Because our dorm move-in time was 9-12 on Saturday, we decided to stay about an hour outside of Chicago Friday night. If my car was going to be loaded down with all of Katie's worldly belongings, I was not leaving it in a downtown Chicago parking garage for easy pickings. So I found the Knights Inn on the internet, and diligently read all the reviews posted by guests. It sounded like an okay place to stay, and the price was less than half of a hotel in Chicago. As we pulled off I-55 and headed towards the large, not to be missed Knights Inn sign, I noticed a plethora of tractor trailer trucks parked near the gas station by the motel. Wait a minute...the gas station was the ENTRANCE to the motel. Hmmmm....I drove by the pumps and under the motel overhang, noticing a definite lack of any cars in the area, despite it being 6:30 on a Friday night. A sign on the motel entrance advised me to check in at the gas station.
As I took the car around the building, all I saw behind the motel in what appeared to be its parking lot were several derelict cars. Oh...and a boarded up window at the motel's entrance. Nice! The three of us looked at each other and decided that it might be better to try our luck with a downtown parking garage than the lot at the motel. I went into the gas station and told them I wanted to cancel our reservation. The woman behind the counter told me that they required 48 hours cancellation or we would be charged the room rate. At least I think that is what she was telling me. She was a little hard to understand. I explained that I didn't like the looks of the parking lot, and that the boarded up window reminded me of the broken down cars out back. She got a little insulted then - one of the cars out back was probably hers. Other guests were staying there, she said - they were just out at the moment. She then went and got one of the managers to talk to me, and he suggested that I take a key and at least go look at the room. They are under renovation, he said, and have just not repaired the window out front. So we looked at the room, which had granite counter tops in the bathroom yet oddly enough a piece torn out of the bathtub. I guess they just haven't repaired that yet, either. Anyway, we decided that since we could park the car right outside our window and keep an eye on it, we would go ahead and stay the night.
On the plus side the complex, and I use the term loosely, had a 24 hour restaurant and it was very good. We had great service and we all enjoyed our meals. When we walked back to the motel, not one additional car had been added to the parking lot. By the time we went to bed, two more cars were there, and by morning there may have been 8 cars in the lot. Some of them we heard arriving in the wee hours of the morning, having attended the racetrack in the area. Around 6:30 in the morning we awoke to room doors slamming and little kids running up and down the halls. The smell of cigarettes permeated the air, even though we were on the non-smoking side of the hall. We definitely did not spend a good Knight at the Inn.