View Full Version : Prices in 1984

03-04-2010, 05:02 AM
Hey all,

In one of my WIPs I have a character who is getting a Motel room for a night. This happens in 1984 in the Midwest and the character is very budget-conscious. Can anyone give me a rundown of a motel room cost including (if possible) the down-payment for incidentals and adult rentals (if those even existed in motels in 1984). I've found on Google everything else down to the cost of gas, a coke, and a pack of cigarettes, but nothing on Motel rooms.

03-04-2010, 05:46 AM
I worked as a desk clerk at a Sheraton Inn in the 80's and if I remember correctly a single non pool side was 36$ a night all the way up to a two floor suit pool-side for 150$ a night- don't know about incidentals though- sorry-

03-04-2010, 06:13 AM
That's great. I thank you kindly. For the incidentals I think I'll look at current pricing and calculate the 1984 equivalent based on percentage. I doubt anybody will care if I don't get that number precisely on the mark.
Thanks again.

03-04-2010, 07:20 AM
A room at a Motel-6 would run in the low to mid 20s back then, a no-tell motel a few bucks less.

Julie Worth
03-04-2010, 07:32 AM
adult rentals

You mean, the rate per hour?

03-04-2010, 04:45 PM
Back in the mid 80's a lot of the motels advertised VCRs. I'm not sure if you had to bring your own tapes or if they had rentals available. They didn't have the "On-Demand" channels yet. You could get a roadside motel in off-season for $20 a night.

03-04-2010, 04:48 PM
Yep. Special rates--$19.99 (I'm not sure why, but that extra penny less seems like a hell of a savings).

03-04-2010, 06:33 PM
Cheapest for a flea bag would run about $20, sometimes less

Older but clean motel rooms mid twenties to mid $30's

Newer, more upscale....$50 range

Richard White
03-04-2010, 09:11 PM
Motel Six ran around 29.99/night for a long time.

Non-chain motels could run from 19.99 to 59.99 depending on time of year and location.

The Howard Johnsons in Monterey was 39.99 the two nights I stayed in it in 84 when I first moved there for language school in the Army (before I got into the BEQ on Ft. Ord).

(Don't even go into the difference in rent between a one-bedroom apt in Monterey vs a one-bedroom in Missouri in 1984 . . . (esp. considering the apt in Monterey (a converted garage) cost me 4x what it would have cost to rent an entire renovated basement in Columbia, MO)

03-04-2010, 10:17 PM
I remember staying in a hotel in 1978 or 1979 (I think) that had pay per view porno. The selection was pretty limited--basically it would be two or three channels showing the same movie over and over again, so a grand total of three movies, or two hours of short porno movies. I don't know how much it cost, though, as I wasn't even of legal age then. Theater movies cost less than $5, and hotel movies seem to be about twice what theater movies are now.

I think there were a handful of auto-play VCR in the office, and you called the front desk and they plugged one of them into your TV line. VCRs and rentals were everywhere in 1984, and so were automated switches so you wouldn't have to call the desk in a nicer hotel. Your hotel would have no problem putting in a VCR system which switches on when the customer clicks the remote and prints out a little bill down at the front desk.

03-05-2010, 04:36 AM
To be safe you could make it a Holiday Inn. Throughout the 80s, Holiday Inn ran a "Great Rates" program for $29 a night. My dad used to travel to Washington DC on business frequently, and often took us with him. The Holiday Inn at Ballston, eight blocks from the subway in the Virginia suburbs, was one of the Great Rates locations. They were generally in suburbs and smaller towns. If your location is a big city, as of 1992 you could get a decent room in an older non-chain hotel in NYC for around $65.

I think adult pay per view movies were around $10. My mom and I watched part of Debbie Does Dallas for laughs one day.