A Budget Motel in Melbourne

I probably should have read the reviews before booking us a room there.

But the price was right and it was close to the Melbourne Airport. If I had read the reviews, I would have noted a high ranking in the ‘terrible’ category, and would have read things like:

Truly an experience
Worst hotel ever
You’re better off sleeping at the train station
Prison cell
Worst night in a hotel EVER! Do not stay here!!
Avoid at all costs!
Found syringe under the bed.

Or the traveler who succinctly summed it up this way—

Pros: Leaving
Cons: Everything

It started when we just pulled up into the parking lot: hideous yellow paint and thick prison-type mesh bars on all the first floor windows and on any second floor window that could be reached by climbing up on the awning above the entrance.

It was a bit disconcerting to see that the same price I had booked the room for several weeks ago online was also displayed on the neon sign out front.

The man sitting behind the counter was noticeably quick to take my cash and stuff it away in a drawer off to the side. Then he gave us a key to our room on the second floor. No elevators. We lugged our bags up the stairs. Sketchy characters in the hallways disappeared behind doors like rats scurrying for cover.

Rebecca and Matthew had gotten to the room before me and were standing there. Just standing there and looking at me. Okay, the room was small. Tight. Cozy.

Actually when you opened the door to the room it was more like stepping inside a small campervan. It wasn’t a standard motel room, or even a small motel room. The bed dominated the room. Actually the bed was most of the room. It was not that the bed was so large. It was because the room was that small. Once I had stayed with an aunt in California and had slept in a small room that was all bed. You opened the door to the room and climbed onto the bed. There was no dresser or end table or lamp in the room; there was no room for any of those things. It was all bed from wall to wall to wall. Just bed. I was never sure how they had even gotten the bed in there. This wasn’t quite as bad but close.

I might as well discuss the bed now. I had booked a room for three of us expecting perhaps a double bed and a single. In this case, the double bed filled the entire room with maybe a foot between the bed and the wall to allow passage. Above the bed was a bunk bed conveniently oriented laterally so that a 17-year old son, of which I had one, could lean down at any time and make sure his father and stepmother were getting their sleep. One thin blanket for the three of us—I guess we could share.

While we were initially surveying our accommodations, the train went by, some twenty meters away, briefly changing the atmosphere from that of a campervan to more of a railway car.

The walls were sprayed with thick, goofy drywall texture as if someone had sprayed texture for the first time and gotten carried away with it.

We had to take turns moving.

“Can you stand there so I can get by?”
“Turn sideways a bit more?
“Why of course.”

That sort of thing.

There was a small sink in the corner, a tiny refrigerator, a television and a tiny Rubbermaid stool. If you placed a pizza box on top of the stool, as we later discovered, it could be converted into a small table.

The bathroom was a tiny cubicle the size of a small hallway closet. Rather, it was more like a small capsule the type in which the protagonist in a sci-fi film might be ejected and escape off into space except, in this case, it was fitted with a miniature shower and toilet. You stepped up six inches to enter and snapped close the plastic lid-type door behind you. Everything was miniature, compact. When I took a shower the next morning, the showerhead, which was only about four feet off the floor, reached my chest. Advanced yoga skills were required to get one’s hair wet.

A sign said to make sure to close the bathroom door since the whole floor would puddle and begin to fill with water when using the shower.

The single window faced a concrete wall six feet away. By straining your neck and gazing upward, you could catch a glimpse of a single narrow inch of blue sky above the concrete parapet. This is what it must feel like to be in prison.

The window itself was tethered closed with a metal cable. You could open it perhaps three inches, the metal cable preventing any farther egress. If you pressed your face against the slender crack, you might be able to suck in a draught of fresh air.

One thing was for sure: in case of fire, you weren’t getting out that way. And in case of depression or suicidal ideation, which was a distinct possibility, you wouldn’t be able to throw yourself from the window. They had thought of everything.

Rather than being cleaned in the usual sense of housekeeping, the whole room looked like it could be perhaps hosed down to be made ready for the next unfortunate guests.

But the bed was actually comfortable—and we didn’t see any syringes under it.


2 thoughts on “A Budget Motel in Melbourne

  1. If I was Bec or Matthew….it would be a VERY long time before you heard the last of That nor would you be in charge of reservations in the future… Lucky your family has a wacky sense of humor !!!

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