TripAdvisor's Dirtiest Hotels 2009: Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite
January 29, 2009 1:14 AM   Subscribe

TripAdvisor's 2009 Top Ten Dirtiest Hotels in the USA, Asia Pacific, UK, and elsewhere. Topping the list: the Hotel Carter, Times Square. [The Carter recently mentioned here.]
posted by milquetoast (57 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Here is the UK equivalent list. The reviews make make me itch.
posted by rongorongo at 1:39 AM on January 29, 2009

I think I've stayed in the Nanford Guest House (UK, no.3). I can confirm it is, indeed, apocalyptically disgusting. I've slept the night underneath an Amsterdam railway bridge and felt cleaner when I got up the next day (notwithstanding that we parked up in the dark and I put my head down mere inches from an extremely large dog turd).

Part of the problem was that the guy running it didn't seem to have the full deck of cards. He made Basil Fawlty look like Conrad Hilton. He had a huge fit about some trivial issue around one of the other guests not wanting to park in the hotel car park. My room had the air of someone who died in it with all sorts of stains and skid marks on the sheets. The bathroom smelt like it had been spray cleaned with fresh piss.

To top up his income, some of the rooms were let permanently to social services tenants. I pity them, not only for their situation but for having to stay more than one night.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:42 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

Surprising how many of these awful, awful hotels are also reviewed as having great pools. Go fig.
posted by Skwirl at 1:50 AM on January 29, 2009

In DC there's a whole strip of hotels on the northeast edge of the city that are basically subsidized housing. At least, that's how it used to be. Those were some of the dirtiest, saddest buildings I've ever seen.
posted by bardic at 1:56 AM on January 29, 2009

Reminds me of the room I once stayed in on Long Island: mattress wrapped in plastic, holes in the ceiling where the mirrors had been removed, and no hot water in the middle of winter.

Not nearly as bad as the hotels described in the link, but bad enough to make me glad to spend a lot more for relative comfort.
posted by bwg at 2:04 AM on January 29, 2009

Things I'd like to see: Two Guys in a Hotel Room having just had a night in the Nanford Guest House. Subsititute muscly, pensive sleepiness for itchy, ill-slept crankiness. It would make a change to the portfolio.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:11 AM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]

I, too, have stayed in the Nanford, and the dude who runs it is not unlike something out of a Tim Burton film. Or a Tobe Hooper film.

Random things about the Nanford that bothered me:

1. In our room, the lock on the bathroom was on the outside.

2. The bed was at a fifteen degree angle at the very least.

3. The staining. Oh, the staining.

I've heard the guy knows enough to stay just on the right side of hygiene law. Saying that, I know a guy who works on the Council and was privy to the complaints, and - take this with a pinch of salt - apparently in one, the phrase "pile of semen" was used. Pile, people.
posted by bwerdmuller at 2:28 AM on January 29, 2009 [9 favorites]

Some of those reviews on the UK list are hilarious. In the second one for the worst hotel the bloke walks past whole rows of nice-looking hotels before finding his filthy, rotting, vomit-strewn, £27-pound-a night crack-whore shithole where muttering psycopaths roam the corridors and the sheets have a large bloodstain. I didn't sleep well, he complains. Why in the name of God did you stay there?
posted by Phanx at 2:39 AM on January 29, 2009

Obligatory Four Yorkshiremen.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:22 AM on January 29, 2009

Good to see that all the dirtiest hotels in the UK are in England.
posted by fire&wings at 3:31 AM on January 29, 2009

I think that the authors have never toured the deep south in a blues band.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:41 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

The worst hotel we ever stayed in was right outside Montreal. The bedspread was semen-stained and our room was right UNDER the bar, which had karaoke until 3AM.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:59 AM on January 29, 2009

From London's Rose Court Hotel:

The copious bloodstains on the bedding gave me the creeps all night.

Is anyone really non-confrontational enough to sleep under bloodstains?

