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Diplomat Motel
Originally uploaded by Mellicious.

We spent three nights in hotels on this trip - one night in Elkhart, Indiana (more or less the halfway point on the way to Ohio) and two in the Chicago suburbs coming back again. I booked rooms at Best Westerns because they seem to generally be a good compromise between price and amenities.

Incidentally, we were very interested to see that in Wisconsin there still seemed to be quite a lot of little bitty independent motels, most of which appeared (from the outside, anyway) to be decently maintained. Those seem to be a dying breed in most places, a fact which I have bemoaned on numerous occasions. I have had great experiences and terrible ones with small inpendent motels, and frankly nowadays I mostly stick to chains since it is such a crapshoot. I really am not terribly demanding about hotel rooms, except that I like them to be clean and insect-free, and for the air conditioning and the shower - and the TV - to work. And of course sometimes any and all of those things seem to be too much to ask. (Even with chain hotels.)

In Elkhart, I had decided for some reason to get a "mini-suite" with a jacuzzi - not something I have ever done before. It was a little more expensive but not horrendously so, and I think I thought it would be nice after the flight and a couple of hours of driving. And it was. I was not terribly impressed with the mini-suite - I have never understood how a slightly bigger room with a couch constitutes a suite. (In my mind, a suite means a separate living room. But obviously, hotel parlance nowadays does not agree with me.) But it was clean and nice enough and the jacuzzi was lovely and we watched the baseball game on a nice big TV, so we were happy with that.

(The picture is the main drag through Elkhart, right off of the tollway. You can see the Best Western sign on the left. We took that picture because Rob was unduly fascinated for some reason with the Diplomat Motel - which did NOT appear to be a Wisconsin-style nice clean independent.)

The hotel outside Chicago, in which we stayed two nights, was called the Best Western Oakbrook but was actually in Westmont, as I understand it. (As near as I can figure out, Oakbrook proper was right down the street, though. The whole tangle of Chicago suburbs is a bit confusing.) It was in the middle of a big business park and next to the International Plaza, which mostly seemed to consist of a Chinese grocery, a Chinese restaurant, and several professional offices with signs in Chinese and English. Now we had not requested a jacuzzi here, you understand, so imagine our surprise when we got to the room and it had a king-size bed and a huge jacuzzi right in the bedroom. (The one in Elkhart was in the bathroom - I don't think putting them in the bedroom is particularly unusual but we were still a more than a little surprised.) It had a big wide ledge that was tiled all around, and mirrors covering those two walls. At least they weren't on the ceiling, too!

When I described this to Columbine, he said it sounded like we got the party room, and that's about right. I have seen some honest-to-god party rooms back in my misspent youth, and they didn't look all that much different, except the jacuzzi wasn't actually quite big enough for a party. Remember how I was talking about Austin in the 80s earlier? Well, there was a bit of a fad around that time for hot-tub-by-the-hour places, back when hot tubs were still a relatively new & exotic concept, and we used to get a big group of people and go rent the biggest room, and soak for a couple of hours. (If you're wondering, we usually wore bathing suits - which usually came off, at some point in the process, in a giggly, I-will-if-you-will kind of way. However, it was a big group, as I said, and not necessarily couples, and there were no orgies involved.)

So anyway, in Chicago we got to watch the baseball game IN the jacuzzi, which was heaven. I still think that room was a little strange, but oh well.

Date: 2006-10-23 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Commenting on my own entry, to add something about the question of beds: no, most of the party rooms in those 80s hot-tub-by-the-hour places did NOT have beds in them - although at least one did. We thought that was particularly sleazy at the time, though. I am sure that there were lots of sleazy things going on in all of them as it was, but most of it probably happened right in the hot tub. I imagine it was the sleaze factor that did in the hot-tub-by-the-hour business, anyway, don't you? Because if you think about what might have been going on there an hour before, then ewww.


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