South of the Border Motor Inn: Sleeping Weeth Pedro!
Oct 12, 2003 (Updated Mar 12, 2004)
Review by jdhauer
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:clean, affordable room, had a vacancy, it's South of the Border!, pink flamingos
Cons:easily replicated door keys
The Bottom Line: This isn't a half bad motel and you've got all of South of the Border at your doorstep.
It was the last weekend in April. We were driving south from Washington, DC to Florida. We left on a Friday evening. It was raining. We ate dinner in Springfield, Virginia. At 8:30, we pulled out onto I-95 to head south, planning to stop when we were tired. We thought about stopping in Rocky Mount, North Carolina but we weren't tired yet. By the time we hit Fayetteville, we were tired. Very tired.
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We tried to find a hotel room at every exit in North Carolina south of Fayettesville with no success. Every exit. I'll repeat that one more time. Every single exit, calling ahead on the cellphone. Who'da thunk it that North Carolina was such a happening place?
It started raining harder.
As we passed the North Carolina-South Carolina state line, we saw the famous sombrero sign at South of the Border (south of the North Carolina border that is). Neon lights burned deep into our retinas. Can you say "tourist trap"?
South of the Border is well known on the east coast as a premier tourist non-destination. They used to have these signs up and down I-95 which had slogans such as "Sleep Weeth Pedro!", "You never sausage a place. You're always a weiner at Pedro's." and "Start yelling, kids! They'll stop!" That never worked with my parents when I was a kid. They never once stopped.
As an adult, it was up to me whether or not we stopped. We were tired. Prop up the eyelids with toothpicks tired. 2:43 am when you got up with a toddler twice the night before and you've been up since 6 am tired. So stop we did. Lucky us, out of 300 rooms at the South of the Border Motor Inn, we got one of the last 8. There are also 100 hookups if you choose to camp but we were not equipped for camping.
We pulled up to the South of the Border Motor Inn after driving under Pedro's crotch. No, I'm not making this up. There is a giant Pedro and you can drive through his "legs". The lobby is located in the same building as pedro's "Leasure" Dome. It appeared that the "P" had been scraped away from the word "Pleasure". The Pleasure Dome is the indoor swimming pool. The entire lobby area has that unforgettable smell of overchlorinated, overheated warm water. I wouldn't want to work in that building. Both check-in and check-out were simply accomplished.
We drove around the back of the property to find our own private carport and our own piece of artificial turf right outside the door to our room. The carport is covered which was especially nice in the rain. We didn't get wet when we were unloading the car for the evening.
I usually don't like motels. I don't feel safe and really prefer places with interior corridors if at all possible. There is a 24-hour security patrol at South of the Border and we did see them out making sure there was no monkey business taking place. I felt the locks on the door were sufficient although I'd feel better if they went to a plastic key system where the keys are reprogrammed after each guest instead of the old fashioned metal keys that remain the same for each guest.
I was expecting a run down pit of horrors resembling the interior of the now defunct Gobbler in Wisconsin but instead I found a surprisingly clean and comfortable room. We were expecting a lot worse!
We made the mistake of requesting a one king sized bed instead of two beds. I say that it was a mistake because our two year old daughter had to sleep with us. At home, she usually sleeps in her own bed. We found out the hard way that although we were tired, she most definitely was not.
The room featured an oversized mini-refrigerator, plentiful closet space and a television set. The carpeting had recently been replaced. Our room had a "Pedro Likes Hockey" theme with paintings of hockey players on the walls. At first glance, they appeared to be painted on black velvet but that was merely an illusion.
The bathroom was "Sanitized for Your Protection!" and the strip across the toilet was so cute with blue flowers on it. Towels were thick and plentiful. Soap was provided. The most interesting aspect of the bathroom is the exterior wall which is made up of frosted glass bricks. While no one on the outside can see *exactly* what is going on in your bathroom, they can still tell when someone is sitting on the can.
Should you accidentally set your mattress on fire attempting to boil water (which wasn't necessary since there was plenty of hot water), don't worry. South of the Border has its own on-site fire department.
The amenities at the South of the Border Motor Inn include the Leasure Dome's indoor pool, an outdoor pool, tennis courts, grills, a children's playground and all of the wonders that make up the South of the Border complex.
I wasn't too impressed with the condition of the tennis courts or the children's playground but they were available. The courts needed serious weeding, resurfacing and new nets. One of the slides we saw needed the area at the bottom of the slide filled in as there was a pit about six inches deep there.
Fiberglass creatures abound. We saw a bunny, a rhino and a Pedro. What more could you want? Well, much more. Like flamingos. You can't have a tourist trap without at least a dozen hot pink plaster flamingos.
There are numerous shopping opportunities for you to buy South of the Border bumper stickers, mugs, backscratchers and just about any knick knack you've ever seen anywhere at a Stuckeys. You can buy a continental breakfast at the Sombrero Room or you can get a hamburger at the Hot Tamale. I personally recommend the ginger ale at the Hot Tamale. It has a lot of bite to it with real ginger. You can see the great white shark at the Myrtle Beach Shop. There are arcades and a small amusement park. There's even indoor miniature golf. Don't forget to stock up on fireworks!
My South of the Border Motor Inn experience didn't allow me the opportunity to fully explore the wonder that is South of the Border. It was 8 am and time to hit the road.
See you on the next trip, Pedro. It was a pleasure to Sleep Weeth You!
South of the Border Motor Inn
I-95 & US 301-501
Dillon, SC 29536
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