Friday, September 7, 2012

A cheapskate's lodging: more or less

So last night I mentioned the cutest, jankiest hotel you may ever meet were our accommodations on the outskirts of the Chicago area.  Priceline's 'name your own price' deal can be the BFF of the cheapskate traveler, sometimes landing you fantastic deals on great hotels in great locations, but the sometimes, and the great locations, are not likely to be in downtown Chicago on Labor Day Weekend, so we did a bit of hunting to find a place cheap enough to enable our fun, and since there were plans to buy some rather large items at Ikea, we looked in that area for a place, and found Hotel Bolero, in Palatine.  Not far from Ikea, and very near Arlington Park racetrack (Which I totally want to check out sometime!).  Now I admit, Hotel Bolero, and the $57/night price tag, might sound a bit iffy (and maybe also the horse track adjacent location), but every good adventure starts with a risk!

So without further ado, check out my room for the weekend.  I call it the Violet Beauregarde room, for reasons that will soon become clear:

The entrance, from between the bed and desk.

The room itself - with a wall of giant blueberries!

Sitting area, and yes, that's an actual balcony.  It even overlooked a little courtyard!

Another angle on the blueberry bedroom.

Looking in from out on my balcony.

So that's the awesome part.  I wish I'd taken pictures in the lobby and whatnot - there was much cuteness on display there as well.

The less awesome part was the increasingly evident fact that whoever did the fun, boutique renovation of this clearly former chain hotel had long since gone, and been replaced by, as far as I could tell, a staff of one very pregnant woman.  When we checked in and I asked if we could be moved to rooms closer together, we were told that they were short staffed that day, so some of the rooms hadn't been cleaned.  No big deal, our request was accommodated by giving me a handicapped accessible room just down the hall from my friends' room.  And when we left on Sunday morning for round two of adventuring, we had noticed plenty of signs that the place was not as well-kept as the wallpaper might lead you to believe, but we were still feeling great about the deal we got for such a cute place that we had essentially to ourselves.  Todd and Ryan had enjoyed the indoor pool the night before and I know my bed was plenty comfy, in my nest of many pillows.

However... when we got back that evening we noticed the rooms had not been cleaned.  Not a terribly big deal, but the towels had also not been re-stocked.  Still not a big deal for me, but for the family of 3 I was travelling with, who had used their towels for swimming the night before and showering that morning, the pile of damp, used towels that remained on their bathroom floor seemed less than ideal.  When they asked about it, they were told that no housekeeping is done on Sundays, and there were no spare towels to be had, but they were welcome to use the coin-op laundry room to wash them themselves!

So... me being me, it's very, very far from the worse place I've stayed (that one was located above a restaurant/bar in an alley in Rome and involved a swayback bed, a loud fan in the window and a really long line for the one bathroom down the hall and subsequent shower in the proprietor's brother-in-law's apartment upstairs).  But, if you hate to see prenatal child labor like the poor pregnant woman who apparently runs the place single-handed, or like having clean towels and whatnot, you might want to make some inquiries before booking at the Hotel Bolero.  Personally though, the cute, cute room and the nest of many pillows was well worth it to me.

And thus ends a cheapskate's review of a cheap hotel.  Stay tuned next time for Sunday's adventures (including more thrifting!) and some musings on the joys and horrors of Ikea.


  1. I'm your newest follower by way of The Thrifty Groove

    I had to laugh about your accommodations - I've been at places like that but have never heard of no housekeeping on Sunday!! My goodness...

    Love your thrifty finds....

  2. Oh welcome, thanks for coming round! And honestly, I'd still stay there again, for the price...