And the award for America’s worst hotel goes to …

carterIt’s too close to call. A review of several “worst of” lists suggests there’s a high concentration of awful hotels in the New York area, with one or two standouts outside of Gotham. The bad properties are also likely to be owned by one chain.

But what am I waiting for? Let’s name names.

I’ll start with TripAdvisor’s list of dirtiest hotels.

1. Hotel Carter, New York City, New York
2. Continental Bayside Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida
3. New York Inn, New York City, New York
4. Eden Roc Motel, Wildwood, New Jersey
5. Airport Plaza, Brook Park, Ohio
6. Travelodge Bangor, Bangor, Maine
7. Velda Rose Resort Hotel, Hot Springs, Arkansas
8. Ramada Plaza Hotel JFK International Airport, Jamaica, New York
9. Days Inn & Suites Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg, Tennessee (*)

That’s three hotels in the Big Apple and one in New Jersey, less than three hours away. It’s also a clear win for Wyndham, which owns the Days Inn, Ramada and Travelodge brands.

Here’s another list of the world’s worst hotels. The biggest loser? The Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

One [review] says that the ceiling and light fixture leaked urine from the floor above. Get this, there’s pictures posted on various websites illustrating that this is true. Along with sour smells and the shorted-out ceiling lights (occasionally flickering), the urine drips from the ceiling onto the bathroom floor and shower basin.

Alright, then.

Here’s another non-scientific — but no less horrifying — account of a “worst” hotel stay from our friends at WorldHum.

After a massive meal and lots of red wine, I collapsed into bed, only to be woken by my girlfriend around 1:00 a.m. “Alex,” she whispered, “I don’t know how to tell you this…but there is a giant rat on our nightstand.” Half-asleep, I believed her. I slowly crept out of the bed to the light-switch, turned it on and whipped around. Nothing. My girlfriend, meanwhile darted across the room and hid behind a desk chair, shouting directions. “Check under the bed! Look in the bathroom!” After ten minutes of searching, I suggested that maybe, just maybe, it had all been in our heads.

Hmm. Maybe they should ease up on the vino?

Related story:   Thinking of visiting that hot new vacation destination? Think again.

Being bad isn’t always bad. Some hotels embrace their awfulness and brag about the low quality of their accommodations.

Note to Wyndham franchisees in the greater New York area: I might go with something else.

(Photo: pixdawg/Flickr Creative Commons)

Update: Days Inn has contacted me and says the Gatlinburg property is “no longer” part of the Days Inn franchise.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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