My worst hotel/motel experience (thanks, Tacoma!) involved a JESUS LOVES YOU keychain, being lectured about my own country while checking in, and a door that had such difficulty closing that I made a Rube Goldberg-style alert system for myself which ended with coins dropping into a glass. On balance, really not so bad.
posted by carbide at 4:06 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't know what's more horrifying: how dirty these places are, or how expensive it is to get a decent hotel room in NYC.
posted by wastelands at 4:15 AM on January 29, 2009

The first Review of the Travelodge in Bangor, Maine is hilarious. It's probably filthy from people gutting deer in the rooms.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:36 AM on January 29, 2009

Pfffffffff... Where's the Africa section? The price of staying in your average shitty guest house in the Congo is like three-fold what it should be due to the massive U.N. presence. Because tonnes of guest houses double as knocking shops in Africa, the "guest room" doors have no locks. What does one need a lock for if he's only going to be there for a couple hours including negotiation and shower? What does one care about the infinite bed bugs if he's 'moving around' and not actually sleeping there? Why should one have control over the lights in his room? The unreachable fluorescent bulbs will all go out when the last customer finishes up. Forget about the used condoms on the floor, you'd think they'd care about the single shared toilet having shit piled as high as their ass? The condom and feces minefield was a dangerous challenge when I moved back to my "hotel" with malaria. I swear it wasn't a quinine-induced hallucination, there was a fully naked African man washing up in front of the mirror in the shared bathroom.
posted by gman at 4:43 AM on January 29, 2009

In Surat Thani in Thailand, which before the airport on Koh Samui was built was the main place to embark/disembark for the boat out to the islands, there was a hotel opposite the quay. You always had to wait a few hours before transferring between boat and train or bus and it did a roaring trade in food and drinks on the ground floor. You could also pay a couple of bucks for a much needed shower in one of the rooms upstairs.

In the bathroom, above the shower, someone had written "Buddha is watching" next to a hole on the ceiling. Apparently the hotel owner would pop up to the room above when he rented the bathroom out to young female backpackers. Nice.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:18 AM on January 29, 2009

I stayed in some pretty sketchy places in Thailand myself, but I wouldn't call them "hotels." Maybe, bungalows that smell like feces infested with ants. But not "hotels," no sir.
posted by bardic at 5:29 AM on January 29, 2009

Shitty hotel room pissing contest: yet another reason we need a Travelfilter.
posted by gman at 5:40 AM on January 29, 2009

I love how hysterical some of the reviews are on on Trip Adviser.

posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:49 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Guys, guys, this is the 10 dirtiest hotels list from Trip Advisor, not the Dirtiest Skankholes in the World as Determined by Experienced Third World Backpackers and Practiced US Crack Addicts. Of course, the Sunshine and the Jane Street (where I once lived for a full four months), West Philly's Blue Moon and that one place in Irvington New Jersey where they find bloated blue corpses every other week are not going to be on this list.
posted by The Straightener at 5:53 AM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]

I like our list better.
posted by gman at 5:59 AM on January 29, 2009

Not to be pedantic, but bedbugs don't care whether a hotel is dirty or not; they're at five-star hotels just as often as they're at one-star hotels.
posted by WCityMike at 6:00 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, but be sure a five star hotel will change your room and offer you at least a free night. The zero star "hotels" we're talking about charge extra for the protein.
posted by gman at 6:05 AM on January 29, 2009

>Some of those reviews on the UK list are hilarious.

With tripadvisor I always like finding places which basically everybody seems to love - and then go hunting for the lone curmudgeon who gives the place a 2 page apoplectic 1-star review because the complimentary champagne wasn't of the right vintage.
posted by rongorongo at 6:15 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

Peter Pan Motel, East Rutherford, NJ, near Giants Stadium across the Sheraton parking lot. They do a very brisk business. Brisk, as in each room gets rented 6-8 times per night.

Peter Pan: Forget them, Wendy. Forget them all. Come with me where you'll never, never have to worry about grown up things again.
Wendy: Never is an awfully long time.

Peter Pan: Who are you?
John: I'm John.
posted by netbros at 6:16 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

In DC there's a whole strip of hotels on the northeast edge of the city that are basically subsidized housing.

Reminds me of the room I once stayed in on Long Island: mattress wrapped in plastic, holes in the ceiling where the mirrors had been removed, and no hot water in the middle of winter.

I have always thought that accommodations such as described above were better described as "motels". It seemed this list was focused more specifically as places that bill themselves as something at least slightly more than a place that one takes a hooker for a few hours. Maybe I am seeing nuance where there is none though.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:17 AM on January 29, 2009

I'm pretty sure I'd sleep in the car--or not at all--if the room I was given was filled with bloodstains.
posted by DU at 6:20 AM on January 29, 2009

Places like this in my neighborhood in Manhattan are often a mix of single-room-occupancy residences (semi-permanent housing for the indigent or transient) and tourist hotels. This can be a surprise for those who are unwitting.

