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Monday, November 17, 2008

Going through Oklahoma? A tip for you.

Today may be a little off-the-usual, but I've little else to do here and I don't have access to any of my reference materials or a library, so I'm not going to tackle anything serious until I get home tomorrow. It may be a couple days before you see the fruit of the upcoming article, incidentally. Tiro and I are diving into the subject of gay marriage headlong, and you can expect some exciting results. I expect Tiro's article should be ready soon, my own will probably come some time thereafter (traveling kills any attempt at conducting research).

As an aside, if anyone lives in a rural area or knows of an organization in a rural area who might be interested in spreading some articles around, Tiro and I are looking to make an actual tangible impact with these upcoming articles, and that means reaching an audience that doesn't already agree with us.

But that's all for later. Today, I am writing a review.

A hotel review, to be specific, for a place called "Travel Inn" in Claremore, Oklahoma.

And I should specify, I don't usually bother. This case is special.

After a long drive, there are really only a few things I require of a hotel. A bed, a bathroom, and an internally-controlled AC unit (if the weather isn't ideal). An internet connection isn't precisely necessary, but I do tend to prefer one, if I have options.

I expect to pay somewhere around 50 dollars per night to receive these basics, and if these are all taken care of, I don't consider that I have been ripped off.

So when the man behind the desk informed me that my night at Travel Inn would cost me 40 flat, I was initially slightly concerned. After all, a rate that low usually means something is terribly wrong with the room you're about to be given, or the competition in the area offers something they don't.

When I walked into the room, I wasn't surprised to see that the dresser was standing free in the middle of the room. ... but then I realized something, or rather a series of somethings.

1. The dresser was also the TV stand, and was positioned deliberately to allow one to watch TV while in bed.
2. The room came with both a refrigerator and a microwave, and no annoying mini-bar or taped door.
3. There were plenty of power outlets available because someone had gone to the trouble of actually plugging a surge-protector into the wall (You would think this would be common in hotels, it isn't, and it's amazing)
4. The decor is obviously all home-job, which explains the rate, but it's a pretty good home-job, and everything is clean, including (and especially) the bathroom.
5. The alarm clock is far enough from the bed that I can't whack the "snooze" button while I'm still sleeping.
6. Rather than a plethora of nonsensical adds, coupons and TV guides, the room comes with a simple (roughly 6x8) stand-up card with a Papa-Johns number (room delivery), a list of all channels, the check-out time, an assurance that there is coffee in the lobby and the number for the hotel.
7. When they said free wireless, they meant it, and if you don't like the hotel's wireless (who knows, you might just be that way), you have three others to choose from in the local area that reach your room.

The list rambles on a bit, but the essential point is that "Travel Inn" in Claremore OK is amazing, all the basics are handled and more, the room is clean, the rate is (much more than) reasonable and the next time I go to Houston I'm stopping here both ways.

This isn't bought or paid for, I just think it's nice to support businesses that are going above and beyond, and besides... as far as I'm concerned, this hotel totally redeems Oklahoma for that "scenic overlook" and puts the state back in my good graces.

... Oh! Also, I didn't have to haggle for that rate. I have worked at a hotel desk before, and I am more than capable of haggling if I need to, but honestly, if someone leads with their rack rate, I really appreciate not having to waste the time. I made one halfhearted attempt to add triple-A (reflex, but let's be honest, if you're running a clean, well-run hotel with in-room refrigerators and microwaves and your rate drops under 40, you aren't even making a profit on average) and then just signed myself in. It was nice not to have to expend the effort, so to speak.

And yes, that $40.00 included the tax, which was another nice surprise. My card was charged for exactly $40.00.

Never been quite this pleased with a stop on a long trip, before. ... halfway inclined to stay an extra day and check out the neighborhood (the price is right, after all) but I should be getting back if I want to have the prints ready for the Christmas stocking-stuffer rush, and I still need to find a laminating machine before I can do that. So, home I go.

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