memories. I remember she seemed disappointed that we had just left it without seeing anything, and I almost feel like apologizing to her right now! So I will: I’m sorry, Mom!

I feel like I haven’t really thought of or talked about my Canada trip to many people. I’ve talked more about the US trip I took in 96, but for some reason this one goes mostly forgotten. Talking about it now has brought up so many memories. I’ll have to tell you more sometime, if you’re interested. I could maybe scan some of my photos.

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From → travel

9 Comments
  1. I was glad you made the trip because you were able to bring us our car. 🙂 Thank you so much for that … but I'm sorry about your bad hotel experience.

    I have one, too. Actually, more than one. But the one that came to mind first was a teeny-tiny hotel room we spent the night in with all our kids and it was so un-spacious that two boys had to sleep on the musty-smelling carpet under the bathroom sink. I feel so bad for making them do that, but there was literally no other space for them!! Poor things.

  2. My worst hotel experience was in Elizabeth, New Jersey: Knight's Inn.

    Circular, upholstered bed with speaker system built into headboard and mirrors on the ceiling above? Check.

    Twinkle lights blinking on abovementioned bed? Check.

    Little hairs in the sheets in abundance? Check and check.

    It was like 1 in the morning and we had to be up at 5 to go to the airport. No time to find anything else. But it was NASTY.

  3. Ah yes the old “hotel over the bar” problem. I stayed in one of those in Port Townsend. It was called…*looks it up*…The Waterstreet Hotel. It was supposed to be a big deal because it was all Victorian looking and quaint and whatever, but to me it just seemed primitive and old and noisy. Apparently the bar underneath it has closed now so it's better but I won't be going back ; )

  4. I'm interested! 🙂

  5. You visited the US? I'd like to visit there some day…

  6. My worst experience was probably coming home last year from Idaho and staying at Winnemuca in Motel 6, I think it was. Supposedly it was “non-smoking”— yeah right! There was even an ashtray, upside down in the room. LOL

    And supposedly we had free Wi-Fi. But alas it wasn't true because they made you buy a card as additional.
    We only stayed there because we were desperate and Dad was sick and needed a bed. Oh, and it was raining hard. (thus no camping!)

    Your experience sounds kind of creepy!

  7. Anonymous permalink

    I'm not mad or disappointed with you. I'm sorry you had an “unpleasant” experiance in Winnipeg, however. Someday you may see that city in a new light. In 1968 Mom (Grandma) took all 5 of us kids to MN, Going through MT we stopped at “Star Motel”. After Mom paid at the office, we found bugs in the beds in the room. We changed our minds and, fortunately, Mom got a refund. We drove for hours. It was nearly midnight before finding a room and soup for dinner.

  8. Anonymous permalink

    Really nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I've seriously enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. Right after all I might be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  9. R – Under the sink?! Wow. Yeah, I've had some other hotel experiences that weren't great, but this one is probably the worst. Also, I know some people have had it WAY WORSE. I'm a bit wimpy. 🙂

    Lady Bee – Wow, that sounds terrible! I didn't know they actually put those circular beds in hotels!

    Dan – I don't remember if you've told me about that one! I'm going to look it up now. 🙂

    Thanks, Brenda!

    Mom – gross! Have you told me that story before? I don't remember it!

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