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Sunday, June 28, 2009

A note on cabin rentals

We have found two categories of places that take pets, and, as the old joke goes, one is swell and the other is lousy.

We have been spoiled by places like Collins Rentals on St George Island, where the rental homes are immaculate.

Likewise Bend of the River Cabins in Georgia. Pets are allowed in a good number of units and they sparkle.

As far as chains go, we are sold on La Quinta. 99% of their properties allow pets. (I counted!) and they are sparkling clean and good quality. Holiday Inn Express, Belmont and Americinn are all good quality when they allow pets, but not all of them do. Depending on the location, they may also have absurd restrictions like, the dogs can’t be left in the room, so you can’t go out.

Then there is the flip side of the coin. They allow pets, and they’re dives: Super/“Stupor” 8, “Quality” Inn, “Comfort” Inn, Days/“Daze” Inn, Ramada Limited. These are all very poorly maintained and managed. In addition to being noisy, they are often dirty. They have bugs, wet paint, slimy pools and dirty breakfast areas. The staff is poorly-trained and/or indifferent. And it’s all a crapshoot. I know there are hotel review sites, but I checked the one for one Super 8 and everyone loved it. It was a hellhole. And you can look at pictures, but they won’t show dirt or bad attitudes.

Even when you arrive in a dive, and you know it, you are usually too tired to start hunting for someplace else, and if it’s only a night, you tolerate it and complain in person and on-line, but that’s not fun. This is why I want to contact the good chains I mentioned above with my list of requirements for the ideal, pet-loving motel. They all have a lot of the things we want already. Just a couple of tweaks and they could gather ALL the pet family business and wipe the others out.

Finally, the issue of rental cabins. Many of these are mom and pop enterprises and it’s an extremely tiring business. Think of your own house and multiply by ten or so. All these people are in your face for their needs, and they mess it up, and they break things. The weather doesn’t always cooperate. Your hired staff, if any, are not necessarily rocket scientists or ethics professors. If you can’t personally clean every unit, there will be problems. You don’t always make enough money to fix or replace everything, and you have to make choices. So you add on new decks and let the raggedy towels go till next year, when, of course, the water heaters explode.

Bottom line: just clean them, and a cracked plate or torn window shade won’t bother me. But then the whole thing is run down and dirty, I won’t be back, and I’ll tell my friends.

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