Studio 819 – located in subtly trendy-bendy Hillcrest. It’s a residential hotel, 7 stories tall, with a distinct oldster smell. But not too bad. At first I was a little chapped over the $79/night price tag (I know—shut up—“that’s cheap,” you say), but there was a definite Barton Fink charm that won me over in a hurry. Talking to the front desk clerk, all I could think of was: “If you need anything, ask for me. My name is Chet.”
This place had a Chet, and a laundry room, and a rinky elevator, and a buzz-you-in front lobby (not so much swanky as mildly musty). Still, we were kicked to the curb after one night, due to the apparently endless tide of 4th of July visitors. Who knew? After Internet searching, door to door, callin’ the main Motel 6 line, we were still comin’ up empty. Empty! My first phone call was to the San Diego downtown hostel, and they surprised me by teling me they still had one room. Yet, I got put on hold and when the girl came back on the line, the room was gone.
And, guess what? THAT WAS LUCKY.
Lucky, because we put off the search. Lucky because we went to the beach with the crew. Lucky because we stopped at an outdoor bazaar and I chatted up a shopkeeper who promised us that cheap hotel rooms were available aplenty near Shelter Island, in Point Loma. “Because that’s where the fishermen stay,” he explained. “and I can promise you they ain’t workin’ this holiday weekend.” Roger, that as we became fond of saying on the walkie-talkies.
Next time I’ll tell you about the glory of the Sportsmen’s Lodge, one of my favorite hotels anywhere.