It was our anniversary. We just wanted a romantic night alone. That shouldn't be too hard to find, right? Instead, we had to escape from hotel hell.The other day, Greg and I celebrated seven wonderful years or marriage.  Since we had a few days off work, and since my mom had so nicely offered to watch my kids overnight, I started looking for some fun overnight trip ideas.  Giggity.

I didn’t want to blow our budget, but I didn’t really want to spend the night at home.  It’s just hard to really be romantic and relax at home…because of things like the dishes, and the laundry, and all of the projects that need to be started on.  What I really wanted was a jacuzzi room so that we could turn the bubbles on, watch a movie, and basically relax.  Unfortunately, I quickly found out that these types of rooms were expensive ($250 and up) in the downtown area so I started looking in the surrounding suburbs for something more in our price range.

I soon found a fantasy themed motel that was only about 20 minutes away from where we would be eating dinner.  Each one of its guest rooms featured a giant jacuzzi, television,  mini fridge, and special theme.  I was totally ecstatic to find out it was only $99 per night and I booked a cool “caveman theme” room.  I was so proud of myself.  I had managed to find something fun and different that was also well within our budget.  I couldn’t wait for the day to arrive so that we could get away from the kids and celebrate together.

The Date Begins

Our anniversary date came and we headed to the hotel with a 12 pack of Killian’s in tow.  When we pulled up to the entrance, I was less than impressed.  As I got out of the car, I noticed that we had parked next to an old white minivan with very dark tinted windows. It looked like the exact kind of vehicle that some psychopath would use to abduct small children.  Creepy.  Still, we got out of the car with an open mind and went inside.  The lobby was unimpressive, but we were eager to get to our room and get our fun evening started.  This was going to be awesome, right?

Wrong.  We got our keys and began to wind our way through the unkempt property.  As we walked around the building, I noticed all kinds of kids toys littering the lawn and a giant waterless pool with weeds growing in its bottom.  Yuck.  Also, there were a ton of shady people milling around everywhere.  What were these people doing?  We probably passed at least ten people who were just standing outside.  Some of them were smoking, and others were…well, just standing there.

We got to our “Cave Room” and were completely appalled as we walked inside.  It was terribly dark, so dark that you couldn’t see if there were hidden cameras or people hiding in the corners.  I looked for more lighting to turn on and there simply wasn’t any.  It was a cave room, afterall, so I suppose that the lack of lighting went along with the theme.  But, how could they even go about cleaning the place since it was so incredibly dark?  Greg looked at me in disgust.

“How many hookers do you think have been murdered in this place?”  Funny…but a good question.  Have you ever felt like you were about to be the victim of some sort of crime?  Have you ever seen the movie Vacancy???  I started to get the feeling that I was going to end up on a Dateline Special if we did indeed stay the night there.  It was dark.  It was dirty.  It was tacky.  Splashes of what appeared to be dried DNA were splattered here and there.  Worst of all, it was secluded as our room was located in the farthest building at the very end of the hall. Additionally, there wasn’t anything remotely romantic about the place and the mirrored ceiling was not a nice touch.

Escape from Hotel Hell

My fun anniversary plans were falling apart.  I couldn’t even imagine sitting my purse down on the filthy furniture, let alone sitting on it or…..ummmm……anything else.  This just wasn’t going to work.  Greg opened the door to exit our room and another intimidating person was standing just outside for no apparent reason.  We grabbed our stuff and left.  Luckily, the front desk refunded all but $25 of our rate as a cancellation fee.  That was fine.  By that point I just wanted to leave, refund or not.

All we had wanted was a fun night alone without our children.  We wanted to unwind, spend some quality time together, and be romantic.  Do you want to know what’s not romantic?  Getting robbed.  Getting raped.  Ending up as the star of some hidden camera porno on the internet.  Those are all things that I do not aspire to.

What’s the moral of this story?

Do your research, people!  Had I taken a nanosecond to check TripAdvisor, I would have found a gazillion absolutely terrifying reviews of this place.  I just got so caught up in the fact that it was only $99 that I didn’t bother to look.  Sometimes you get what you pay for.  If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.  I’ll remember this experience the next time I book a hotel room or vacation or any kind.  It is worth the extra money to stay in a better neighborhood..and you know…not get murdered.

Lesson learned.  Have you ever found yourself in a scary situation like this?  Have you ever tried to save money and had it backfire?  Please share by commenting below.