Over the weekend, I began to think about the beforetimes, when you didn’t have to worry about your health while travelling. I thought about all the hotels I’ve stayed in and the places I’ve visited. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, so my memories are the only things I’ve got for now in terms of travel.

You’d think I’d start reminiscing about the fancier hotels I’ve stayed in but for some reason, my mind wandered to the time that I stayed one night at a Ramada Plaza by Newark Airport in New Jersey. I didn’t realize it when I booked it but this hotel is located right next to one of New Jersey’s state prisons.

You might be wondering why I stayed at such a place for one night. It was because I was going to NYC for a wedding and my hotel in Manhattan wasn’t ready the evening I got to the tri-state area. I made the economical decision to stay at a hotel near the airport for one short night before heading to Manhattan for the rest of my stay.

The Ramada wasn’t a great hotel but it wasn’t terrible either. It was merely satisfactory for a single night. The rooms were dated and the decor looked old. It hadn’t been through a remodel in probably decades and the furniture was cheap looking. Even if the rooms were sparkling clean, the age of the rooms would make you feel like it was still dirty in places.

The lobby was loud for some reason, lots of people loitering around and making noise. It felt more like a community centre than a hotel. There was a constant stream of delivery drivers coming through the lobby, delivering food to guests. I was tempted to order a pizza myself. There were also some unsavoury looking people wandering through the hallways. Now, I don’t want to associate the closeness of state prison to the presence of these unsavoury folks but I did wonder if some of the people staying at the hotel were here to visit the inmates. Logically, if you had to travel to New Jersey to visit someone incarcerated in that prison, this hotel was literally next door, so it made sense.

I only stayed one night there, probably only around 12 hours in total but I’ve never forgotten it. The place was a bit weird and I would have absolutely hated it had I even needed to stay one more night. It was also the closest I’ve been to a state prison as well. All these things made for a memorable one night stay.

I spent more time than I’d like to admit looking at pictures of the hotel online to trigger some of my memories. The hotel seems to have gone under a remodel sometime in the eight years since I was there last. It looks a bit better now. Even with the remodel though, I would not want to go back there again.

I am looking forward to the next time I can check into a hotel again.

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