Where do I begin.....
My teenage son and I decided to take a last-minute excursion from Columbus, OH to Chicago in early August 2008. Our plan was to see the Planetarium, Sears Tower, Chinatown, the Navy Pier,take an evening boat ride on Lake Michigan, then head back home. Two days were plenty for all this.
I looked online at Hotels.com. I had never used their site before--and honestly never will again. Thank goodness for TripAdvisor!
Online, the hotel didn't look fancy, but it did look clean and it was inexpensive by Chicago standards, BUT.....
When we got to the hotel, I should have turned back. First of all, the photos from the site must've been taken in the 1970s when the Skylark was last painted. When I walked in the "lobby", I was greeted with a thick, bullet-proof glass covered in stickers, flyers and warnings--the most note-worthy being the "CHICAGO POLICE WARNING: NO PROSTITUTION! Area Under Surveilance." Yikes!
The guy at the check-in was rude and without looking up, put his index finger in the air to say, "Wait a minute." He had trouble finding my reservation and tried to get me to pay him again (I had paid online and had my receipt with me). He finally found the reservation.
When we got to the room, the doorknob was broken, but the lock at least worked. The first thing we noticed was the cable line stapled to the wall around most of the room, until it reached the TV. My son (age 17) turned on the TV while I checked out the rest of our little slice of heaven and after a few minutes, asked me if I'd rather watch a Chinese language channel or PORN!! Ummm... I chose Chinese. We don't speak Chinese, but I figured it was more appropriate family fair than a violent porno! There were only two channels.
I then noticed the hundreds of moth holes in the ratty curtains. The sun shone through them like hundreds of little stars (We tried to make the best of this, can you tell?)
Our NON-SMOKING room had an ashtray and a partially used matchbook with "Hampton Inn" stamped on it. The phone had a "Days Inn" sticker on the front. Somebody went to a hotel auction.
When my son sat on his bed (there were two double beds), the headboard fell off the nails that propped it against the wall! We couldn't stop laughing!
I checked the sheets and pillows for stains and fluids, but the sheets were actually clean and the beds were surprisingly comfortable.
When I went in the bathroom and closed the door, I had a huge shock--there were what appeared to be two bullet holes in the wall and old red splatters from what I imagine was blood (or perhaps burritos as another Skylarker noted below). There was also a huge dent in the wall about 5 1/2 feet up and another smaller dent in the wooden door at the same height. My son stared at that for awhile and figured out that it may have resulted from someone's head accidentally being lodged against the wall and giving that Skylarker an inexpensive rhinoplasty. Nice! Also, grafitti on the back of the door gave us something interesting to read.
What else....the inside of the toilet was clean, but I made the mistake of closing the lid--oooh! Behind the seat, well, use your imagination! The shower was clean and there was plenty of hot water. The towels were stained and painfully scratchy.
In the separate vanity area, I was sickened. I had sat my toothbrush on the countertop before brushing my teeth. AFTERward, I noticed a few short, curly, thick black hairs on the countertop. Again, let your imagination run free! I pitched my toothbrush.
On the globe-style light fixtures over the vanity, there was THICK dust from the ages and more "splatters". WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN THIS ROOM?
My son and I popped over to Burger King, came back to the room, watched a little Chinese TV, and drifted off to sleep. I left the TV on all night to drown out the shouting and "other" noises coming from our energetic neighbors.
In the morning, we took photos, thinking nobody would ever believe us! As we were leaving, we noticed a gentleman getting out of an older model Cadillac with a young lady wearing a tube top and tiny shorts. She stumbled to their room in her ultra-high stilletto heels and they disappeared inside to perhaps discuss world events.
When I went back to the front desk to turn in my key, I tried to tell the young girl behind the bullet-proof glass about everything. She just stared at me. That's when I realized she did not understand English very well. I told her again in Spanish (I'm bilingual). I mentioned the charming couple in the next room and pointed to the Police Warning proudly posted on their bullet-proof window. She thanked me.
Would I recommend this place? You know, I just might! I think if you have a very, very good sense of humor, are up-to-date with your vaccines, and have recently paid your life insurance premium--you're good to go. If not, sleeping in the car might be a better option.
Ahhh, family vacation memories. We'll never forget our little adventure at the lovely Skylark Motel! Thanks for reading.
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- Also Known As:
- Skylark Motel Chicago
- Skylark Hotel Chicago