Ruth and I have stayed in some not-so-grand hotels over the years and we’re used to making do. Website pictures often don’t match reality, and there’s often a discrepancy between price and room quality. We’ve stayed in palace-like rooms for less than $100 and almost-dungeons for over $200.
On our just completed trip to Alberta, we stayed in a place that went immediately onto our list of 5-worst-of-all-times. It was called Deer Lodge and I feel sorry for any deer or dear who has to stay there for even one night. To make matters worse, we had booked this Norman-Bates-horror for Ruth’s cousins too.
Our room was tiny, I estimated 10 feet by 10 feet, and airless. The floor sported industrial-strength, well-used brown carpet. The walls were half covered with puke green wallpaper with air bubbles. The other half was bilious beige or brown paint. The tiny bed, the only kind that would fit, was bracketed by 2 small, distressed chests-of-drawers. From the bed we faced an exposed clothes rack and an upright chair with a fake fur pillow. I spent several uncomfortable hours in that chair squinting at print. The heavy brown duvet on the bed kind of matched the carpet and was like sleeping under cement. Over the bed was the photo above, three generations of one family, we assumed, enjoying Deer Lodge in the 50s when it was just starting to fade.
The bathroom sink came with a scald warning. “With our charm comes our original heating and plumbing system. When using the hot water, please refrain from running any cold water at the same time.” Charm? The bathroom floor was large, loose tiles with the grout almost gone. The bathroom had been painted gold, probably in the 60s.
Other signs made us laugh. “Apologies for any inconvenience” and, on the Lodge’s stationery, “Where Leisure meets Luxury”.
For this we paid $183.84 to a company called Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts.
Since we booked through Expedia, I checked when I returned home to see why my normally functioning brain booked it and found almost 150 comments. Jess from Australia agrees with me:
“The free wi-fi is shocking! Rooms are very loud, hot and uncomfortable. No tvs! The staff are mute! Overall for the price we were extremely disappointed. It was our worst 1 night stay on a 6 week trip of the U.S.A and Canada! The restaurant and cafe on premises is very overpriced for the state of the food. Never again!”
However, most of the comments were positive, like, “Quaint…a little piece of heaven….very enjoyable.” So I’m wondering if the mute staff that we found so unpleasant took an instant dislike and put us in their worst rooms. Surely, they have better.
Deer Lodge has one undeniable plus–proximity to Lake Louise.