“This place is absolutely disgusting.”
I dropped my bag on the ground and looked around the Travelodge hotel room, eyebrow cocked and nose scrunched as I took it all in. Josh, face twisted in a look of revulsion, pulled back the sheets of the bed to find holes singed into the comforter.
“We have to stay here for two nights?” he asked.
“I didn’t know it was going to be so bad,” I said defensively as I took the other bed. “I picked it because it was close to the capitol and I figured it would be the easiest place to stay.”
More than anything, I wish I was right. I’d chosen the Travelodge in the city center of Sacramento for two nights. One night was meant to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with my friend, Megan. The other was to see the capitol building and meet up with my friend Morgan to take our dogs on a walk.
Now, looking around the run-down hotel room, with dead bugs splattered across the walls, holes in the doors, the singed sheets, and the ever-present smell of dust, the prospect of staying here for two nights was anything but appealing.
“What are we going to do?” asked Josh.
“There’s not much we can do, is there? There’s no refunds and we don’t exactly have many other options. Let me just go to the bathroom and take a shower and we can figure this out.”
We’d only been on the road for a couple of weeks, but by this point, I was quickly learning how difficult it was to have any energy once we were at our destination. Exhaustion seemed to be our main feeling, and my brain couldn’t figure out how to handle the next step before I’d had some time to decompress.
The notion of even taking a nap in those stained, burned sheets, however, was anything but appealing.
“I don’t know how I feel about staying here,” said Josh.
Before Josh came to America, I told him I would always make sure he was comfortable. I’m not foreign to the idea of being a foreigner, and I know that sleeping in a place you don’t feel safe is the absolute worst feeling imaginable. At that, Piper crawled up in her bed and looked at me with fearful eyes, and I quickly realized all three of us were in agreement of our disagreement.
“I really need to go to the bathroom, Josh, give me a few minutes and we can figure something out.”
Ten minutes later, I announced, “We have another problem.”
Josh groaned. “Did you clog the toilet?”
“No, I didn’t clog the toilet! The toilet just won’t flush.”
“Literally, there’s no flushing action whatsoever.”
Before Josh could answer, a knock came on our door.
“Maybe that’s your friend,” said Josh.
“Wait, I didn’t give her —”
Before I’d had a chance to finish my sentence, Josh opened the door. On the other side, a woman with scratches all over her face and a dazed look in her eyes asked, “Is Jim here?”
Josh looked at me as I grabbed Piper’s collar and held her back from the open door.
“I have no idea who she is,” I whispered.
The drugged-up woman peeked in our room and looked around.
Uncomfortable, Josh said, “Sorry… We don’t know who you’re looking for,” and abruptly shut the door.
After he turned back to me, his eyes narrowed, and with an unwavering and highly serious tone, Josh said, “Andrew… We need to get out of here.”
Within 30 seconds, I was on the phone with Megan.
“We can’t have Piper here, darling,” she answered when I asked if we could stay with her. “My roommate says someone got evicted just for having a dog for the day.”
I cursed. “Thanks anyway. I’m sorry to have to do this, but until we figure out what we’re going to do, we probably can’t hang out tonight.”
“That’s okay, baby, I understand.”
“If anything changes, I’ll let you know, but in the meantime I’ll just make sure to see you before we leave town.”
After we hung up, I called Morgan. When she didn’t answer, I left her a desperate message.
“Morgan. Hi. I hate to do this to you, I’m really sorry, but Josh and I ended up in this really dodgy hotel and neither of us feel safe and someone just came looking for drugs and there’s bugs on the walls and the toilet won’t flush and we don’t know what to do but we can’t stay here. If you can please can we please stay with you please?”
I hung up and dropped the phone. “I really don’t know what to tell you, Josh.”
Two minutes later, by the grace of God, Morgan returned my call.
“You should have just stayed with me in the first place,” she said when I answered. “But yes, of course, come, stay here. The only thing is, my sister is in from out of town and my brother and his girlfriend wanted to come by tonight, so I don’t really have anything to offer you apart from floor space.”
“Trust me, Morgan. Anything is better than here.”
From there, Josh and I packed and loaded the car faster than any other time on this trip. The sinking feeling of revulsion stuck in the pit of my stomach the whole time, but I knew we were making the right decision. I know we’d chosen a budget hotel, but none of the other hotels we’d stayed at had this level of atrocity (and we never stayed in another one so bad after.)
When I checked out, I didn’t get a refund (which, granted, I knew about before leaving), and the manager tried to argue with me over the cleanliness of the room.
No bother. One day, hopefully, that hotel will shut down for health code violations.
Don’t believe me?
Let the reviews speak for themselves: