By Madeline Sneed
The recent closure of the Clarion Hotel on South 4th Street caused many to lose reservations just weeks before Move2BU week began and highlighted the benefits of seeking alternative housing options for visitors.
According to a statement by Choice Hotels, who owns the Clarion Hotel property, the Texas Limited Partnership has taken over the space with plans to redevelop the property and provide new business and employment opportunities to the Waco community.
Those who did have reservations at the Clarion for Welcome Week events or leisure travel were notified they would have to make other plans through an email, said Wes Wilkins, the father of two Baylor students who booked his Clarion room during with the hopes of staying close to campus while helping his children move in.
“They said the hotel was closing and they had to cancel my reservation,” Wilkins said. “That’s all they told me.”
Wilkins, left with limited options so close to a busy time period for Waco, reserved a room at the Comfort Suites on La Salle Avenue.
While many visitors were funneled to surrounding hotels, others remained secure with their travel plans because they employed the use of recreational vehicles to guarantee they would have a place to stay.
Dr. Darrell Caldwell, father of a Baylor graduate, said he frequents RV parks in Waco instead of searching for hotels so he can guarantee he’ll have a place to stay when he wants to visit his daughter or watch a Baylor football game.
“Really when we started is when the kids went off to college,” Caldwell said. “We rented RVs for the first two years, every possible kind, to decide what we wanted to buy.”
Caldwell said having his own RV not only releases him from the worries of cancellation and trip ruined but also allows him to tailgate during the games.
“We have a secured amount of space, we have our own bedroom and everything in there is ours,” Caldwell said. “We are always there the evening before and have a place to stay. It’s our own mobile hotel room.”
The benefits of RVs do not stop with convenience: they also create a community, Caldwell said.
“The RV community is a really neat, family fun oriented community,” he said. “You make friends.”
This RV community, however, does have limitations similar to hotels because RV lots for game day, located at the Ferrell Center and managed by Baylor’s Athletic Department, can sell out for the entirety of a season before even the first game, Caldwell said.
According to the 2014 Baylor Football Fan Guide, lots for the 2014 season have all been booked, but fans can be put on a wait list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 254.710.8110.