I'm beginning to realize that these anecdotes of Bad budget hotels could go on for a long, long time. Conversely, what's so interesting about a Good hotel?
I think I'm getting close to wrapping up this theme.
But I must highlight just one more really bad hostelry. It's
hard to choose: the hotel in Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca, whose bathrooom window almost fell to the street below when I opened it? The Hotel Lorena, in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, looking like a suite of bare bones dental offices, with the bare electrical wires in the closet?
The room in the Hotel Avenida in Chihuahua that had the concrete support column in the middle of the tiny room, and a good view of the flashing lights of the marquee just below our window? Not to mention the literally piped in central AC that came on and off at the whim of management?
No; the outstandingly bad hostelry was the Casa de Húespedes Bed and Breakfast in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, January, 1993. We were in full backpacker kit and mentality as we drudged up the cobbled streets of SCLC, while light drizzle fell. Our goal was this fantastically cheap hostelry which offered a room with bath PLUS breakfast for the peso equivalent of U.S. $10 a night/dbl.
After a long walk from the bus station, we arrived at the two story Casa de Húespedes, where we were greeted and shown two different rooms. The first was closer to to the main house. We imediately detcted a foul sewer odor upon entering. We quicly noted that the bathroom was separated from the bedroom by a coarse curtain.
We immediately asked to see another room.
That looked and smelled a lot better. By now, our energy reserves were at the point of no return. We needed to stay because we lacked the strength to return to the centro and look for another place. Besides, we really wanted to experience the cheapest lodging deal we'd ever read about.
We took the room.
It was nearly bare: a bed, a few pegs in the wall for clothing and a small card table for a nightstand.
We soon realized that the bed had no mattress but only a boxspring, covered by the bedding. There was one, bare light bulb in the room.
The bathroom was a charmer: a copper pipe snaked into the window, ending in a big showerhead. We were not keen to use the shower, as the bathmat was a filthy car floormat. The bathroom floor was equally unattractive.
We decided to make the best of it and crawled into the bed, between thick woolen blankets, atop our boxsprings.
We were awakened at intervals by the shrill screams of a child. Sleep was difficult, but we somehow survived a restless night.
When we went to the sunny terrace where a breakfast of frijoles negros, tortillas, eggs and excellent coffee was served, we could almost overlook the wretched night we'd experienced. But we knew we couldn't stand another night like that, so after breakfast, we left, lugging our backpacks, and found a nice, clean warm place, with hot water showers, just off centro. It was about U.S. $17 a night, with no breakfast, but it was worth it. La Posada Virginia was cozy and homey, and we snugged right in.
Stay tuned for Don Cuevas' Picks of his favorite Mexican Hotels.