It is never a good sign when your hotel receptionist is located behind bulletproof glass. Welcome to the Motel 6 in Birmingham, Alabama where I recently spent night 1 of my 4 night 5 day vacation. I needed to go down to Florida to visit a friend and since it is Florida and I am poor I decided to make a vacation out of the trip and drive down from my home in [Redacted]. It is quite a long drive from home ~[redacted] hours so I figured I should probably stop somewhere along the route to rest up and recharge. Given my financial situation I am not in a position to afford a stay at “normal” hotels or as I now call places like the Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, Courtyard Marriott, and other mid grade basics, “fancy” hotels, I had to go ultra low budget. Enter Motel 6, the folksiest Tom Bodet approved way station this side of the Red Roof Inn.
Having never stayed at said Motel before I did not really know what to expect. I had read a few reviews of the place online and though it only received 2 stars overall nobody said the place was a total shithole. I figured what can you expect for 57 bucks a night (that is all in, including taxes) and braced myself for a marginally crappy but basically OK low budget experience.
Certainly I was not expecting Hershey’s kisses on the pillows and though there was a brown discoloration on one of them I am pretty sure it wasn’t chocolate.
At least I could say I felt safe, the three police cruisers in the parking lot outside my door added a real sense of security. The door also had an automatic deadbolt lock which engaged as soon as the door was completely shut. I had never seen one of these before and thought previously they only could be found at Rikers or other prison facilities. Clearly the hotel never had an issue with break-ins and yes I am being sarcastic. The general level of cleanliness was satisfactory for the most part. There was the aforementioned pillow stain plus a rather noticeable comforter stain (see pic above) but beyond that it seemed alright. The bathroom was “clean” though it did smell as if a rather large shit had been taken quite recently. I assumed the smell would dissipate with time but to my sincere regret it lingered throughout the night and I eventually came to the conclusion that it was simply the normal background odor.
It was rather warm in the room so I flipped on the in room air conditioning unit. The racket that ensued reminded me of a 747 on a runway taxiing for takeoff. After the room had cooled sufficiently I flipped off the unit expecting the noise level to return to its baseline level of moderately noisy. Instead I was treated to a night long cacophony of screams, yells, swearing, cursing, hip hop, and assorted crashing and breaking of glass, all coming from the parking lot. I peaked out the window and it seemed to be some sort of gang convention. At least thirty to forty individuals in various states of what I will refer to as urban street attire had congregated in the lot along with an assortment of tricked out vehicles of all types. It seemed I had found the explanation for the three cop cars. Resigned to a shitty night of sleep I finally turned in around 11:30pm. My sleep was fitful and I was awoken by noise on at least three different occasions. At least there were no cockroaches was what I was thinking to myself as I opened the door to leave. There in front me a roach as big as I had seen in quite some time. It scurried away as I stepped over and out of the room. At least it wasn’t in my room I thought to myself as I departed and headed for my car.
Next stop Florida!