It’s Fun To Stay At The…

Every so often I’ll “do a Steinbeck” and report back on things we have seen over the course of our journey which, while maybe not meriting an entry of their own, build up after repeated occurence to a story worth telling.

And so it is with hotels. (Well, when I say “hotel” you must read “hotel/motel/B&B”.)

Right now we are back in Asbury Park, home of Springsteen (and, as I discovered tonight, Bon Jovi… though I shan’t be writing about him) and we have have found the lovliest hotel yet. It was a dream to walk into, but more on that later. We came back here to go to a couple of concerts as we’ve only been to one or two live gigs since we’ve been on the road and I wanted to rectify that.

Here I will talk about our interesting hotel experiences.

Our first experience involved Roaches.

Oooh! Gross! yes, I know. Imagine him crawling around your room in the dead of night: not cool.

We experienced this in Washington DC. Old hotel, family owned, still used keys for the doors rather than electronic key cards. Small, but still not a bad place. We’d just got in and were sat down, relaxing a little after our flight in from Memphis. Suddenly Nick said, “hey. We’ve got company,” I looked and sure enough, a two-inch roach was crawling up the wall. I crunched him with Nick’s shoe. Nick wasn’t very happy about me using his shoe, but I had no choice: cowboy boots are difficult to use in the fight against cockroaches.

I went to reception and (very delicately) explained to them the problem and asked for a ten % discount. They acquiesed.

The next day, we found a second cockroach. He was smaller, but still disgusting enough. I killed him too (with Nick’s shoe) and went downstairs to get another discount. They weren’t very happy about giving it to me: in the end they gave me another ten % off only because I threatened to “make a scene” right there in reception in front of the other guests (but I don’t suppose I’ll be welcome there anymore — which is a pity. Apart from the roaches it wasn’t a bad place). 

This led me to the development of “Matt’s Sliding Scale For Roach Infestation”. It’s simple. For every roach I find, I want an extra ten % off the total stay at the hotel. You should remember this formula. Hotels hate it, but just say the word “ROACH!” in the lobby, and see how quick they’ll give you money off. You heard it here first.


Our second experience involved bedbugs.

This was in Memphis. All I can say is, never stay at the Red Roof Inn chain of motels. Luckily, Nick didn’t have many bites, but they were still pretty disgusting to have to wash off in the morning. Furthermore, the door had clearly been broken in to quite recently and the door frame showed many fresh signs of a struggle involving forced entry. Not good. It was here that the sirens didn’t stop sounding night or day. We were fine, but not happy….


Our third experience has to do with “non-smoking” rooms.

Now, smoking is bad. Kids, don’t do it; just say no. But in hotel rooms? No smoking? What the hell!? Already I can’t smoke in almost any bar here and we haven’t even got to California yet. But, there is a solution for the hotel rooms; inexpensive and worry-free!

Normally hotels enforce the non-smoking rule with smoke-detectors. But they are easily disabled. Take a piece of bandage tape (preferably one your mom has packed for you so you’ll be safe on the trip), put a bit of plastic in the middle, and just tape it over the hole in the smoke detector. Then, just to be safe, run the tape around the side of the detector so nothing can get in, and stick a damp towel at the bottom of your door so no smoke smells can get out into the hallway. If you get a room-deordorizer and dispose of the cigarette-butt-evidence, you’re a free person! Woohoo! 

The only problem would then be that if there is a fire (and smokers are statistically much more likely to cause one than non-indulgers) then you’re screwed. Don’t smoke in bed kids. Nobody mention “post-coital”… just remember that smoke alarms are another ruling-class tool to destroy the soul of the workers. Or something….


Our fourth experience involves drag queens.

This picture was taken in the bar/club belonging to our current hotel, the Empress in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Now, this hotel is quite famous for being part of the Springsteen legend. Have a look at this shot of Springsteen in 1984 with the Empress hotel in the background:

Springsteen in 1984 with the Empress hotel in the background
then below, see the same shot of the hotel, but from today. Not much has changed recently….

The same shot featuring the Empress, but nowadays
I only chose the hotel for its Springsteen fame and its proximity to the clubs where Bruce started out. We had no idea it was New Jersey’s only gay hotel. Springsteen has no gay connection so I guess it was just a concidence, but of all the hotels we could stay in….
It is a beautiful hotel. It has 1970s pinball machines in the lobby and velvet duvet covers on the beds. I even negotiated a special price for our three-day stay here. All great.
When we got here and saw the signs that “FRIDAY night is DRAG-QUEEN night!!!” I thought simply, “oh, cool. This hotel is quite liberal-minded”. Then, when we went to the hotel bar and two gay guys, Jay and Steve, started hitting on us so badly that it was a little disturbing, I understood the nature of the hotel. Luckily, they thought Nick was cuter than me…. It was a pretty funny experience and the drag show was, I am told, the best in the state. Awesome.
Now, I’m a liberal, so all this is cool, really. We only left the bar when Steve pulled out all his money and said, “I’m gonna get you guys drunk!” We knew then that it was time to go.


Filed under People, Places Visited, Rock N Roll Connections, USA Trip

3 responses to “It’s Fun To Stay At The…

  1. Dani

    It seems a Simpson’s episode… ahahah!

    “I crunched him with Nick’s shoe.”
    You’re the worst man, the WORST! If I were Nick I’d sell you to Jay and Steve for vendetta!

  2. Stephanie

    Come to Ann Arbor! Our city has no roaches! Our hotels have no bed bugs. AND… you can still smoke in all our bars. :)

  3. I’m sure Matt would be able to find a place with roaches everywhere, if it’s one single hotel room in miles. So he can get a discount. ahah.
    However your writing is really enjoyable, and you look almost figo in the pic you put in the “author” section!

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