I’ve stayed at Motel 6 since I was a little girl in the 1970′s to now as a middle=aged adult. What I have found is that some are better than others, but they all share common characteristics of clean beds, polyester bedcovers, small scratchy towels & complimentary slivers of soap. Here are my tips to make your Motel 6 stay better.
- Bring your own towel. Yes, the Motel 6 towels are uniformly thin, scratchy,and small. I use their towels to dry my hands and my hair, and bring my own towel for the rest of me. A towel can also function as a blanket or pillow on an airplane. I’ve even used my towel as seat padding. Bring a beach towel and it’s an even better blanket. Heck, you can even use it at the pool!
- Bring your own pillow. I have found that having my own pillow while travelling has made the difference between tossing and turning, and getting a good nights sleep. Also if I’m on a driving vacation it makes it easier to sleep—-no more cricked necks. Don’t forget your travel towel-blanket. I can also then use the Motel 6 pillows as back bolsters while reading or watching TV in bed. Plus, for me, I’ve seen some of the other Motel 6 guests, and well, I don’t want to use pillows they have used.
- Shower Flip Flops. I don’t care if it’s Motel 6 or a higher-end hotel, it doesn’t mean people don’t have athletes foot. I use these at the gym too. When you have to get ice or walk to the pool, just slip them on.
- Bedbugs. I have never seen bedbugs in any Motel 6. Period. Doesn’t mean I don’t check!
- Which Motel 6 in the same city? I have found that if there are two Motel 6′s within a few miles of each other, and there is a $20+ price difference per night….there’s a very good reason for that. $20 a night can make a huge difference between the clientele and the room/hotel condition. See photos below of a $55 vs $75 a night Motel 6 in Flagstaff, AZ. I stayed at both. I will stay at the $74 a night Motel 6 the next time I visit. The staff was friendly at both locations. Ice was the same at both. The difference was newer & nicer amenities, a laminate versus carpet floor (cleaner, fewer allergy problems) and no peeling walls in the bathroom. You get what you pay for, even within the same chain.
- Amenities. You don’t go to Motel 6 or similar quality hotels for the amenities. There will not be a blow dryer, bathrobes or slippers, huge towels or shampoo. Ice will generally be on the ground floor and there will be a sign asking you to please not fill your ice chest with their ice. But at $50 versus $124+ a night…well, I’ll bring my own towel and blow dryer sometimes.
- Clientele. This can be a crap shoot.Let’s just say it’s a melting pot of socio-economic diversity. However, even though on the lower scale of clients, some of whom I would normally cross the street to avoid, I have never been afraid or had people fall against my hotel door at 3AM in a drunken stupor —- which did happen several times on a Carnival Cruise. You will avoid a certain socio-economic group if you stay at $125+ a night hotels. But I’d rather spend my money on a long vacation on activities and meals. (On short trips I go higher end.) Motel 6′s are also usually older, worn out buildings. But at $50 a night, there’s not a lot of money left over for maintenance and upgrades.
If I am not staying at a ‘nice’ hotel and I only have a choice of $50-$90 a night rooms, I generally opt for Motel 6. Like other chains (McD, Dennys) I know what I’m going to get. There’s a comfort in predictability when you are on the road and in a strange town. I leave the crapshoots for meals and experiences.
Much like I know what a Quarter Pounder or Grand Slam is going to taste like, I know what I’m going to get with a Motel 6. I have found that on the road, ‘better’ brand-name chains that have locations near or next to Motel 6 generally charge higher prices for the same quality of room and amenities. At that point, I am paying for the ‘name’, not the quality. The lobbies are a little larger (Ok, a lot! Motel 6s don’t have lobbies).but they don’t always have free coffee in the morning. I have found those ‘name brand’ hotels have moldy-smelling rooms, cheesy towels, and slivers of soap. It just cost more.
Tom Bodett, please keep leaving the light on for me. Thanks.