Online ratings sites featuring critiques from customers have revolutionized the hotel-reviews business and taken a lot of wind out of the sails (and sales) of the traditional travel media and their traditionally determined objective evaluations.
By and large, the sites -- TripAdvisor.com is the most prominent -- do a fairly good job of weeding out obvious ringers, that is, they try to flag glowing reviews that seem suspiciously like they may have come from the desktop in a hotel front office, or horrible ones that seem to have come from a hotel's competitor.
So by and large, the sites have real value. I often consult one before booking at an unknown hotel.
Anyway, here is TripAdvisor's annual list of hotels that have managed to attract the attention for being:
"Top 10 Filthiest U.S. Hotels Identified Based on Traveler Cleanliness Ratings
NEWTON, Mass., Jan. 27, 2009 - TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel community, today announced the top 10 dirtiest hotels in America based on TripAdvisor traveler ratings for cleanliness. True to TripAdvisor's promise to deliver the whole truth about travel-the good, the bad, and the ugly-TripAdvisor has identified the 10 dirtiest hotels in the U.S. for the fourth year running.
--Hotel Carter, New York
--Continental Bayside Hotel, Miami Beach
--New York Inn, New York
--Eden Roc Motel, Wildwood, New Jersey
--Days Inn Cleveland Airport, Brook Park, Ohio
--Days Inn Airport/ Stadium Tampa, Tampa, Florida
--Travelodge Bangor, Bangor, Maine
--Velda Rose Resort Hotel, Hot Springs, Arkansas
--Ramada Plaza Hotel JFK International Airport, Jamaica, New York
--Days Inn & Suites Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
(This is the fourth year that the Hotel Carter, just off Times Square, has made the TripAdvisor list, "and its third year of having the dubious distinction of topping it," says the travel site.}
Here are some choice comments from recent TripAdvisor traveler reviews on various hotels on the list:
--"I think it would have been cleaner to sleep on the street."
--"Rooms were filthy; walls were smeared with unknown substance, furniture was broken and damaged..."
--"I'd rather sleep in my car."
--"One bed had blood on the sheets, other body fluids smeared on the windows, exposed wires, extremely poor service."
--"Roaches everywhere! One so big he could have helped me bring my suitcase upstairs"
--"The room we checked in smelled like cat urine and the air conditioner didn't work."
--"My blanket had cigarette holes in it. The sheets were too small for the bed and barely fit around the bed corners..."
--"The bathroom was unsuitable for bathing. I asked for a cloth to clean the bathroom myself ... and was denied any cleaning cloth or soap to do so."
--"With growing horror I peeled back each layer and found more and more bugs on the sheets, on the mattress pad and on the mattress itself."
--"It was one of those places where you sleep with one eye open."
--"If you are reading the previous reviews thinking 'it can't be that bad' - it is."
--"...no towels to take showers."
--"The bugs had a better meal at this place than we did."
--"The first room we were given literally smelled like raw sewage."
--"I felt like I needed another shower after using the one in our room."
--"We woke up the next morning to visitors. Our room was infested with ants... I mean they were all over the place. It was awful. We even brought a bunch back home in our suitcase."
[My note: Careful, they can charge you for taking the ants home.]