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Motels & Hotels along the Interstate
Old 12-15-2016, 06:40 AM   #1
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Motels & Hotels along the Interstate

There are two threads going that relate to little luxuries we now feel we can afford ourselves. As I pondered this, I realize I no longer want to find the cheapest motels along the interstate.

Who here remembers that once upon a time "Days Inn" was "$8.00 Inn" because it cost $8 a night to stay in one? I'm afraid I still use that as a reference point for what a night on the road should cost.

A few years ago DW and I took a road trip from NY to Florida, and I had booked us a cheapo room in a cheapo motel. Funky smells, noisy, and every time we ventured out of the room, the common areas were filled with the smell of cigarette smoke from the smokers smoking JUST outside the doors.

On the way home we sprung for a Holiday Inn Express. I have decided that I will no longer seek out the economy motels.

So, my questions for the group are:

1. What Hotel-Motel chains do you recommend? How do you get the best rates?

My travels are likely to be along the Eastern Seaboard (I-95) or the slightly more inland route (I-81: Staunton VA, Roanoke, I-77- Charlotte NC, Columbia SC)

As always, Thanks for playing!
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:44 AM   #2
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We've used Hampton Inn for quite a few years and have been satisfied with the consistency. Join whatever group and stick with them to earn points for future stays. Some hotel group credit cards have various perks like 1 free stay, free CDW for car rentals, etc.
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:48 AM   #3
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We don't do road trips much but seek out newer motels as opposed to the cheap remodeled ones that have seen their better days.

20 years or so ago I was working 2 hours away from home. It was too long to return every day so I sought the cheapo place. Stayed at a Knight's Inn. OMG. Should have known when I had to pay through a bulletproof window! Entered the room and noticed a frequently broken door jamb. Oh well, slept with one eye open and vowed never again!
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:52 AM   #4
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I only stay at name-brand places - Marriott and their related chains are my top choice. It's a long story, but one time I was forced to spend a night at a Motel 8, and it was not pleasant. I vowed that never again would I go to a lower-level chain like that.
Marriott's own website has consistently shown the best rates. If there is no nearby Marriott, I use Kayak to do my hotel room search.
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:20 AM   #5
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I can second the Hampton Inn, we used to be big Marriott fans, mainly RI and SHS, but as we have started taking more road trips we have noticed that the Hamptons seem to have more locations and the locations are closer to the interstate.

Hampton is a Hilton and have have other brands as well, they should be plentiful in the area you mentioned. Join Hilton honors and watch your email for a CC offer. I got one for 80K which could be good for 2 or 3 free nights at a cheaper property.
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:25 AM   #6
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I use TripAdvisor. All of those review sites can be manipulated, but a bad one will usually show through. I once had a terrible restaurant in Dublin try to get my review removed, claiming I probably confused it with another place, and I got it reinstated.


Sometimes a Super 8, Motel 6 or Knights Inn shows up as clean, safe, and a good value, and I'll take it, especially if I'm just passing through. I've stayed at 2 of those in the last 6 months, and only backed out on a 3rd when plans changed. They were perfectly fine. Otherwise I'm looking more for something like Hampton Inn, HI Express, or one of the Choice brands (Quality/Comfort Inn), though those aren't guaranteed to be great.


The problem I have with the higher end brands, aside from price, is that they usually aren't set up for the quick stop and go, they sometimes don't include free breakfast and wifi (though free wifi has finally become pretty widespread) and you may have to pay to park.


I have to remind myself it's ok to pay a few bucks more for a hotel, since I opted for that route over the upfront cost of an RV. I just have an issue paying too much for a place I'm barely going to be awake in. On the other hand, if I go too cheap I may find I'm awake a lot longer than I hoped for!
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H2ODude View Post
We don't do road trips much but seek out newer motels as opposed to the cheap remodeled ones that have seen their better days.

20 years or so ago I was working 2 hours away from home. It was too long to return every day so I sought the cheapo place. Stayed at a Knight's Inn. OMG. Should have known when I had to pay through a bulletproof window! Entered the room and noticed a frequently broken door jamb. Oh well, slept with one eye open and vowed never again!

Stayed in some no-name motel in West Memphis (first mistake) one night. Lock was broken, door would barely even stay closed, with the chain being the only "security"... As you say, slept with one eye open...
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
.......
I have to remind myself it's ok to pay a few bucks more for a hotel, since I opted for that route over the upfront cost of an RV. I just have an issue paying too much for a place I'm barely going to be awake in. On the other hand, if I go too cheap I may find I'm awake a lot longer than I hoped for!

Ha! Exactly!!
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:33 AM   #9
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Not retired yet, but for us (well, me) Marriott and Hampton Inns typically are too much money for a place to sleep. Sleep Inn and the Quality/Comfort range is typically what DW will let me book us in without due diligence; Days Inn on a selective basis.

