Make Your Indianapolis 500 Reservations Now!
After the fiasco we endured last year with our usual hotel changing hands, we were going to change hotels anyway. For years, we had been staying at the Sleep Inn right at the intersection of Rockville Road and I-465 throughout all of the month of May weekends. It was not the most luxurious of accommodations; but it was very clean and affordable, had a nice clientele, served a free hot breakfast every morning and most importantly – it was very close and convenient to the track. Even on race morning, we could leave the hotel at 6:00, and be parked and inside the track by 6:30.
But somewhere in between the 2014 and 2015 race, the Sleep Inn became a Motel 6. It’s amazing how quickly a property can go down after a change in ownership. The free breakfast was gone, along with free shampoo. I felt fortunate to find the single bar of soap we were forced to share each day. As it turned out, those were the least of our problems last year.
We used some of Susan’s points and stayed at a much nicer hotel for the Grand Prix weekend. But qualifying weekend and race weekend, we stayed at what used to be our usual location. That was our mistake and our misfortune.
When we first checked in on Fast Friday, we knew something was wrong. First of all, the lobby was hot and stuffy – same with the hallways. The new owners apparently outlawed running any air-conditioning in common areas. Both weekends there, our sink had no drain stopper. That can be a problem for someone like me who wears contacts – not that seeing anything in our room was possible anyway, with half of the lightbulbs missing. Both weekends we reported that lightbulbs needed replacing, but based on the non-interested vibes I got from the sloth at the front counter – I knew we’d never see them. We didn’t.
I’m almost certain we were sleeping on someone else’s dirty sheets the night of the Burger Bash. Finding a miniature hand-held vibrator on the floor under the bed did nothing to dispel that feeling. When we left for Legends Day, we stripped the bed and told them we wanted clean sheets. They complied.
But the nightmare didn’t stop there. I may be wrong, but I’d be willing to bet that there were tricks being turned in the hotel and even in the parking lot. Scantily clad (and not very attractive) young women were just hanging around the front desk all the time. They all seemed to be very chummy with the staff. On more than one occasion over the two weekends, we found undergarments out in the parking lot in the early morning as we were headed to the track. When we would come in at night, there were lots of people mysteriously sitting in cars or milling around the parking lot. Whatever they were doing, their intentions did not seem to be honorable.
Then there was the Saturday rainout of qualifying, when we returned to the hotel in the early afternoon. As soon as we got off of the elevator that opened to the un-air conditioned hallway, we heard screaming. At first, I thought it was someone being threatened or tortured. As we got closer, we realized we were passing by a room where a couple was simply showing their undying love for one another. Unfortunately, we could still hear it from our room through the walls – and it went on for quite some time. At first I didn’t know whether to be annoyed or envious, but it got old very quickly.
You get the point. Needless to say, we decided then that we would never stay there again. I can only imagine how much worse it has gotten since last May. But I did not plan on scouting out a new place for at least another month. We normally don’t make our May reservations until mid-to-late February. Besides, I thought we may stay where we stayed for the Grand Prix weekend. It was nice and almost as convenient and we could use Susan’s points again.
Last Thursday night, our friend Paul Dalbey from More Front Wing sent me a text asking if I had made our reservations. When I told him we hadn’t, he informed me that there seems to be a much higher demand and all of his usual spots were already booked up. I immediately got online to find that our Grand Prix hotel was sold out. Then I tried the Best Western across the interstate from the infamous Motel 6. We had stayed there before and liked it. It was going for $300 a night with a three night minimum. Seriously? The three night minimum is not an issue, because we usually stay three nights on race weekend anyway. But $900 for the weekend was a big issue, for us anyway.
We had stayed at the Crown Plaza by the airport before and found it to be very reasonable in the past. That was not the case this year, as it is also going for $300 a night for three nights.
Prior to the split, my first wife and I used to stay in Bloomington because demand was too high in Marion County. Years ago, Susan and I used to stay in Columbus. It was much cheaper and did not make you stay three nights. But it’s also fifty-five miles from IMS. I gave that up long ago because I got tired of driving all weekend. I also didn’t like waking up at 3:00 am to leave at 4:00 in order to be inside the track by 8:00. I cringed at the thought of going back.
Susan was out of town that night. I called her and told her of the dilemma. After about three hours with both of us searching, we finally found a reasonably priced hotel about six miles due west of the Motel 6 brothel. It’s on the same road and we will pass our former cat-house on the way to the track each day. The hotel is new and presumably clean. I am withholding the name because it’s almost full and one of my brothers still needs to make his reservations there.
We may go elsewhere for the Grand Prix and Qualifying weekends, or we may stay there all three weekends. But at least we know we have a place for Race weekend.
Thanks to Paul Dalbey for the heads-up. Had he not notified me in early January, we may have been shut out by mid-February.
So take my advice – demand for hotel rooms is apparently very high for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The hotel industry in Indianapolis has decided this is the perfect opportunity to try and gouge the public. It’s resembling the pre-split days of CART, it’s so high. If you were like me and planning to wait several more weeks before making reservations, get online now. Even the dreaded Motel 6 is already sold out. There are still some bargains out there, but you’d better hurry. You don’t want to get shut out of this year’s race.