What's more, after 9/11, when the NYC tourism business crashed, the city started using these places as overnight homeless shelters, and the hotel owners welcomed the cash the city would pay. School buses would pull up to the West Side Inn every night, discharge dozens of homeless people, and pick them up the next morning. That practice stopped when tourism bounced back, but it goes far to explain the conditions in some of these hotels.

I do enjoy reading the reviews.
posted by stargell at 6:27 AM on January 29, 2009

When I was with the sideshow the hotels we stayed in ran the complete spectrum. We actually performed on the Sally Jesse Raphael show once in 1992, and so stayed at whatever hotel her guests stayed at, which I think was the Ramada Renaissance in Times Square. Absolutely fantastic.

At the other end of the spectrum was a hotel in Buffalo. We were given directions to get there after the show which was located miles from the club. It took forever to get there... Our road manager and I shared a room with a water bed, which sounded nice, except that the room, and the single water bed, had little or no heat. I tried sleeping on the hardwood floor instead, but that was no better. We were also being kept awake by a live cover band playing in the bar beneath us. The final straw that made me leave and go sleep in the van was hearing "Two Tickets to Paradise" played twice by the same band...
posted by Tube at 6:40 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

A police detective once told me never to stay at the Days Inn on Banksville Road. "We turn on the blacklight, and... man. It's everywhere. The headboard, the walls... how is that even possible?"

So. Consider yourselves warned, Pittsburghers (and travelers thereto).
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:41 AM on January 29, 2009

We stayed at the Hotel Carter with some friends a couple of years ago. We all slept in our clothes to minimize contact with what was no doubt a 20/20 black light horror show going on in the sheets. But I think the worst part was that at one point in the night someone was systematically trying every door handle trying to let themselves into the first open room.
posted by vorpal bunny at 6:56 AM on January 29, 2009

I found most of the reviews on Tripadvisor can be summed up thusly: those written by people who are suprised to learn that traveling with six kids sucks, those which are written by people who are suprised when they find out Mexico is full of Mexicans, and people who become morally outraged when they find low-wage employees don't exhibit a strong degree of professionalism.
posted by Deep Dish at 7:28 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

This thread makes me feel like I need a shower.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:31 AM on January 29, 2009

I've stayed at the Carter. Honestly, it was no worse than your average youth hostel.
posted by electroboy at 7:32 AM on January 29, 2009

FWIF, The Carter was a welfare hotel well into the 1990s, just as most of the hotels in the between 23rd and 34th Street in Manhattan.

And I know this because when I cam to NYU in 1986, the university had rented one of these welfare hotels as extra student housing.

Yes ... we paid $700 a month for a bed in a NYU dorm-room in 1986 so that we could end up in a welfare hotel. On 31st street, between 5th and Madison.
posted by liza at 8:12 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Surprising how many of these awful, awful hotels are also reviewed as having great pools. Go fig.

Think "Sheep Dip".
posted by Drasher at 8:14 AM on January 29, 2009

HA! My office window looks out on Hotel Carter. It looks pretty gnarly from the outside, and this just confirms my suspicions. The 2-story writing on the side of the building really adds to the effect:

700 Rooms with Private Bath
Private Baths!? YIPEEEEEE

You Always Wanted
In Times Square and Less!

posted by jckll at 8:15 AM on January 29, 2009

Guys, guys, this is the 10 dirtiest hotels list from Trip Advisor, not the Dirtiest Skankholes in the World as Determined by Experienced Third World Backpackers and Practiced US Crack Addicts.

Yes, yes, but what's the point of traveling if you can't share nasty-guesthouse stories at the drop of a hat?

Mine: Phonsavanh, Laos. Woke up in the morning (after checking in very late at night by candlelight) to find a pair of dead cockroaches in my bed. Possibly the result of a suicide pact? Walked into the bathroom, without my glasses on, to wash up. From a distance it looked like the sink was rusty and cracked. On closer inspection: no, it was full of insects and spider webs. I went downstairs to meet my traveling companions, one of whom said: "dead cockroaches? Well, be glad you didn't find a used condom in your bed like I did!"

