The worst hotel ever? This traveler thinks he found it

Is this the worst hotel ever?

Myron Schuur thought he’d found a deal through Orbitz to stay at the American Inn Benton Harbor in Michigan. And he had — but it wasn’t the deal he expected. In fact, he believes he may have just found the worst hotel ever.

“The first thing we noticed was a terrible odor in the halls,” he says. “It was like a mixture of cigarette smoke, dust and stale air. The walls had been poorly patched and painted over.”

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That’s consistent with the experiences of others at the inn.

Is this the worst hotel ever?

“Horrible nightmare,” says one reviewer. “We should have slept in the car. Disgusting, dirty floors. I use better towels to wash the car.”

“Worst hotel ever,” agrees another. “The room was completely dirty, everything from the bathroom to the beds. Unable to use the bathroom due to broken sink that empties the water onto the tile, and very dirty toilet that has not even been cleaned. Shower also did not work.”

Same thing happened to Schuur.

“The smell of dead air and cigarette smoke carried into all three of the rooms, though they were noted as non-smoking rooms,” he says.

He complained about Room 317, where there was standing water on the bathroom floor. “The towels were stained, the sheets had stains, and there were dead bugs on the floor,” he says.

They moved him to Room 107. No luck. “The linens were stained and the pillows themselves were stained,” he says. “The bathtub was severely stained.”

How about Room 105? Nope. “The bathroom was dirty and the linens were all extremely stained,” he says. “There were unpatched holes in the walls.”

Checking out of the worst hotel ever

He checked out of the hotel and asked for a refund of his prepaid weekly rate of $471. But the hotel refused. So he asked Orbitz for help, but a representative told him they couldn’t reach a manager to authorize the refund.

Schuur noticed an interesting thing when he asked for his money back. The guy at the front desk claimed he wasn’t in charge and would have to ask a manager for a refund. But Schuur suspects that was the manager, and that he was pretending to be the wrong guy.

“It seems that Orbitz has given up on their efforts to reach the manager at the hotel,” he adds. “I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he answered the phone multiple times and simply pretended he was not the manager.”

Well, one thing is certain: Orbitz has no business selling this hotel. And yet, even after bringing this to the online agency’s attention, it still lists the hotel on its site. Come on.

Contacting Orbitz

I contacted Orbitz on behalf of Schuur. It refunded the $471.

When travelers book through an online agency, they deserve what the OTA promises. In this case,  “cheap and chic,” in Orbitz’ words. Not cheap and crumbling.

In other words, Schuur should have had a sure thing when he booked online.

March 2018 update: Orbitz is still offering this hotel on its site, and the customer reviews continue to show that this American Inn remains in competition for the worst hotel ever. 

Should Orbitz continue to sell the American Inn Benton Harbor?

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11 thoughts on “The worst hotel ever? This traveler thinks he found it

  1. If Orbitz is going to act as a middleman/travel agent, they need some sort of assurance in place that what they’re selling meets a leve of basic standards. After multiple complaints, they have no business continuing to offer this location.

    1. They’re selling to millions of people. They are NOT travel agencies. They are answering services that people only end up talking to when it’s too late to change or cancel something. They do not budge. I had an experience cleaning up a mess for a relative and it took days and hours of multiple phone calls to get them to compromise even 1/2 way. Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, Cheaptickets — all the same — If you want to talk to some 3rd world phone clerk who knows nothing about airlines, hotels, etc. (probably never left the city they were born in) let alone how to solve a problem, go right ahead, at your own risk.

        1. Sorry, I shouldn’t have attached it as a reply to you. I’ll let my comment stand alone to the (any) collective group that believes that they are good travel agents or representatives. When things go south, their call center employees
          1. Have no decision making abilities except to read by rote and
          2. Have to be begged to escalate to a higher supervisor who generally doesn’t give in either.

          My paying money for a product should come with clear, efficient customer service, especially when things go wrong.

  2. If I were Orbitz, would I list this property? No. However if they wish to do so, and to deal with the consequences, it is up to them. Let’s be honest here – what did Myron Schuur think he was getting? Even if he didn’t bother to check Tripadvisor or any other site, it is completely obvious from Orbitz own listing that the place is a dump. 1.4 / 5 score, and 0% recommendations? And the comments people have left?

    Would you have clicked the “Book” button Christopher? I know I would have been very quickly clicking the “Return to search results” button…

  3. If you Google this motel, it is obvious from the fact that every single person left a bad review not to stay here. I’m not exagerrating, every single review says its terrible. I can’t understand how anyone would give this place a chance.

  4. Yes, Orbitz should make some attempt to assure the quality of the properties they list. However, (as previous comments have noted) the consumer also has the responsibility to look before leaping… especially when the information is so easily available.

    1. True, but I went to look at the Orbitz site for this hotel, The pictures were actually very nice, and there were only 5 reviews… 2 of which were written by the OP. So, I might have hedged a bet based on the pics, etc… that the reviews were written by picky, dissatisfied people. Had there been 10 or 20 reviews… then I’d have definitely moved right along!

  5. Orbitz is not advertising “five star hotels only” or “good hotels at bargain prices”. They’re an online travel agent – a portal to book flights/hotels/cars, etc……

    Would wager travelocity Expedia etc also sell this hotel. Perhaps a brick and mortar travel agent would have recommended something better??

    Further – in the online era there’s plenty of information available about hotels online. It would have taken all of two minutes to search for reviews and realize this hotel was bad. Even orbitz showed a low rating.

    Op was not mislead. Refund should not be given.

  6. CE, please, you should really steer people clear of using these online “agencies”. They are nothing but an answering service out of some third world country – absolutely no clue or customer service when even the smallest things go wrong, need to be changed, etc.
    Likewise let the buyer beware – when are travelers going to learn it is just as easy to research individual hotel chains and even smaller hotels by Googling them, checking TripAdvisor first, etc. and then booking directly with hotel chains, car rentals, airlines. These “agencies” are wolves in sheep’s clothing !

    1. I don’t know that is truly the case with all these “agencies”. I have looked for a hotel before, gotten their price, looked at Travelocity or Expedia, checked the price they offer and if it is cheaper, booked with them. I checked with the hotels and found I had exactly what I booked; just at a cheaper rate. Sometimes, I have had a better deal pop up later and if the booking I made through the “agency” was fully cancelable and refundable until a certain time before arrival, I was able to do so. Has it worked for everyone, I am sure not. We have seen complaints here and elsewhere. But, if these “agencies” are always so terribly bad, they would not stay in business.
      I also agree, TripAdvisor is a good place to look first before finally deciding on a hotel; even if you are going to book through a hotel chain (Marriott, Hilton, etc.) website.

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