I have always been fascinated with south of the border. Ever since passing through with summer camp en route to disney, driving down with family to visit the grandparents in florida. Most people usualy have an opinion after they experience, however each time i passed through the "great white way a la mexico theme" of dillon sc, when I ask if we can stop, the response is "no, it looks like junk". Reading through these reviews, they were right! However this past summer, while driving solo from sc to ny, i passed, and well, decided to give it a try.
After exploring all the shops (the porno shoppe "the dirty old mans room" is closed down for good, as well pedros strip club) dealing with my disapointment of the sumbrero tower elevator being out of order, skeeball in the el torro game room, and finding any gadget, doo dad, trinket and gismo SOB can put their logo on, a terrential downpour came, and I decided instead of driving more in the rain, what better way to end my SOB encounter with a stay at the hotel.
One can see how these reviews make sense, the front desk help did seem a bit out of it, looked like something out of the 1950's. They gave me their best rate, 50 a night, printed out a copy of a map of the motor in and drew an "X" to indicate where my room was, with an arrow from the hotel lobby, as if it were a scavenger game. She then handed me the keys [yes, keys, not card. this is the only hotel in the past 15 years I stayed in that still has keys, even worse, with a keychain thats immovable with the room number right on it, so much for security lol] The carport (as they advertise the only hotel on i-95 to have this feature... is that even true??) is a great idea, though I dont see how this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, do you really feel more safe with your car right outside your window? I found my room clean, though not so comfortable, rustic is a good word to describe. There were 2 doors, the front door to enter by the carport and another door on the other side by the bed, that lead to a inner courtyard. I personally could not find any mice, ants, roaches or ferral cats (yes, someone complained about that) in my room, or around the courtyard door, though I can easily see how that can be an issue and/or regular occurence in this place. There were however a nice family of cats in the courtyard, that slept under a pedro statue/monument like thing. The tv did not have rabbit ear antennas and had all channels, though most of them bible selling infomercials. The beds were not cozy but sufficient, like an army cot, and the bathroom was clean. There was a compartment area with a fridge as well. The ac system worked well but was old, the room was a hommage to the 1970s with its wood walls and stucco ceiling. It was relativly quiet and calm, the room lighting though was not great.
Off to the lobby again to have a swim in pedros pleasure dome, which was scary. I was warned by the front desk, "you can swim in there but there is a lightning storm going on, swim at your own risk". The room consisted of a swimming pool with a glass ceiling in the shape of a sumbrero, which rattled and shuttered each time a strong gust of wind came. Water dripped off the glass ceiling structure and landed in the cloudy pool water below. There were remnents of what was a tiki bar with neon lights, and a hot tub(kiddie pool?) that was cemented over. More striking was a sign that said "no diving" with a picture of pedro diving into a pool with a "non smoking" sign over it. The sauna was not working. After the swim (which ended because i was in serious fear a glass panel would blow off and land in the water below) I went back to the lobby to request a wake up call. A family checking in in front of me in line displayed a typical expected look, the son c. age 7 looked thrilled as if he was in disney world, the mother looked as if "i cant believe we are staying in this pile of rags" the father "ill have to make this up to my wife somehow". The front desk woman (who looked like she never left sc her entire life) told me there is no continental breakfast and i should go to "pedros diner" across the way for food; a building whos roof was a gigantic sumbrero. Off to bed. I awoke to sunny skies as the storm passed, and decided to explore just a bit. My goodness this place was huge, a motor inn to the extreeme, all one level/floor, carport outside each door. It looked about 400 plus rooms, some looking like they have not been occupied in 10 years. The effect was that of a trailor park, and well some guests, added to that effect. In the back, i noticed, "pedros health club", which was not running, but I did wonder what on earth they could have provided in there. There was also 2 pools, the pleasure dome (indoor) and an outdoor pool. I also noticed walking around SOB entirely, there were 2 other hotels. Obviously I stayed at the pleasure dome, but these other two did not have names, I think one was a motor inn (with a kiddie train running around it)... does anyone have any information about these 2 other venues? Didnt even look like they were in business.
Truely once in a lifetime, its not the kind of place you would take your mother, but everyone should experience the true South of the Border experience once, why not give this place a try, its not the Ritz, nor does it pretend to be. Its comfortable, not cozy, the lobby is nice, with a fountain and nice western paintings, and the rooms are just fine to crash. Like I said from my own experience this time, no bugs. In comparison to other 95 hotels, this is decently priced, so what more can you want? Plus you also wake up in the middle of pedroland! There was from my experience, due to popular rumors, no man that bycycles you to your room with your luggage that wears a sumbrero, and not every employee at the hotels name tag reads "Pedro".
Pedros pleasuredome.. go for it! Gotta try everything once, though kudos to those who actually have their honymoon in the honeymoon quite, that in my book bleeds "great american honkeytonk".
p.s. Im not one to believe hype, but it wouldnt surprise me if room 305 really is haunted. This much sought after venture of ghost hunting tourists seems to be even more an attraction then south of the border itself, as I tongue and cheek asked the front desk where the "haunted room" is, she nodded and said without a second thought, room 305 around that parking lot in the back. It was a dark and stormy night (no really, it was) and as I approached the 300 building, a huge bolt of lightning was cast, and struck very close by. My cell phone rang, a friend back from home in NY, I picked up and began talking, while looking at room numbers to find 305. The rain poured more then ever. Each room had a porch light outside with the room number properly displayed. Just as I saw the number (305) in clear vision and i realised this was the room I was looking for, another huge bolt of lightning struck, the porch light went off (the front desk told me the room wasnt occupied due to off season, and roped off odd enough) and my cell lost service that very second. C-R-E-E-P-Y.
- Also Known As:
- South Of The Border Hotel Hamer
- South Of The Border Hamer
- South Of The Border Motor Hotel