“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
Our family roadtrip to the Badlands, Black Hills National Park, and Mount Rushmore got off to a good start. We left the Twin Cities at dinner and made it to Mitchell, South Dakota by around 11pm. In town we stayed at the Hampton Inn (we collect Hilton points) because on this trip the prevalent lodging choices were motels and economy hotels. I admit, I wasn’t thrilled about this. Not to be a total snob, I mean, it’s not like we’re usually staying at the Four Seasons, but part of a vacation is relaxing in a nice place.
Well, the Hampton Inn was a very pleasant surprise. It was recently renovated, as nice as any Hilton I’ve stayed at, and had a pretty nice hot complimentary breakfast to boot! Most importantly, it had freshly laundered and very plush duvets and towels.
But then, we drove to Rapid City, SD, and checked into the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. It was basically everything I feared in a hotel/motel. Dingy rooms and furnishings, thin sheets and blanket, no down comforter, and pillows (if you could even call them that) that closely resembled a sack of cotton balls wrapped in a sheet. Oh, and don’t forget the bath towels that were basically like trying to dry yourself with a Bounty paper towel. SO thin, so tiny, and so not soft. Then, to add insult to injury, the place said they had a pool, but what they really had was a lame mini waterpark that you had to pay $15 per person to use. So we basically paid almost $250 to stay at this dump! We were supposed to stay at the Fairfield on the way back to the Cities too. Needless to say, we rebooked ourselves at a Cambria Suites down the road.
Lesson learned, all economy lodging from big hotel names like Hilton and Marriott are NOT the same. Not even close.