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Balcony on basement room a puzzling amenity

Joyce Walter writes about researching potential holiday spots
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

Despite the new snow on the ground, there are at least two indications that it is not too late to start planning for the spring and summer vacation travels.

Fact one: On Feb. 1, the warmest day of winter so far, the tulips on the south side of our house popped up and out of the ground, suggesting that regardless of what the rodents said, spring is here.

The two clumps of growth took us by surprise, this being the earliest the bulbs have ever abandoned their bulb hibernation. Previous appearances have come in late February and early to mid-March, but never before on the first day of the second month.

With no snow at that time with which to cover them and no other gardening material available to stunt their growth, we decided to let Mother Nature decide the proper time for their rebirth. So it was that four days later, Mom Nature decreed there would be snow, thus covering the sprouts and hopefully sending the message to go back to sleep for just a bit longer.

I do predict that the tulip crop on that side of the house will be less than stellar once again this year.

Moving on to fact two: An internet vacation accommodation booking site we’ve used for previous holidays has been relentless in trying to encourage the travellers in residence to pick our hotels and motels and overnight housing right now, before we are shut out by vacationers who do not procrastinate.

Out of curiosity, I spent an afternoon checking out possible holiday spots, looking at attractions and figuring out what it might cost to spend a night here and there, wherever the journey takes us.

The most recent note from the accommodation site offered six Canadian locations, ranging in price from $32 to $65 per night, plus taxes and hotel fees. The low fees evoked a burst of laughter at the thought of what $32 a night might provide for the unsuspecting guest.

My research focused on the $32 spot and it took some searching but I found it. It is a basement unit in the facility and it has a double bed, air conditioning, windows that open, free WiFi, a bath/shower combination, private bathroom with bathroom tissue provided. Guests also receive complimentary towels and muffins for breakfasts. There is an extra fee for sheets. No mention of pillows or blankets.

But an intriguing selling point would have to be the balcony on this basement room. Is the balcony reached via one of the windows that opens? Or is that open window how one escapes with the free bathroom roll? At least occupants don’t have to be afraid of heights to make use of the balcony. An odd amenity indeed.
An even cheaper accommodation is available on an out-of-Canada trip to Lima where the rate for one person per night at a family-run hotel is $14 Canadian, plus fees.

Guests will be housed in a dormitory-style room equipped with three sets of bunk beds, a bathroom down the hall, a bidet, some toilet paper, a calm host, a television with limited channels, a fried egg and toast breakfast and free WiFi. Sheets are extra — signalling a trend in economical accommodations.

We might not get in on the cheap rooms this summer, but I’m holding out for a room where sheets are provided, and the breakfast option might include a scrambled egg instead of one that has been fried. Certain standards must be upheld.

And I want the bottom bunk.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.