Club Quarters: Where you get a quarter of the room for half the price!

2 Jul

People who know me well know it’s a point of pride that I’m frugal. I like sniffing out a deal and can rarely justify a splurge on something that isn’t going to be with me for least five years. When I travel for work, people think it’s funny that I routinely seek out cheap hotels even though I’m not footing the bill. I can’t help it – it’s just not in my DNA to waste money.

I will say that this frugality has led to a few choice lodging options along the way – like when I awoke flea bitten in Los Angeles or thought I’d picked up bedbugs at a place in Chicago – but overall, it works out just fine. That is, until someone in my company asks for a recommendation of where to stay.

Back in February, my colleague Ricky was meeting me in Chicago for some meetings. “Where do y’all usually stay?” he asked with his innocent Dallas accent.

Without thinking to qualify it, I told him the Club Quarters in the Loop. I could usually score a room there for under $100/night and was an easy walk to the office (so I wouldn’t have to waste money on a cab).

Ricky took my recommendation and the second day we were there, we met up in the lobby to walk to the office together. Ricky had an odd look on his face.

“Did your bed LOOK like a king bed but actually wasn’t?” he asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I normally sleep in a king bed at home, so I know what it feels like, and the ‘king’ bed I slept in last night definitely wasn’t one. But the weird thing was that it looked to be in scale with everything else in the room. So I started looking around and did you realize that EVERYTHING is about 75% of the normal size?”

In fact, I had noticed that before, thinking they’d done a brilliant job efficiently laying out the space with luggage racks that rolled under desks, flat screen TVs that were flat not for aesthetic reasons but because something larger wouldn’t have fit.

I nodded.

“I didn’t check the nightstand, but given how small everything was, my guess is that the Guideons only left the new testament in there,” he continued.

I don't know what Ricky was complaining about... at least the hotel room wasn't THIS small.

I was reminded of that exchange last week, because I stayed at the Club Quarters again. Or rather, I stayed at the Central Loop Hotel. Which is EXACTLY the same hotel (same address, same entrance, same structure, same everything) except it’s about $40 cheaper per night than the Club Quarters is online. What a racket, right? They have the building co-branded with rooms that are available only to members at a higher rate, or those that the public can buy at a cheaper rate when they have extra vacancies.

I was fancying myself exceptionally clever for figuring this out, when I walked into my room. Oh, it was definitely the same room that I’d stayed in before as a guest of the Club Quarters. Except, well, it’s the only room I’ve ever stayed in without a view. I don’t mean that it lacked a view to brag about, or that it had an ugly view. I mean, it had NO VIEW AT ALL. The windows were completely frosted.

Well, so at least I know the premium put on sunlight: $40. I wonder if I could knock off another $20 if I booked just a closet? It’s worth asking…

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4 Responses to “Club Quarters: Where you get a quarter of the room for half the price!”

  1. Lucas July 3, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Just use priceline and name your price. You’ll always stay under $100 and you don’t sleep in windowless rooms.

  2. Babs July 4, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    Call me crazy because you’re traveling for business, (and I have no idea if you’re open to this idea) but I’d check out the local hostel scenes for cheap accommodations as well. Most have private rooms with locks you can book for well under $100/night and you get to meet new people if you’re hanging out in the common area.

  3. bonnie July 4, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Have you ever stayed in the Japanese-style arrangement where the “room” is a bed with a pull-down door and people dress in the halls and use communal bathrooms? I’ve only seen pictures, but thought nothing could make me more claustrophobic — until I saw this picture. At least you would be prepared if you booked a bunk bed-as-room place and the lights are very bright. This place looks like a jail cell, and you’d probably never find anything which dropped between the beds.

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