To save money for our remaining few weeks in New Zealand, we moved out of our flat and into a motel. I managed to find a room for $54 per night, as the stay was 20 days long. It was roughly the same price per week ($375) as our flat, and we didn’t have to pay for water or electricity. The down sides were a smaller space and only 200MB of WiFi per day.
We moved our belongings in one trip, which is quite something considering I only had a Honda Jazz. We always travel light. Upon our arrival on the Sunday afternoon, our room was ready and the gentleman behind the desk gave me the key and explained that the price must be paid upfront and in full because it is a special offer. Although we weren’t aware of this, I hadn’t checked the paperwork and it seemed fair enough. We transferred some money between accounts and paid in full.
We were in Room 10, closest to the road, with our own parking space as expected. There are 3 wooden steps leading up to a small deck that links to the end-terrace studio room with large glass sliding door. The key was fiddly and did not feel sturdy, but eventually opened the door and we were glad to get in.
We were greeted by a double bed with 4 pillows, 2 bedside cabinets, a lamp, a tiny cupboard for your clothes, a 3 seater leather sofa-bed, a TV, small dining table with chairs, a small fridge, microwave and kitchen area with a camping hob. Oh, and a pretty bad smell of damp. The adjoining bathroom has a spacious shower and toilet with a sink. The bed is equipped with heated electric blankets which I of course would never use but Gemma found a God-send.
We threw our bags onto the sofa and lay on the bed, it was miles comfier than our springy broken bed in the flat. So far everything is bearable. Unfortunately this bliss was short lived, and we spent the rest of our stay finding out that pretty much everything was broken.
There are 3 ceiling lights, and only one of them worked. Both chairs had a dodgy leg that was hanging off, which you only forget about once. The bathroom window was cracked, and the kitchen window was broken and did not shut. We found a way of ensuring that nobody could break in, so we were happy enough with that.
I informed the receptionist about the lights and requested to move my parking space closer to the main building, away from opportunist thieves and bird poo. He was very helpful and accommodated my request despite only having a small space to play with, I think the fact that the motel was very quiet and did not have many customers may have helped. He also said that somebody would come tomorrow morning to fix the lights.
Our first night’s sleep left us with sore backs, but this is mainly due to the pillows being rock solid and our backs being used to our old rickety bed. We waited until past midday, and nobody had been about the lights, so I went to reception. A different man was working today, but he was equally smiley and came to our aid. After some bulb and fuse switches he got the lights working. As he was leaving I asked if a cleaner would be coming at some point to do the bed and the towels. He said he would do them now, and swapped our towels for new ones, but just made the bed. We thought this was strange, as we clearly meant for him to change the sheets, but we assumed they may have an “every other day” or “every third day” policy on sheets, so we left it at that.
The next day the receptionist came and doubled as a “cleaner” again, changing our towels and leaving us an extra loo roll, but no vacuuming or actual cleaning was done, and the sheets were left once again.
By the Wednesday my patience was wearing thin, and before I left the motel to do some errands I informed the receptionist (a lady today) that I would be out for an hour and if they could change the sheets that would be great. She said, “Your price does not include us changing your sheets.” I told her that was fine, and that the person can just leave the clean sheets on the bed and we will put them on. An hour later I returned, and as I parked up the lady came out of the building to speak to me. “Hello, we have changed your sheets this time, but in future we will not be able to do it again because the price you paid was a promotional price and our accountant says that that price is too low.” I said, “Thank you for changing the sheets. As I told you before, you don’t have to put them on, just make sure you provide clean sheets.” She said, “You see we are only a motel, not a big hotel. Big hotels can drop their price 50% and still make profit, we are making a loss on your room. So this time it’s okay, but next time we will have to charge you for the washing of the sheets.” I somehow managed not to poke her eyes out and said, “No. You are not a hostel. You are a motel. It is your duty to ensure we have clean sheets to sleep in. You cannot move the goalposts once a customer has paid, that ain’t how it works. In 4 or 5 days time I will bring you my sheets, and you will provide me with clean ones at no extra charge.” She looked bewildered and stuttered “OK”, and I walked off before I said something I regretted. This is what the room looked like when I got in.
The table had been wiped down but the kitchen surface and all bathroom surfaces remained dirty, along with the floor. That night I heard rats pitter pattering in the ceiling above us. They are very active after dark, and they came back every single night. In the tiny cupboard/closet there is a loft access door. This has large cracks at each end and the fumes of rat poo are poisonous, so our stay just kept getting better by the minute. It is only by the grace of some higher power that I didn’t see rats in our room as I may have been writing this review from a prison cell.
Oh yeah, the shower. Nice and toasty if you use it at the right time. Use it when other people are using water or after the hot water has ran out then you will find yourself with one of those showers that goes from boiling hot to freezing cold in 5 seconds and continually bounces between the two.
The remainder of our stay was much the same, with clean towels everyday but everything else having to be requested. Do I recommend staying at the Siesta Motel? If you are homeless and broke with a bounty on your head, and the Siesta Motel offer you a free room, I would seriously consider a cosy doorway.
CONS: The list is literally too long. I would not stay here again.
PROS: Most of the staff are smiley. The rats seemed friendly too.
Overall, I think we were both very glad to be leaving for Australia and Malaysia, but anywhere would have done after 3 weeks of living like that! We have 2 more weeks on the road before we hit the UK and begin looking for work once more.