When we found out that our favorite band, Dada, was going to be within driving distance, we knew we had to go.
The State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia was originally a movie theatre back in the 50's and 60's, but its been renovated into a dinner club / party club place and bands play there quite often. We were planning on drinking so I wanted to find a hotel as close as possible to the theatre.
After checking on the internet, I found The Stratford Inn Motor Lodge. There are several old motor lodges in Falls Church still operating today. Falls Church was on a main highway artery back in the 50's and so there was a lot of business to be had. There were also several name brand hotels nearby but nothing was as close as this one.
But, there were no reviews, so how would we know what we were getting ourselves into?
We didn't! We took a chance!
This being a traditional motor lodge, there were two stories with rooms on both sides. Our rooms were around the back (luckily!) because the main street out front is rather noisy. We were also on the second floor.
Now, to be honest, this is not the nicest hotel you will stay at. While it was very convenient and kind of an adventure, there were some very troubling things about our accommodation.
It has not been renovated probably in the 50 years that it has been there. There was a big hole in the wall in back of my headboard that had been "fixed" by someone stuffing paper towels into it. My greatest fear was that something would come out of it!!!
So, I stuffed it with some more Kleenex and toilet paper!
There were some alarming marks on one of the electrical outlets. And the outlet next to my bed did not have a cover on it.
My bedside light would not turn on because the light bulb was missing...
The paneling that covered the wall next to my bed was bowed out and you could see behind it. My bed had a frame that featured a sharp piece of metal that stuck out from under the mattress. I took a pair of socks and covered it so it wouldn't cut my leg... again.
But, other things were OK. The furniture in the two rooms was different but functional. In my husband's and my room, we had authentic Ethan Allen hotel furniture from the 50's or 60's (in spite of the carnivorous bed frame). In my sons' room it was second hand 80's style hotel stuff.
Both rooms had TV's that worked just fine. The carpet was old and worn out but had been vacuumed. The room featured a separate vanity outside the bathroom and that whole area was floored with linoleum that had also seen better days.
Both bathrooms had been renovated to some extent sometime in the past 10 years or so with tileboard and new flooring and both were clean.
The AC unit under the window looked almost new and was in good condition--as did the outlet it was plugged into!
Except for generally being old and worn out, there were no bugs and everything was clean.
Once we had checked into our rooms, we noticed what looked like a dead body in the parking lot of the Starbuck's next door. The police and EMS showed up and low and behold, it was just a guy who got so drunk that he fell out of his chair! He shouldn't have been sitting out there in the first place of course. After reviving him, they called him a cab.
Now, at this point you might be wondering why I would think that this experience was above average.
We really decided to stay at this motor lodge for the nostalgic value and the fact that we could walk to and from the concert venue. There is no doubt that this place was a whole lot nicer in the 50's and 60's.
I even surfed pictures off of ebay of what the hotel looked like in its heyday. (People sell old postcards and I lucked out and found one of the Stratford!)
Not knowing anything about the place or what we might find, I came prepared with clean sheets from home, towels, air freshener and bug spray. I treated it a little more like a camping trip!
But, it really wasn't that bad. We paid about $70/room which for that area is a steal. I got to walk around and imagine what it would have been like staying there 50 years ago, walking over the empty parcel that once held the swimming pool. I think if someone renovated this old girl, she would make a wonderful little B&B.
Certainly, if you are going to a show at the State Theatre, and don't mind roughing it just a bit, it makes for an interesting experience that takes you out of the cookie cutter mid-range brand hotels where you always know just what to expect.
Should you stay at the Stratford? Only if you want a little bit of adventure. I got a good night's sleep and I took a bath with no worries. The closet was nice and big too. For something out of the ordinary, it's worth taking a chance on.
If we ever go to another show at the State, we will likely stay there again. We did have a good trip and this "old girl" was part of it.
- Also Known As:
- Stratford Motor Hotel Falls Church