Opinion | Biff America: The no-tell motel
“We make ourselves rich by keeping our wants few,” — Thoreau.
The fact that we were going to fly out of DIA to Boston at 7 a.m. Thanksgiving morning presented two choices. We could leave Breckenridge at 4 a.m. and hope that a storm or accident wouldn’t make the trip dangerous or impossible. We then would have to find an outlying parking spot and wait for a shuttle to the airport. If all goes well, we negotiate the security line, and, if I remembered to take out my nose hair clippers from my shaving kit, I would avoid a strip search and make it to the gate on time.
Or, we could spend the night in a romantic hotel near the airport, leave our car there and take the hotel shuttle to DIA.
But even after factoring the free parking and defraying some of the cost by absconding with hotel shampoo, lotion, soap and muffins from the continental breakfast, hotels can be pricey.
A simple search online provided many options of lodging possibilities. Imagine my delight when I was searching and found one that was only $78 night, about half of what we have paid before. I clicked to book the room before the hotel came to its senses and raised the prices.
As we were preparing for our trip I, assured my mate I had secured an intimate love nest for the evening before our flight. She inquired of the cost and I told her I couldn’t remember.
Ellie is one of those folks who contends that you get what you pay for. I never bought into that old canard. I know a guy with a $5,000 TAG Heuer that tells the exact same time as my Casio. I’m more a practitioner of the adages “Take care of your pennies and the dollars will look after themselves” and “Keep the thermostat cold enough so food left out won’t spoil.”
It was while driving to Denver the night before our flight when I began getting buyer’s remorse. On the plus side, what we would have paid for parking would just about cover the cost of the room. But on the other hand, I was worried that my frugality could come back to haunt me.
Well it did.
My first clue was Google Maps directed us to not get off at the airport exit but an exit or two after that.
“Is this it?” Ellie asked. “It looks like a prison. How much did you pay to this place?”
I swear to God this is what happened next.
We walked in the front door and the place was empty and dark. There was no one at the front desk and there were a few ladies standing around outside without luggage who were all very friendly. One of them informed me that the power went out but assured me that the front desk person was going to check the fuse box.
We waited in the dark for about 15 minutes and decided to go get something to eat and check back once the power returns.
Over dinner I had to come clean. Mostly because Ellie went online and read the price for the room and customers reviews of the love nest I reserved. I was enjoying my meal as my mate regaled me with the recent appraisals.
“This place is the worst!!! It smelled like smoke and was filled with sex workers.”
“A lot like spending a night in Hell but with thinner towels.”
“The shuttle to the airport was as scary as being operated on by a drunken surgeon.”
There were also some really negative reviews.
I will say in all modesty that I’m seldom wrong, but when I am, my mate reminds me. Luckily for me there was a buffed, name brand hotel across from the place where we were eating. My acute sense of self-preservation kept me from quibbling about the price. But, once burned, twice shy, we looked online to check out the reviews.
“This place rules!! We came here after checking in — and checking out — of a nearby hotel. The first place was dark, smelly and my husband was propositioned in the elevator. This place was way more expensive, but worth every extra dollar.”
We approached the front desk and asked if they had a room available. They did and it was about three times the price of the previous place (that I had already canceled my deposit on my credit card.) The place was clean, towels thick and our room came with electricity.
Yes, it was a little pricey, but like my beautiful bride likes to say, “I get what you pay for.”
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stoplights. Contact him at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.
Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.