Good times.
posted by lunasol at 8:29 AM on January 29, 2009

This was my home in Chicago for three months in 1987. The cab driver even asked if I was sure I wanted to stay here when he dropped me off.

Fondest memories:

- Finding boric acid sprinkled liberally in the dresser drawers.

- Watching the Minnesota Twins win the World Series in the community room with other residents.

- Selling a gold watch to someone in the lobby so I could eat.

- Cashing my first paycheck and wadding up the $500 in cash between my mattresses. I forgot it and went to work. Panic set in and when I got back to my room, my bed was freshly made and the cash was still there.

As much of a shithole as it was, it made me a stronger person. Plus the hookers were nice.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:38 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

written by people who are suprised to learn that traveling with six kids sucks

I used TripAdvisor extensively when researching hotels last year, and the ones that always got me were the one-star "NOT Kid-Friendly!" reviews. They always start out detailing what angels their particular kids are, and then go on to describe the scene whereby the manager gently corrected them for running around the dining room, stealing pitchers of cream from tables and pouring it on diners' shoes, and--horror!--only gave the family a refund on their breakfast when they were asked to leave the dining room after the mother made a scene yelling at the manager. If the hotel had been family-friendly, they would have gotten two free nights, of course. Worst hotel ever.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:45 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I stayed in the Hotel Carter one weekend in 1979 on a school trip. It was an unpleasant hotel in an unpleasant location - but not so bad of a hotel that it was *unforgettable*. Sure it had five bolts on each hotel room door. And the room was non-descript with no view.

I certainly stayed in better hotels over the years, but this one does not stand out as a catastrophe. Mind you, I would not stay there again.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:55 AM on January 29, 2009

Yay! Go Hotel Carter! I like it's grubbiness. Like I said in the other thread - it's so grubby it turns around on itself and becomes charmingly grubby. It's fun to watch everyone's disgust in the lobby. It's an angry trip-adviser reviewer in the flesh! Not that I'll ever stay there again. Last trip to NYC I splurged on a room at the Algonquin and pretended to muck it up with Doro Parker in the bar every night.

Liza your factoid about the Carter is very funny.
posted by dog food sugar at 9:21 AM on January 29, 2009

I love this comment from the hotel carter reviews

Please, just stay away from this Hotel, its like a HORROR movie in reallife, its so bad that its just not for real

Barack Obama, please shut it down! ;)

posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:25 AM on January 29, 2009

I feel blessed all of a sudden. The worst hotel my wife and I have stayed at so far was the Sundial Hotel in cottonwood, just outside of Jerome. We stayed there for the evening of our one year wedding anniversary because we couldn't get a room anywhere else, everything was booked out because evidently Halloween is a popular town for near-ghost towns.
Anyways, the boyfriend/girlfriend team behind the counter was wonderful and honest. They told us it was a flat $50 a night but that they had to show us the room first because there was no refunds. She took us round, we peeked in. The room, all the rooms in the two story complex which was at least 100 years old, faced a beautiful, vine-covered cobblestone courtyard. When we agreed to take the room, while filling out the paperwork, the lady behind the counter admitted that the reason they had to show the room first was because they had a small bug problem.
My wife and I noticed no bugs until, well, until we actually closed the door and locked it, then started pouring our champagne and watching late night TV. As we clinked our glasses, I noticed the very first roach start making it's way down the wall. As we watched, slowly but surely, first two, then five, then a dozen roaches, most of them small enough to be mostly inoffensive. It bothered me more than my wife, which she thought was funny.
Long story short, when we woke up in the morning, the roaches were gone, but in our champagne glasses next to the bed, floating in leftover drink, there appeared to be no less than 15 roaches.
I thought that was pretty gross, but you people win.
posted by Bageena at 9:26 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Right on with naming The Centaur Hotel worst in India. Nothing quite like traveling for 28 hours straight only to have to spend nearly an hour trying to check into a nearly empty hotel that looks like something out of a 1960's East Germany prison. Make my way to my room, insert card-key, open the door to catch an Indian man sitting at the end of the bed masturbating to whatever was on television. Welcome to India!
posted by sharksandwich at 9:35 AM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]

Metafilter: bloated blue corpses every other week.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:37 AM on January 29, 2009

While enjoying the Nanford Guest House reviews, I came across this one:
three hours before i was due to check in the manager called me and the following conversation ensued:

Him ‘hello is that sarah?’
Me ‘it’s sara actually but yes’
I've read this bit a few times now and my eyes are blurry. Is there a way one can, with a specific accent, pronounce "Sarah" and "Sara" differently?
posted by Spatch at 9:46 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

They left off the Cypress Lodge in Utopia, TX. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? My ex and I stayed there one night during a camping trip at nearby Lost Maples State Park. Our air mattress deflated and we had no other pads, so the choices were to sleep in the tiny little car or find a room. We got the room.

