What do you mean, Budget?

We left Tarragona this morning, a fabulous little city I will write more about later.
Because tonight I need to discuss other things.
We are en route to Paris, and so we calculated seven hours from Tarragona, and booked an Ibis hotel just off the autopiste to break up the trip. We made great time, and to Liah’s astonishment, did not get lost once (because we are just that kind of people, if you haven’t heard). Anyway, we pull off the motorway, and five minutes later we are in the parking lot of our hotel. Perfect. We get our bags out (which are mostly long-life grocery bags and garbage bags), and head inside, anxious to check in and freshen up. The lobby is bright and spacious, clean white decor with accent splashes of fuchsia and lime green. There is a kids play room right there in the lobby, and posters of the rooms on the walls celebrating their “thick comfortable duvets”, all decorated in classic cream and taupe. The girl at the reception desk doesn’t speak English, but we manage to check in. I feel good.
Until I gather the girls and head for the hallway marked chambres, and she calls out, “no, no”, and points outside across the parking lot, “la bas”, she says, “Ibis Budget”. Hmmm.
Ok, probably not much of a difference, right? I mean, this reception area is so nice…perhaps we wouldn’t get the extra thick duvets, but that would be ok…it’s not cold or anything.
So, off we trudge across the parking lot and into the Budget version of the Ibis, where the reception is actually a machine into which you put your credit card, and it assigns you a room number and a code for the door. Maybe that’s how they save money, I think hopefully. We already have our code since we checked in next door, so we find the elevator and ascend to our two almost-adjoining rooms.
They are not exactly taupe. More of a nicotine-stain sort of colour. Which may be the case since there are ashtrays on our bedside table, and the room smells faintly of stale smoke. The carpets (ish) are blue with a variety of darker areas in different shapes and sizes. I wonder if those could have anything to do with the fact that you can bring in a pet for three extra euros?
The shower cubicle opens into the room. The sink is right there in the room. And the toilet is in yet another cubicle that is so small I have to leave the door open when I pee because my knees won’t fit in.
Not only is the duvet not extra thick, it is not even there. We do, however, have a 1970s bedspread in an orange and blue splatter print. It’s shiny. And the skinny little bunk above the double bed is not yet made, but it has a scratchy blue blanket and a sheet waiting for your sleeping pleasure. If you can get up the spindly metal ladder.
I want to go back to what I now know is The Ibis Styles. But we already have our bags in, and the kids have used the bathroom, and to be honest, princess syndrome is not what I want to teach them on this trip. So I decide to suck it up. I am feeling grossed out, but trying to hide it. Then Dev farts and as I am about to utter the usual admonishments, Mairi interrupts me, “don’t worry about it, Mum, it will probably improve the smell of the room”. You know it’s bad when…
We decide to go out to eat to kill some time before bed, and make ourselves (me) feel better. But it’s Remembrance Day, and the only place within two miles that seems to be open is McDonalds. Oh, Boy. McCheval anyone? We go, and even Mairi is hungry enough to order chicken nuggets, and she has refused to eat there since she was very small on the grounds that it is not actual food. Liah wants to play in the softplay area, so based on what we have to go back to, we let her. By the time we leave, I feel like things are crawling on my skin, and if I didn’t have kids for whom I must set an example, I would stamp my foot and demand we get a room in the duvet-filled sister hotel next door. I have a Visa card, and this is what it’s for.
Instead, I have cuddled my littlest girl to sleep, and connected to the (miraculously) free wifi to write this blog.
I have to go to bed soon because we have a long driving day again tomorrow and my senses need to be sharp so I can navigate us out of Liah’s bad books. I am determined to convince her that we are not, in fact, that kind of people.
We will be leaving way earlier than necessary.





Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “What do you mean, Budget?

  1. Oh my God! What are those little things on the carpet? I hope it’s in the weave. I’ll remember never to book Buget in France.

  2. Aunty Jen

    I’ve stayed in IBIS hotels – always were small rooms (even the non-budget) – which particular IBIS?

    Wonder if you’ll have time for rose-petal ice-cream? Delicious. See you soon.

  3. first I read this to myself last night on my phone and just giggled my way through it. Then I read it out loud to my husband and could barely get through it I was laughing so hard. This is SO.US. We’d be making the farting comments, yelling at the kids to NOT.TOUCH._ANYTHING_ and being overly tempted to get the hell out of there. In fact we’ve been there. Travel is such a trip. Thanks for the laugh.

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