Booking a Room? The Devil’s in the Details


 We were in New Jersey for the recent holiday. My daughter’s house was the setting for our gathering, but since she has limited space, we’d made reservations for an overnight stay at a hotel nearby.
It wasn‘t a chain I prefer, but that other was booked. I calmed my concerns by telling myself: I’d done the necessary research: I’d accessed guest reviews. We’d be fine.

My first signal of impending doom was when someone asked “Where are you staying?” and I answered “Day’s Inn, right off Rt. 18.” At that point, son-in-law chimed in with “Hooters?” (he’s native to the area). I thought he was kidding.

When he said it a second time, I asked “Why do you keep saying that?” He answered: “Because that’s where my high school senior class held an event…It’s a Hooters facility.” I said “You’re SERIOUS?” And he said, “Yes, the hotel added that restaurant years ago to increase business.”

Now, I admit, it was never my intent to support a business I’m at odds with (for how it objectifies women,)  but I reasoned: “Too late now…We’ll just have to tough it out.”

Upon approaching, later on,  I recognized those two, orange-outlined owl eyes (we all know what that Hooters’ image really represents) staring out from a billboard signaling the hotel entrance. The same logo was stamped on the windows of the restaurant, attached on the left.   I gritted my teeth, entered the lobby, and registered, annoyed the hotel chain had soft-pedaled that connection on its website..

Our room, at the end of a long corridor, had only one thing beside it–the exit. It was tolerable, though cold, but I knew it’d warm up immediately with Husband’s manipulation of the heating unit.  We climbed into bed, exhausted after a day with 3 active little grandsons.

Two hours later, we still tossed and turned. The giant fan of the heater droned on continually, while I lay in bed, wondering “How toxic is this air?” I further speculated:  “How many persons with respiratory problems contribute to the air in confined hotel rooms?”(sleeplessness fuels obsessive thoughts.) I suspected the number might be in the tens of thousands.

I thought of the man in Rhode Island, some years back, who died from poor ventilation due to a faulty air conditioning unit. Authorities determined that’s how he contracted Legionnaire’s Disease. At my request, Husband shut off fan. We opted to freeze rather than suffer the noise.

But when he shut it off, we discovered another problem: The New Jersey Turnpike was our neighbor, a mere 500 yards away, across a spit of grass. For the next several hours, we tracked 18-wheelers braking or building speed, as drivers manipulated those hulking beasts to and from the toll station.  Our room caught their every move.

It reminded me of the Cheers’ episode when Carla invited her bar buddies to the new home she’d bought at a bargain price. They were about to enjoy pizza and beer when engine noise shattered the atmosphere. It seemed Carla unknowingly bought a home at the end of the take-off runway of Logan Airport.

As hours ticked by, we wondered: “Should we call the desk and demand a new room (necessitating moving everything) or just get through this night?” Since we chose the latter, we wadded up tubes of tissue, stuffed them in our ears, and piled pillows on either side of our ears. We were at war with insomnia, for we had a full day of road travel ahead.

Somewhere around 4:00 AM, one or both of us fell asleep. But we’d been trying to, since 11:00PM.

At 8:00AM, I awoke to a woman screaming into her cell phone in the hall. She wailed: “Listen, I didn’t kick you out of the house…It’s just that Moshe and Moshe can’t be in the same room together or they‘ll kill each other.” (Don’t know who the two Moshe’s are, but they apparently weren’t giving thanks for each other on turkey day.) It was the proverbial last straw.

We got up, ate a bleak breakfast of cellophane-packaged cinnamon rolls, washed it down with coffee in the Breakfast Room and left. Oh, I told the desk of our severe displeasure, but the girl blew off my saga of woe. There was no talk of a refund.

As we walked into the parking lot, the orange-edged orbs of the Hooter’s logo on the doors abutting the motel  seemed to mock me, almost asking: “What did you expect?” Internally, I vowed I’d never to be swayed again by customer reviews (are they relatives of the motel proprietor?)

No, in the future, I’ll stick to my preferred hotel chains (Hampton Inn)…and carry ear plugs with me always….just in case.

 So, tell me:  “Do you see anything in this Day’s Inn picture (right off its website)  that suggests it’s affiliated with Hooters?” You won’t.  In fact, Hooters is only mentioned in the 3rd. line from the bottom of its 18-line hotel description and whoever reads that far?  

So, I’m wondering:  “How do you choose hotel rooms (what’s your formula for making sure your stay is as comfortable as possible?”)  Got a horror hotel story?  Do tell…Comment section below. 


About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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