America’s Best Suites: A name lathered in irony


Drove from Oxford to Jackson tonight. Left at about 10:15, arrived at, oh, 12:30. That’s friggin’ fast.

Anyhow, upon arriving in Jackson I needed to find a place to stay. There are a slew of Grade-C motels and hotels along the highway, so I pulled over at a place called America’s Best Suites. From the outside (and afar), it looked OK. Neon green sign, with the words INDOOR POOL and SPA lit for the world to see.


As soon as I parked my car (a rented Kia that shakes once you hit 70 mph), an absolute jalopy piece of crap pulled up behind me. Literally, it stalled to a stop, and three or four men exited. One of them tossed his empty beer bottle into the bushes, and I thought, “S***, I’m about to get mugged.”

I didn’t, which, in hindsight, is unfortunate, because instead of entering America’s Best Suites I would have been resting comfortably in a pool of blood on the sidewalk. Since that didn’t happen, however, I opened the hotel door, walked to the front desk and asked for a room. The guy said, “Forty dollars,” and when I asked whether there was a AAA rate, he laughed (rightly so, I suppose). I whipped out my credit card, and he quickly said, “Machine’s broken. We can only take cash.”

I paid my $40 and walked up to room 201. Outside the door was a pile of dirty sheets. I entered, and there appeared to be old bullet holes patched up with a toothpaste-like substance. Used tissues rested on a night table, the toilet seat cover was 50-percent unhinged and a napkin dispenser, rusted, was on the floor. I had asked at the front desk whether they had wireless, and when the man said “Yes” I had a sneaky suspicion he didn’t know what, exactly, wireless meant. Indeed, I was right—the only wireless was a faint signal from a neighboring hotel.

Anyhow, the words “F*** this s***” literally entered my mind, and I walked downstairs to the desk and said, simply, “I’m not gonna stay here.” He returned my money without so much as a protest—an ode to the numerous others who surely walked a similar path to mine.

By this point, I was exhausted. I drove to the nearby Comfort Inn, where the rate is a whopping $76, but the sheets appear clean and nobody’s throwing bottles.

Good night.

PS: Oxford—great, great town. Very cool.