Dale Downtown Motel
Yours is a very bad motel. Well, the motel is a wonderfully shabby dive that I felt completely comfortable in. The owners however, merit this tedious tale.
When I read customer reviews on travel websites and newsgroups, I occasionally come across long bitchy reports about how horrible a flight was, or how terrible the service was at X restaurant and the like because things weren’t absolutely perfect. My immediate thoughts are, “What high maintenance pain in the ass customers”, and wonder why people are incapable of such inflexibility or being happy without perfection. I expect surprises when traveling, and it makes it all the more spontaneous and interesting. Except for last weekend, which of course requires the detailed and wordy review I detest:
I prefer to stay at local places when I travel. My best experiences have always been at small family run lodges and motels. A leaky shower, or bare light bulb doesn’t bother me if the price is right and the owners are friendly and accommodating. I’ll always choose a place with local flair over a chain joint anytime.
The MS150 bike tour took me through Colorado Springs last weekend. Not wanting to spend $200 at the Antlers Hilton, (where my coworkers / team were staying), my friend Google found a small motel across the freeway. The Dale Downtown Motel was a short walk from downtown Colorado Springs. I called Wednesday and made a reservation without incident.
When I rang the bell outside the lobby I was met by Larry, who looked at me like I was from Mars. I had my bike and helmet with me, but considering 2,500 other riders were also spending the night in Colorado Springs, I didn’t feel out of place. “What can I do for ya”? He surpisingly asked while stopping in his tracks, as if I was the first person ever to show up needing a room. I told him I had a reservation. We filled out seemingly more than necessary paperwork as he explained his wife usually runs the credit card machine, hence the repeated attempts at processing my VISA. Larry was quite pleasant and we talked about my ride down from Denver.
My first clue to trouble should have been the plethora of small plastic kids toys strewn throughout the filthy gated pool area en route to room 105, but I took a well needed shower and nap after biking 80 miles, and walked back to town to meet up with my fellow cyclists for dinner.
I walked back to the Dale Downtown Motel around 9pm, and upon entering found a chaotic scene of caterwauling kids running around in diapers, and several tank top clad adults all loitering about the room next to mine, complete with a card table and plastic chairs set up outside their door. (Which was about two feet from my door). I politely said hello, and thanked myself for always traveling with earplugs. Unfortunately they didn’t do the job. The incessant shrieking and thumping of feet was jarring, and I opened my door and very respectfully asked them to be quiet.
Bad on me, as apparently the group in room 106 and the owners were aquaintances, and I received a call on my room phone by Becky, the owner, informing me quiet hours, (which apparently meant non-screaming hours), are not in effect until 10pm.
At almost 10pm with no relief from the noise I called and asked for another room. Becky antagonisticly grumbled at me to come to the office. I asked if any rooms were available at the far side of the L shaped motel, but those were rooms with kitchenettes, and “I would be damned if I was gonna be put in wonna those for fifty bucks”. Then some guy from behind the room adjacent to mine came in and walked behind the counter for some reason, as she asked him, “Are you pissin this guy off? He’s complainin ’bout you”. Wonderful, I thought. Now I’ve irritated this guy.
I calmly explained I didn’t want to cause her any difficulty, but simply needed to get to sleep as quickly as possible. Becky said that I was already a problem, and begrudgingly offered me room 212, and made it known that it would be the LAST time I would stay at the Dale Downtown Motel, and she would be charging me a 10 dollar cleaning fee.
Not caring about the 10 dollars I agreed and asked for the room key to move my things. This concept caused her even more agitation, and she barked out “You don’t have TWO rooms, you paid for ONE room and get ONE key”. About to explain I simply wanted to move my things and would quickly return with the second key, Larry screamed at her to “Give him the goddam keys already, he ain’t goin’ anywere”. Luckily the commencing argument distracted her enough that I was able to slip out back to my room, as they continued arguing with each other.
Realizing I was hated by the group in the room next to me, hated by Becky, and probably everyone else in the motel, I rapidly stuffed my belongings into my backpack while scouring the phone book for a nearby motel. After two tries I found one with a fuzzy knowledge of their location.
Double checking the room to make sure I had everything, I opened the door to find Becky and Larry standing there. I handed Larry both room keys, told them I’d dispute the charges on my credit card, and sped off into the rainy night as Becky screamed “You got the room buddy, you’re PAYING for this room pal….”
Lesson learned: Family run businesses are run by ALL kinds of families. While the majority treat customers well and go out of their way to help folks traveling through town, other families may have severe mental instabilities. Signs offering weekly rates, and located in the same block as three liquor stores are best avoided.
Larry and Becky of the Dale Downtown Motel: You need some lessons on basic hospitality. If an easy going person like me runs away fearing your wrath at night, then I can’t imagine what a customer with slightly higher expectations would think.
Visiting Colorado Springs? Try the Dillon Motel in Manitou Springs, where I stayed there a few months back. Just a few blocks from downtown Manitou Springs they have cozy cabins, a tree ringed property, and deer wandering around daily. Their web site is here.
Best to avoid the Dale Downtown Motel
620 West Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80905