Expect we will spend more when we start spending more time on the road (unless RVing....)
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:39 AM   #10
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Over the years I gravitated toward Marriott's Courtyard. It's predictably nice: clean rooms, nice bathroom with decent showers, a good breakfast.

Fallbacks for us are Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn. Though Hampton is apparently doing upgrades that we don't like. I'm not sure if it's just the one we stay on or all, but the the upgrade was a downgrade for us. One example, shower is now plastic and makes a racket when I moved around in it.

Both DW and I are picky about breakfast. Neither of us eat bread or breadline products (waffles, muffins, etc) so that cuts out most of the "free breakfast buffets" for us. Sorry, a pile of hard boiled eggs aren't good enough. Courtyard measures up, they have cook to order eggs and bacon with excellent coffee - for a price, but worth it to us.
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:46 AM   #11
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I usually look for a Best Western first. They consistently have a good rate -- certainly not the cheapest, but they're targeting the next level up. Rooms are always clean, and the heater/ac unit in the wall doesn't sound like a cement mixer.

Best Western has a nice breakfast area with real eggs and such, not the crummy little donuts and bad coffee you get at Motel 6. By the time you buy a decent breakfast at Waffle House across the street from Motel 6, you're paid for the BW room rate. If we can't find a good Best Western, we usually look for a Hampton / Hilton.

I'm in their "Club" so a free stay now and then is a good thing.
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:56 AM   #12
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I switch on and off between Hampton Inn and the various Marriott brands. I've got the Marriott credit card (my only remaining one with an annual fee) and Hilton keeps offering double points promotions. Occasionally I end up in a Holiday Inn Express or Best Western- that's OK, too. I'm a member of all the loyalty programs.

I'm about to embark on my first road trip from the Midwest to the Carolinas without DH next week and it's more important than ever that I stay in a place where I feel safe. A decent gym or pool is a big priority and breakfast is a nice-to-have. I don't need a huge breakfast but this saves me having to stop somewhere else for breakfast.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:02 AM   #13
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Safety and cleanliness are my top priorities, followed by a decent breakfast. Once those items are checked off, price makes the decision. If I can get a much better price without breakfast, there's probably a Starbucks nearby for coffee and a grocery store for a bagel or something plus the snacks I carry.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:33 AM   #14
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We've found especially with Hampton and probably others that the prices are very location dependent. Sometimes within an hour the prices can be $20-50 less.
Haven't stayed with Best Western for years but when we did we found that they were all different, not cookie cutter like the others.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:44 AM   #15
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I stayed at a Travelodge once to try a very cheap. Can't complain about the cleanliness of the room or anything. But talk about a sleepless night. Not only from seeing car headlights from the interstate but the sound like cars would plow into my room. Needless to day, was my last time at a Travelodge.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:44 AM   #16
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I definitely think properties very close to interstate tend to have higher prices. It's worth it to us, we do road trips to relocate to warmer weather and tend to have very long driving days. Even with GPS we don't like pulling off the interstate and navigating areas well don't know well, particularly when it's dark and cold outside. We also think the brands I mentioned have better breakfast offerings. We don't like to load up on carby, sugary stuff before spending a day in the car.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:45 AM   #17
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I saw the comment about noise and with my CC cards I have silver status with Marriott and Hilton and I can usually score a quieter room on the top floor.
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:03 AM   #18
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I stayed at a Travelodge once to try a very cheap. Can't complain about the cleanliness of the room or anything. But talk about a sleepless night. Not only from seeing car headlights from the interstate but the sound like cars would plow into my room. Needless to day, was my last time at a Travelodge.
So you throw out a whole chain, even though it was clean enough and otherwise fine, based on the unfortunate location of one specific motel, and very possibly just a few rooms within that motel? I'm no fan of Travelodge but that doesn't really make sense to me. Oh well, that's your business, not mine.
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:09 AM   #19
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So you throw out a whole chain, even though it was clean enough and otherwise fine, based on the unfortunate location of one specific motel, and very possibly just a few rooms within that motel? I'm no fan of Travelodge but that doesn't really make sense to me. Oh well, that's your business, not mine.
+1. We stayed at a Doubletree Inn recently that was also safe and clean and incredibly noisy, even on an upper floor. Fortunately we had stayed at another on the fourth of July that was very quiet (plus you could see fireworks from the room!) so we knew all Doubletrees were probably not noisy. Travelodges probably work the same way.
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:23 AM   #20
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Stayed in some no-name motel in West Memphis (first mistake) one night. Lock was broken, door would barely even stay closed, with the chain being the only "security"... As you say, slept with one eye open...
You stayed in West Memphis? And lived to tell about it? Wow! We spent 3 months in Memphis TN. not in a good area. We drove to KC from there passing through WM. I recall thinking WM was a real dump compared to the bad part of Memphis we lived in. Hopefully better now, fourty years later.

We're more picky in our old age. Any part Marriott, Holiday Inn...... There's places that you don't want to stay regardless of the chain. Salina KS. stayed in most places there, even the Holiday Inn express was pathetic, but the best we found.
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