Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

January 30, 2012

Memorable Hotels

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Recently as I made some hotel reservations, my mind drifted back to hotels/motels where I have stayed — or almost stayed!

My first hotel experience was in Washington, D.C.  It was the Harrington Hotel — still in operation today.  Remember my blog on the Harrington?  (www.lawsonjolly.com/2011/06/10)

And another fascinating experience is told about the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta.  I stayed there shortly after it was remodel from the damage done by the fire that killed 119 people.  You have strange thoughts being one of the early guests.  (www.lawsonjolly.com/2010/09/29)

I recall as a high school senior going to a sporting event in Macon, Georgia with five other guys.  We rented a hotel room for two — I imagine at about three or four dollars.  However, we slipped the other four fellows in.  With one double bed, we slept on the floor and in a chair at the times we were not rotating to have our two hours on the bed.  I recall it being a very miserable night!

Then I remember being in a city with the family for a convention.  We had made advance reservations.  Arriving, we saw an overgrown swimming pool . . . shabby buildings, and knew we would never stay there.  I asked to inspect the room — that was a mistake!  When I asked for my deposit to be returned — the next 15 minutes became tense.  I had my two boys come into the office with me.  When I knew that nothing would prevail to get our deposit back, we left.  I immediately called American Express.  They were helpful, and not only called the motel to say the charge would not be paid, credited our account, and I believe placed that motel on an “alert list.”

Yes, there have been some interesting experiences.  I can truly say we have stayed in the best of hotels . . . and have stayed in some of the worst!  Most of the “in-between” are hard to recall.  It is those that are “unusual” that you can recall.

So . . . I share with you my three most memorable hotels.  I begin with a small hotel in Sequirres ,Costa Rica.  Well, the locals called it a hotel.  It was more of a boarding house, but the only lodging in town.  We checked in . . . but was forced to check out only a few hours later.  Read about this experience in a previous blog.  (www.lawsonjolly.com/2010/03/09)

Another memorable hotel was in a mountain village in Korea.  It was a summer tourist hotel . . . but closed for the season.  Yet the owner made rooms available for those that requested.  There were six of us and he gladly rented three rooms to us.  The accommodations were more than sufficient — but there was no heat and the temperature was in the twenties!  When we were in the hotel, we kept our heavy coats on, and got in bed to attempt to stay warm even in the middle of the day.  The owner offered us breakfast — if we wanted to cook it.  And that we did.  He provided the eggs and bread, and we simply cooked them over a gas stove.  I am sure it is a wonderful place for vacationing in season!  There was a ice skating rink, soccer field, and beautiful gardens — at least when things were in bloom.  I specifically remember the natural spring!  It was a spring that produced natural, sweet carbonated water.  It was truly a wonderful drink –and it even came cold!

But perhaps the most memorable — and I have stayed there on several occasions — is in Limon, Costa Rica. We have even stayed there with the children when they were young.  The hotel was unpainted and needed repairs.  It lacked sanitation.  There were 12 rooms.  One would ask, “Who would stay there?”  The answer is in, “There was no other place.”  The hotel had few, if any, Americans or tourists.  But because of the port city, there would be some mariners that would stay when their ship would dock.

The hotel was on the beautiful Caribbean Sea.  The window looked out over the water and it was a beautiful sight. But as you turned from the window, you were confronted with the reality of the room.  There were no glass windows — only shutters to close when it rained.  And in Limon, it rained 300 days a year out of 365, at least at some point during the day.  The temperature was over 100 degrees and no air-conditioning, or course.

The water was turned off at 5 p.m. each day in the city.  So imagine the sanitary conditions!  You dare not drink the water!  The hotel did include meals in the cost of the room, but caution needed to prevail.

There were no locks on the door and so the bed would be pushed across the door for protection.  And the bedding!  Linens were never changed . . . you simply slept on sheets that others had used for many nights.  The hotel only changed them when they reached a point that there was no choice.  Therefore, you slept in your clothes and laid other items over the linens!  Oh yes, this ranks as the most memorable hotel I have stayed in . . . and I believe my wife and children would concur!  On our last visit, another hotel had opened in the city!  They were now catering to tourists!

Well, there you have it!  Memorable hotels!  There might be some more in the future . . . but my choices are really mine today and I am a little more choosy!

I want comfort and security these days!  But I grateful for the experiences shared!  Life builds memories . . . even in the arena of hotels.

Lawson

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