During my visit to Cooperstown, NY I stayed at the Cooperstown Motel. On Google Reviews it manages to pull off a zero (0) rating, with the comment “This is desperation.” The dominant review is “Terrible” on TripAdvisor.com, though with shaky math it gets a 2.5 star rating, and comments like: “Just stay away” and “All in all not worth the price, not worth half the price” and “Stay Somewhere Else!” When I was booking my trip I realized that the motel was 38% of the cost of the cheapest alternative I could find in Cooperstown, which translated to saving ~$275 for a two night stay. Add in the parking savings, and it would be about $300.
Seeing the bad reviews made me curious. Is it really that bad? I had to find out.
I’ll begin this review with a quiz.
Question 1. If you open the door to your motel and get assailed by stale cigarette smoke and cheap industrial cleaner fumes that make your throat burn and your eyes water do you:
(A) Just ignore it.
(B) Store your luggage in your car, open the windows and the door to the room and leave for a few hours while it airs out.
(C) Go right back to the office to demand a new room or your money back.
Question 2. If a millipede walks across the floor of your room you:
(A) Kill it and carry on.
(B) Notice it, acknowledge it is not causing any harm, time how long it takes it to reach the other side of the room.
(C) Experience an increase in blood pressure, fear, or some sort of duress.
Question 3. If the bathtub and shower look a little slimy, do you:
(A) Jump in anyway.
(B) See this as an opportunity to wash your flip-flops.
(C) Refuse to shower.
If you answered C to any of the questions above you shouldn’t be considering this type of motel. Cigarette smoke, bugs, and a little slime are part of the package.
Yes, the room smelled so bad when I arrived I momentarily doubted that I could stand it. But I opened the windows and door (both windows stayed wide open the entire time I was there) and the results were impressive. Having windows on either side of the room allows air flow to occur when they are both open, that’s a plus. (I stored all valuables in the trunk of my car when I was away from my room, because leaving the windows wide open is like leaving the door open. Anyone could have tapped the screen out and hopped into the room in 2 seconds.) The biggest downside to having the windows open is that the street noise was loud, particularly late at night and early in the morning. I believe trucks spontaneously downshift at the sight of Cooperstown, and most drivers are compelled to honk their horns for no apparent reason when entering the town.
I saw a medium-sized spider, a millipede, and a large beetle in my room. They did not hurt me. I did not hurt them.
The bathtub had more slime than I was comfortable with, so I wore my flip-flops and showered quickly. The water was hot, and the pressure was respectable.
Everything in the room was old. The mattress felt like a piece of plywood with a gym tumbling mat attached to it (except it wasn’t that soft). Despite knowing I shouldn’t, I pulled the bed apart to see its pieces. I saw stains on the mattress and box spring I wish I had never seen. The tag on the mattress revealed it was delivered on December 17, 1986. I couldn’t bring myself to get close to the mattress, so I slept on top of the comforter reluctantly.
Along with the aged theme in the room, there was also a theme of fake. The end table looked wooden, but was plastic and weighed about 4 ounces (I placed my keys on one side and it almost fell over). The chairs were pleather. The desk and nightstand were particleboard with a plastic veneer.
The carpet had ridges and valleys, with some spots containing padding underneath and some spots lacking it. It had character. It reminded me of the 1960s.
When I saw the air conditioning unit in the room I made the immediate decision not to touch it. It looked like a fire hazard, and I suspect it would have sounded like a Harley Davidson. The thick dust in the filter made me feel congested at the mere thought of turning it on.
The Daewoo television was also a throwback. It had terrible picture quality (but I wasn’t traveling to watch television—so that didn’t bother me). I’d happily trade the 70 cable channels for a wifi connection (which was not provided).
As far as general cleanliness goes, the room scores rather low. I found enough hairs to assemble a wig. The edges of the room and the corners had accumulations of dust and debris. Some of the walls had splatter stains that were troubling.
The key for the room was pretty cool.
A few notes:
- In hindsight I would have brought my air mattress with me, along with a bottle of all-surface cleaner and some paper towels.
- I almost forgot to mention that the toilet seat was made of some composite material, and the outer veneer was cracking, leaving what appeared to me to be a medium favorable to harboring things exposed. It wasn’t clean. I stayed away.
- I think there is considerable variation between rooms. I walked past a room that had the door open and it appeared much nicer than room 32.
So what’s the verdict? Would I do it again?
Yes, for this trip I would probably book this room again for myself. I see it as a bit of adventure and roughing it. Plus I was able to use the money I saved to fund part of the Boston portion of my vacation. That being said, if I were traveling with someone else I would never subject them to this. I’m also hesitant to give my endorsement, so I’ll phrase it like this:
The Cooperstown Motel is a nice 0 star motel. I stayed at the Cooperstown Motel and I lived.