It was only $25/night, for which we were grateful, but there turned out to be more flora and fauna inside the room than there was in the state park. Shortly after we settled in, the roaches started scurrying across the walls. Fortunately, the geckos came right behind them and started hunting.

The bottom part of the fiberglass shower insert was eaten away and covered with mildew. There was no shower curtain.

We slept on top of the sheets. Would have been MUCH happier sleeping in the dirt back at our campsite.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:48 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was pretty excited/terrified about staying in the Cecil hotel, which according to the reviews I read after I registered, was a dirty flophouse that was somewhat famous for having had two serial killers who had lived there. It turned out it had been recently renovated and now is more like a nice hostel. I was disappointed at their new, less interesting clientele but can't complain about the lack of bedbugs.
posted by pinothefrog at 9:49 AM on January 29, 2009

The Cecil hotel in downtown Los Angeles, I mean.
posted by pinothefrog at 9:50 AM on January 29, 2009

Right on with naming The Centaur Hotel worst in India

Well, it's a bit apples-and-oranges because it's not formally a hotel, but the worst accomodations in India and (I hope) in the world are at the Himachal Pradesh University Guest House in Shimla (scroll down for pics).

There are no adequate words. This is the place where civilization goes to die. It is where hearts and broken and dreams vanquished. It is Hell's waiting room, a black hole torn in the social fabric of basic human decency. If the Soviets had built a dorm in the style of a prewar Bowery flophouse and an embittered sepoy had outfitted it with staff and policies intended as a broad parody of the British Raj's red-tape officiousness, HPU's guest house would be the result.

My wife was a visiting scholar at HPU in 1999, and we lost ten years of our lives in the week we stayed at the HPU guest house before escaping. It was monsoon season, and the stained concrete walls somehow trapped the cold and damp better than a wet woolen blanket. All the lights were strobing fluorescent, so the place was perpetually underlit like the cinematographer's rendering of an unhinged mind in a movie set in a mental institution. Everyone seated drearily in the common areas looked condemned. The only running water came in a cold torrent that exploded from the shower faucet at 5:30 each morning, thundering into the garbage pail placed below it for 10 minutes. Ten minutes after you returned to haunted slumber, someone pounded on the door to deliver the subcontinent's worst chai, which was lukewarm at best whether you got up right away to have it or not. I would need one of those post-traumatic therapy dolls and several weeks of encounter-group sessions before I could begin to describe the food.

There are much dirtier places to stay in India and much more ramshackle ones. There are lousier staffs and there is fouler food. But there is no place on the planet that I've yet had the misfortune of encountering that more fully destroys your will to live than the HPU Guest House.
posted by gompa at 9:54 AM on January 29, 2009 [7 favorites]

Spatch: Is there a way one can, with a specific accent, pronounce "Sarah" and "Sara" differently?

Yes. Sara = Sahrah (i.e. pronounced more like "Zara").
posted by MuffinMan at 10:17 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have stayed in some of these places, and many places worse than these. I have learned to deal with such situations with less drama than the average Tripadvisor reviewer.

The thing to bear in mind is that the worse the hotel, the better the stories are about it afterwards. No one has ever dined out on the story, "We stayed at the Holiday Inn. It was okay."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:01 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Monsieurs, if I may?

Metafilter: As much of a shithole as it was, it made me a stronger person. Plus the hookers were nice.

Also, this thread and the stories contained within have formed within me a resolution - I will no longer leave blood filled condoms in every hotel and motel I visit. I had no idea it bothered people so much!
posted by FatherDagon at 11:34 AM on January 29, 2009

Number 8 is in my hometown. In a tourist area whose heyday has long since past. There's a lot of hotels around that were grand in their time, as far back as 70 or 80 years ago, but there's also a lot of places that are running on fumes and have been slowly decaying for the past 20 years or so.
posted by zardoz at 5:58 PM on January 29, 2009

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