How Clean Are Those Motel Sheets?

After 5 nights of camping in Acadia National Park, we spontaneously decided to spend one more night in Bar Harbor, the touristy, trendy town abutting the park. “Spider Web,” an Agatha Christy mystery, was playing at the local theater, and a room was available at a simple motel on the main strip. We left our luggage in the room, ate a quick dinner and headed to the theater where local talent entertained and exceeded our expectations.

It was late when we returned to the motel. With three beds, two doubles and a twin, the room was perfect for our family of four. As we took turns brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed, it was my son who discovered something first. “There’s an ear plug in my bed!” he exclaimed. No doubt about it. That was an ear plug. And it wasn’t brand new.

I turned back the covers on my bed. Human hair laced my pillow and crumbs added texture to the cotton sheets. My daughter found additional hairs on her bed as well.

Ewwww! How could we sleep in these sheets? We contemplated getting our sleeping bags from the car but reminded ourselves we were paying $100 for the privilege of staying here.

By now it was 11:30 p.m., but my husband left to wake the owners. Living in a small house connected to the motel, the owners hadn’t yet gone to bed and when told about the condition of the sheets were suitably mortified and blamed it on the cleaning service. Although they offered to make the bed themselves, my husband said no thank you. He just asked for the sheets since it was late, and we were all in our pajamas.

Two years later, we decided to stay in one of those places with single room log cabins while driving up to Vermont. Breakfast was included at this good size lodging, complete with a pool, playground and fire pit. With our own front porch and a sitting area, we discovered games and books in our cabin in addition to the usual bed and bath. But as we got into bed, I turned back my sheet in horror. A black hair lay diagonally across the pillow case, and another one on the light blue sheet below.

After a trip to the office for clean sheets, we decided the dryer must be to blame. Although we enjoyed staying at these privately owned motels, it will be chain motels or hotels for us in the future, complete with industrial size dryers and, we hope, no extraneous human hair.

Trips taken 2007 and 2009.

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