Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Motel 4 1/4

Lisa and I drove out to Seaside, Oregon for our usually-annual trip to the Sea-Pac ham radio convention. Because the room rates at the Holiday Inn Express (just across the bridge from the convention center) were higher than I'd felt comfortable paying, I'd hunted around for another hotel in Seaside and had booked a room at the Ocean Front Motel on the Promenade, facing out onto the beach. The rate wasn't great, but it was okay. (Their web site says, "among the lowest on the beach.") When we got to the hotel, we found that the wi-fi wouldn't work in the room; that it had no bathtub and a shower stall smaller than that of Lisa's trailer; that someone had removed the TV cable connection; that even if the TV worked, it was located on a stand to the right of the bed in a very awkward spot; and that the only ventilation for the room was a small dormer window that only really let any air into the room if you opened the door on the opposite side of the room.

On the way to breakfast (the room not including anything other than a basket of muffins at the front desk), I remarked to Lisa that this was like spending extra money to stay at a bad Motel 6. She said, "More like Motel Four-and-a-Quarter."

I'd already paid for three nights there, but after breakfast, I asked the hotel if I could just check out and get a refund of the other two nights, which they let us do and for which I'm grateful. We packed up, moved the van to on-street parking a few blocks from the convention center, and hit the convention flea market floor. (You have to get there early because many of the dealers don't stay long. Imagine if half the dealers at BayCon left at 2 PM on Saturday. That's what Sea-Pac is like.) We filled up a tote bag with things and started considering going back to the van to decide what to do next when I had a look at the stack of hotel handouts in the convention center lobby. I picked out the one for the Shilo Seaside East (not the one on the beach that I'd previously dismissed as too expensive), gave them a call, and found that while I'm not thrilled by the room rates, they're within my price range.

We walked to the van, drove the short distance to the Shilo, and booked in for two nights. Boy, do I wish I'd reserved a room here initially. First, had I done so, the rate would have been cheaper (I remember checking this hotel initially and not picking it.) Second, the room is huge and well-equipped with a refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker, and two-burner stove. Third, it has a jacuzzi-style tub. Fourth, the wi-fi works. Fifth, it has an indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna that are open 24 hours instead of closing so early that we'd never get to use it. And Sixth, had I booked earlier we wouldn't have had the hassle of changing hotels and would have been able to relax a lot more today.

It is a fair bit farther to the convention center and downtown, and I already had some small blisters on my feet from working around the property in Mehama, but we can handle it. And the weather up here is spectacular, after two weeks of nearly continuous rain and thunderstorms. I wish I could afford a week here, not just a long weekend. (I'm taking Monday as my holiday having worked last Monday instead.)

We walked back to the convention center, did a bit more shopping, listened to the must-be-present-to-win 2:30 prize drawings (we didn't win), and also said hello to Gordon Yee, the badge maker who attends BayCon. Just after 3 PM, we decided we needed to unwind for a while and came back to our room, which by the way overlooks the river here. We walked back by way of the site of the funky little motel in which we stayed many times over the years. The hotel was knocked down several years ago and sold to a developer who put up a condo building. Right now, it looks like there's not a single unit rented in the condo complex.

Speaking of condos, there's a massive condo building right on the beach looming over the Seaside turnaround and shadowing its downtown. The building is now sheathed in scaffolding. The man at the hotel's front desk here told us that the builders didn't understand that here, it's sometimes wet, sometimes cold, sometimes very hot, and always full of salt air, and that consequently the building is trying to peel itself apart and they're having to take emergency remedial action to keep the balconies from separating from the building.

In a little while, we'll walk back down to indulge in the very nice ice cream they make here, and probably play mini golf and walk around on the beach before and after dinner. Later, I hope to use that hot tub and sauna, because my neck is killing me from the bed at the motel last night.

In retrospect, I might have been better off biting the bullet and booking in to the Holiday Inn Express, even though it was pricey, because I ended up spending at least as much or more when you count the cost of breakfast at the Pig 'N' Pancake, and if you try to put a value on the stress of not being able to check my e-mail when I feared I was going to be chased by my Day Jobbe. I'll have to bear this in mind on my next trip. Alas, booking into independent hotels is very much a crapshoot, and I can't say as I recommend the Ocean Front in Seaside unless a view of the ocean is the only thing that matters to you.
Tags: hotels, lisa, seaside, travel
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