If youíre a traveler who absolutely must have five star accommodations wherever you travel, stop here and read no further. If, on the other hand, your main concern is to stretch that travel buck as far as it will possibly go, this opinion may have relevance for you. The Susse Chalet chain of hotels is intended to give the traveler a decent, comfortable room for a fair price, and for the most part they succeed in their goal.
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When I travel, I spend very little time in my hotel or motel room. I sleep there, and thatís about it. If Iím away from home I want to spend as much time as possible sight-seeing, eating the local cuisine, and most important of all, drinking the local beer. So any money I can save on my accommodations is money I have left to spend on the above-mentioned frivolities. Susse Chalet helps me do this.
When I visit Portland Maine, I usually stay at the Susse Chalet located near the Sea Dogís stadium, a few miles from the downtown area. Rooms usually run about $50 to $60 here, which is a bargain for a clean, comfortable room so close to the city. Imagine my pleasant surprise then when I booked a room here (or so I thought) on Travelocity.com for just a $35 nightly rate! Oh happy day! Do you know how many extra beers $15 to $25 saved will buy?
So it was that we eventually arrived in Portland and proceeded to the hotel to check in before hitting the city to begin our festivities. We pulled into the parking lot of the hotel. Oddly, there were no cars parked there. Dumpsters loaded with ragged fragments of sheet rock were strewn about the parking lot. Looking through the windows, we could see rooms being renovated. The front lobby was gone, never a good sign. In a mild state of panic, I dashed for the nearest pay phone and called the hotel number I had wisely brought with me, and was promptly informed that I was at the wrong Susse Chalet. I had booked a room in the Susse Chalet by Exit 8 off of the Maine Turnpike, a few miles further away from downtown but still within city limits.
When we arrived, I wasnít sure I liked this Susse Chalet. From the outside it looked dilapidated and far more in need of renovation than the location actually being renovated. This is a Saver motel, not a hotel, so I figured it would be a bit more Spartan, especially for $35 a night. Still, I did not consider it a good omen when we walked up to the second floor to get to our room and the outside railing had a sign on it that said: UNSAFE RAILING! DO NOT USE!. Egad, I thought, and wondered if that was legal. In any event, when we got into the room, things improved drastically. The room was very clean except for a small water stain in the bathroom lighting fixture. Other than that we got a desk, dresser with drawers, TV with cable and HBO, two double beds, and good service from the front desk. Continental breakfast was provided. A 24-hour Dennyís is located next door to the hotel, and there are department stores and other shopping in walking distance.
Saturday night was our night on the town, and with all the great beer available in Portland, we decided to play it safe and take a taxi to the old port section. Cab fare with tip was about $32 round trip. This may sound high, but consider two nights at the least expensive hotel in the city would have cost $250. Add the taxi fare to the $75 we paid for lodging at Susse Chalet and we were still $140 to the good.
If youíre in Portland and looking for a decent place at a great price, I recommend the Susse Chalet. If youíre traveling elsewhere, consider them too, and save your money for the reason you travel: to go out and have fun.