This post is dedicated to my sister, Eve. "This is where you die" are her exact words when we checked into our hotel room this past weekend in Traverse City, Michigan. We drove there for my cousin Austin's wedding (which deserves its' own post) and booked a room at the Traverse Bay Inn.
Number one reason? The price: $64 a night. It turns out that Traverse City, MI is quite the boutique, touristy beach front, wine region hot spot. It was certainly a cool place to visit and we could see why every other search for an affordable hotel room had listed prices well over $150 a night. I suppose that isn't ridiculous when you consider staying in New York City or any family vacation spot during the summer time.
But we're used to low and lower hotel rates. I used to work for Hyatt Hotels. That meant free hotel stays - including the Stanhope Hotel in NYC, where Gregory and I stayed before we got married. Gregory now works (freelance) for a Sheraton Hotel, so we are hooked into their $50 employee rates.
So when we were looking at hotels for my cousin's wedding, we were bummed to see that not only were there no Sheraton Hotels within four hours of Traverse City, but our other options were pretty pricey by our cheap-ass standards.
The Traverse Bay Inn looked very tantalizing with its' low price and the fine print on the website claiming "shared bathroom" didn't really concern me when I reserved two nights on my credit card. "Shared bathroom" could just mean that the two queen beds had to share a bathroom in the middle of the room, right?
Ooohhh, turns out that a "shared bathroom" DID mean a shared bathroom - with one other room and any person venturing off of the lobby. Yes, Captain Obvious, I shouldn't have been surprised. We all had a moment of panic walking into our entrance around the back side of the hotel. (When everyone else at the motel gets a door in the front and you have to take a stone path around the back, it's a little disconcerting.)
Our bathroom was at the bottom of a steep set of stairs and our room was at the top. The room was actually very nice - much how you would feel staying at either your Grandma's house or how I remember many of the hostels in Europe. You are just paying a lower price to stay in the extra space in someone's house. There was a sitting room with a pretty nice flatscreen tv and then a separate room with two beds, microwave, fridge and plenty of space for our Pack n Play.
But it was still a little creepy - giving the feel of a sad situation in a lonely, extended stay hotel. Like someone who was kicked out by their family and just trying to make due with the cheapest place in town. And Eve put it best with her "This is where you die" summation.
We never actually saw another person use our bathroom and didn't have any embarassing moments. But I owe Eve a new shampoo, since hers was thrown away when the hotel-keeper cleaned "our" bathroom.