We decided to stay here after reading the mostly positive reviews on Tripadvisor and after seeing an ad for the motel in the Midwest Travel Buddy, one of those rest area coupon books. Besides offering a $36.99 price for a king room (a hefty penny discount off the $37.00 if you pay without using the coupon), the ad clearly stated that the Diamond was rated three diamonds by AAA and two stars by the Mobil Travel Guide. This claim is repeated, as of this writing, on the motel’s website.
Well, it may indeed have had those ratings back in the 1950s or 1960s when it was built. But it does not have them now, as a check of the current AAA book and online Mobil Travel Guide shows. What it has is a selection of musty, moldy rooms – we sniffed the air in about six of them before finding one we thought might be tolerable – decorated with a sometimes amusing assortment of garage sale furniture. If you enjoy sitting in a faded yellow velour love seat while drinking deeply of mildew and craning your neck to see an oddly-placed television, this is the place for you.
Why, oh why, did we stay? Well, we were tired. We didn’t feel like schlepping back to the interstate in search of a better place. We figured we’d have some wine with the dinner we brought with us and then fall asleep. And the plan worked up to a point. Despite being able to open one of the two windows (the lever on the other one had long since ceased to function) to let in some fresh air, we awoke in the middle of the night. No, it was not the blaring horn of yet another train passing on the tracks three blocks away that interrupted our slumber. It was the insidious smell of must and mildew. It was so bad that Ms. Maven, suffering from a horrendous allergy headache, actually tried to sleep in the car, which is a first in her motel/hotel experience.
Did we mention that the Diamond is OLD? So old that there is no individual control over heating or cooling. Whatever the management sets the temperature at comes through the grate in the bedroom and the grate in the bathroom. You can try to shut the grate but you can’t really stop the flow of cold or heat unless you put a towel over the “shut” grate. Though there was a ceiling fan in the room, we imagine the heating and cooling system would be inadequate during temperature extremes.
Speaking of old, the bathroom in our room was the original, with pink tile, almost charming in a retro sort of way. There was even a place for facial tissues built into the vanity, back when the Diamond really was AAA-rated and offered facial tissues to its guests. The toilet was original, too, one of those small, rounded ones from the era before the elongated bowl. Larger folk will find it uncomfortable, especially as there is about three inches between the toilet and the wall, meaning that you might need to sit a little sideways.
The motel wasn’t entirely awful. The young man at the desk, whose parents recently bought the place, was helpful. The bed was acceptable. The large TV had a remote and got full local cable. There was even ice available, if you went to the office and took it out of the refrigerator. Breakfast, which we didn’t partake of, was served until 9:30. (Checkout was 11 a.m.) Goodwill-esque floral sheets offered a break from those monotonous white linens found at most establishments, but were unable to completely obscure maid-cart wheel marks and other stains. The room was more or less clean enough, though we did count 11 hairs on the shower wall that did not belong to us.
In our humble opinion this is the most overrated motel on Tripadvisor. It was the worst place we stayed on our 30-day road trip. For $37 we did not expect the Ritz – and, indeed, would have found it passable (though a little odd) had the room not had mold issues. But the management’s deceptive advertising raised expectations – three diamonds from AAA is usually what Hampton Inns, Courtyards by Marriott, and Four Points Sheratons get.
This is a no-star place. If must and mildew don’t bother you and you have a sense of humor, you might find the Diamond to be acceptable. But it is hardly charming, the rooms are dark and dank, and the place is clearly in decline. Deceptive advertising is not the only thing here that smells.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC