Years ago, I found this amazing hotel, and it is my distinct pleasure to share it with you now. I found it while I was road-tripping through California. I don’t remember exactly where—all I know is that it was located on a dark desert highway. It was unseasonably cool, and the fragrant wind was blowing through my hair. Just as I was beginning to feel sleepy, I saw a shimmering light up ahead in the distance, and I felt drawn to it. I knew this was where I had to stop for the night.
First, the decor. It’s definitely old, but an eclectic blend of architectural styles makes its exact age difficult to place. There are definite religious influences, with stained glass and mission bells, as if it might be an old church—but with a distinct touch of the occult. I remember thinking, “This could be heaven or this could be hell.”
There’s no electricity (the receptionist led me to my room by candlelight), but it’s so rustic! There’s also a chorus of voices in the corridor and a bunch of weird dudes dancing in the courtyard at all hours of the day and night. The proprietor describes them only as “friends,” but overall, the ambiance is A+.
I can’t say the same for the service. When I asked the Captain, which is weirdly what they insist upon calling the bartender, for a glass of wine, he just said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.” Kind of weird for a bartender not to know the difference between wine and spirits, and he didn’t even apologize for being out of stock for so long. What kind of bar doesn’t have wine? And what’s with all these voices?!
That said, the dining room is incredible. Mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice, and the most gorgeous hand-forged steel cutlery. Again, kind of weird that they call it “the master’s chambers,” especially when the proprietor appears to be a woman, but no judgment. And the food! It’s a veritable feast of meat every night. I’m not sure what it is; some kind of beast, someone said.
Eventually, the voices did admittedly start to get to me, and I decided it was officially time to be on my way. I stood near the front desk for a while, but no one seemed to be on duty. I started to get impatient. I suddenly realized no one had taken my credit card information when I checked in, and I wasn’t even sure of the nightly rate…so I decided to book it. I was running for the door, and of course, that’s when the night man deigned to appear.
“Relax,” he said, “we are programmed to receive.”
I was like, “Well, I was trying to give, but no one was around. How much do I owe you?” But all he would say was, “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”
So, by far, the biggest selling point is the price. I’ve been here for years, and I’ve never paid a dime. I don’t know how that can possibly be profitable, but considering the cut-rate staff and the huge savings of not stocking the goddamn bar, I can’t imagine it’s an expensive operation. Also, there’s definitely some kind of black magic keeping everything going, so whatever.
If only I could remember the name. Ah, well. You can find it here any time of year. There’s plenty of room!