Wednesday, August 12, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Where NOT to Stay When Travelling: The 3 Worst Hotel Chains in America

Nothing can ruin the excitement of a vacation faster than opening a hotel room door only to get knocked out by the smell of stale smoke or finding the cleanliness of the room not even remotely close to your own personal standards.

It happens, and it happens a lot. In efforts to not spend all of our saved up vacation money on four walls and a bed, it’s common to research the best deal out there. But sometimes upon our arrival, we wish we had not been quite so thrifty and looked at more than just the price tag prior to making the reservation.

There are horror stories all over the internet from travelers who ended up wrestling bedbugs and stomping on cockroaches for the sake of saving a few bucks. Thinking this problem would be more prone to happen at a privately owned establishment, many people search for deals at major chains so they will be assured of staying in a sparkling clean room, thereby avoiding any unpleasant surprises.

Just because a hotel chain has multiple facilities spread from sea to shining sea, does not necessarily mean they are all managed in the same way. Two hotels with the same name in neon lights could be as different as day and night. Much of this has to do with the structure of their corporate offices and how closely the higher-ups keep tabs on their individual units.

Certain hotel chains do a better job of this than others. Based on customer remarks and various consumer reporting agencies, here are some you might want to think about avoiding. Sure, their prices are attractive, but wouldn’t you rather get a good night’s sleep, preferably between clean sheets?

America’s Best Value Inn

The winner of the lowest score according to Consumer Reports goes hands-down to this chain. They also received the lowest score on a J.D. Power’s survey. While these hotels might offer some of the best rates going, it’s true, you really do get you pay for.

Guests have complained about odors from cat urine, spiders, roaches, bedbugs, broken faucets, inoperable microwaves, dirty sheets, filthy carpets… no need to continue.

Customers at one of their facilities have complained about rooms being rented out by the hour. At another one, they overcharged a person’s credit card, yet gave them a receipt for the correct amount hoping they wouldn’t notice. After realizing it and contacting them, the hotel said they would refund the money back to the credit card, but it never happened and the person finally gave up.

In Arkansas, a guest got put next to a room having a loud party. They could smell marijuana and complained to the front desk which did nothing about it. To make matters worse, the next morning the bathroom floor was flooded and there was no hot water.

A couple in Connecticut were overcharged for their stay and the hotel, for no apparent reason, still refuses to refund their money.

Another family after seeing how badly one of their lobbies was in need of repair, asked to see the room they had reserved before checking in. They said the room stunk and was filthy. The front desk would not refund their money and told them they had to go through their booking agency. They contacted and was told the refund would have to come from the hotel. They gave up and counted their loss.
America’s Best Value Inn
Microtel Inn

One would think a hotel chain owned Wyndham would be a pretty safe bet, but according to previous guests, this is not the case.

In Ardmore, Oklahoma, a guest who was in town for a month said it was the filthiest room he has ever seen. The hotel refuses to clean rooms after 2 pm, and they would not refund the guest’s money when he threatened to go elsewhere. The guest called the health department and they looked into it. The inspectors found traces of human feces, mites, and lice on the bed and throughout the room. It was recommended that the man wash all his clothes.

A guest at another facility was told he could not check in with his service dog unless he provided papers to say he needed the dog. Well… That’s illegal. Finally, they agreed to let him stay but only if he accepted one of the hotel’s apartment type rooms which had been previously torn up by an animal and never totally repaired. The room had been partially demolished.

After 15 days of staying at a Microtel, a guest said his sheets were never changed. The housekeeper would simply make the bed and drop off a few clean towels.

A customer in Atlanta said the room was disgusting. The towels were stained, the bathroom floor had debris and litter on it, the TV didn’t work, the carpet looked like it had never been cleaned, and there were loud parties going on everywhere.
Microtel Inn
Econo Lodge

This one probably comes as no big surprise. Overcharging their guests seems to be standard operating procedure as many, many, guests have complained about being ripped-off.

One guest, upon his arrival, pulled back the comforter on his bed only to find a bloody oval stain on the top sheet AND the bottom sheet. The manager offered no apology and simply said he didn’t know how it got there.

A couple who stayed at a Lodge in Georgia had asked for a non-smoking room. Their room reeked of smoke and had cigarettes burns on the comforter, the sheets, and the bathroom counter. There was a smashed roach on the baseboard, and mold around faucets in the bathtub. The carpet was in dire need of being vacuumed.

There are all sorts of stories about filth, dirty sheets, bad odors, loud parties, being overcharged, rude managers and housekeepers, and more.

Econo Lodge
Next time you travel, be careful where you stay. Always check for complaints against a particular chain of hotels before pushing the reserve button. To be on the safe side, spend a few extra dollars.

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