Sunday, May 26, 2013

Travel Review: Motel 6 Oceanside

Stars: 1 out of 5
Pros: Very few
Cons: Next time, I really want a non-smoking room!
The Bottom Line:
Smoke.  Easy to find.
Smoke.  Room was nothing fancy.
Did I mention smoke?

Not a Good Motel, Even at Original Motel 6 Prices

In June of 2010, a friend and I did the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  Since Camp Pendleton is roughly two and a half hours away, we needed a place to sleep the night before.  Motels in Oceanside are pretty expensive, but I managed to find us this Motel 6.  I thought I'd gotten a decent deal, but there was a major flaw.

This particular Motel 6 is located on State Route 78, not too far from Interstate 5.  The directions I had printed out beforehand turned out to be pretty pointless since the sign was clearly visible from our exit, and it was very easy to find.

From the outside, the motel looks very impressive.  There are three stores with lots of well-lit parking.  The office staff was friendly and efficient.  There was someone else being helped, but we were still checked in within five minutes.

The room was your standard cheap hotel room.  There were two double beds, each pushed against a wall.  There was a desk and dresser with a fairly small TV.  If it was much bigger than a 13 inch screen, I'd be surprised.  The sink was outside the bathroom.  There was barely enough room to walk between stuff.  If there had been more than two of us in the room, it would have gotten crowded very quickly.

The beds were okay, although they felt like they could stand to be replaced.  Same with the pillows which were definitely on the flat side.

I was actually a little surprised at how spacious the bathroom was, considering.  There was some room along the wall between that room and the beds.  The toilet and shower were adequate, although nothing fancy.

We arrived around 10:30 at night and left at 6:30 in the morning.  Naturally, that meant we didn't really explore the grounds.  I did see a decent sized outdoor pool in the courtyard as we walked by, although I didn't go down to see how my impression held up in person.  We left just as they were putting out the free morning coffee.  There's no free breakfast of any kind here.  They do offer wireless for an additional $3 per night, but I'm too cheap to spring for that.

Honestly, I hadn't intended to write a review of this hotel when we started out on the trip.  Granted, I wasn't expecting much.  But I felt that sleeping for the few hours I'd be there I could turn off review writer mode.

Then we walked in the room.

Now keep in mind we were supposed to have a non-smoking room.  And there was a sign on the door that clearly said "No Smoking."  As soon as we both walked in the door, we took one whiff and knew someone had been smoking in the room recently.  Like within the last 12 hours.  While asking for another room crossed my mind, I decided it probably wouldn't matter when I saw the reminder in the room.  The little no smoking sign was sitting on the back of an upside down ashtray.  I wish I were making this up, but I'm not.  My friend and I saw that and just started laughing.  Some way to keep people from smoking in your hotel rooms there.  After a few minutes, I did get used to the smell, so that also made the fight not worth it.  My friend went down to get something else from the car, came back, and said, "I don't think it was cigarettes they were smoking here."  By then, I couldn't smell it anymore, but if he was right, that bothered me even more.

The Camp Pendleton Mud Run itself was great, and we had tons of fun that Saturday.  But this was not a great start to the trip.

Would I stay at this particular Motel 6 again?  I might give them another try if I were absolutely desperate and some time had passed from my first visit.  But I would be sure I exhausted all my other options first.

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