View Full Version : What's the seediest hotel you've ever stayed in?

Max Torque
04-14-2008, 01:14 PM
With mod permission, I'm restarting this thread, which I first posted back in 2003 (for fear of resurrecting a zombie, I won't link to the old thread). So, tell us: what's the seediest motel you've ever stayed at?

The worst I can think of happened to my family instead of me: back when I was a freshman in college, my parents and brother decided to come down to watch a football game. Although it was "Family Weekend", my father didn't make a reservation anywhere, so when they arrived in town, every place was booked solid. And they couldn't stay with me, because I lived in a dorm room.

Good ol' Dad finally found a vacancy at a really trashy place on the US highway headed out of town. The first warning sign: rooms were $15 a night (this was in 1991). I saw the room, and thank God I didn't have to stay there. Threadbare, holey carpets; towels like thin sandpaper; just a generally oily, grimy feel. But wait, there's more! The very best part, in my opinion, was the stain on the molding by the door, which looked very much like a blood stain. It was at about head height, and there were little "trickles" from it almost down to the floor.

They were awakened twice in the night: once by the train that rattled past their window at around 4 AM, and once by a policeman looking for the friend of the guy he was arresting in the parking lot.

To this day, we remind my father about this hotel. In fact, when I mentioned that my family had stayed there to my girlfriend, who at the time worked at the rape crisis center, her eyes got really wide. She had, shall we say, heard about the place more than once.

So, I'm sure someone in our international community can come up with something even worse. Tell us about the very worst!

04-14-2008, 01:41 PM
Gillette stadium (home of the NE Patriots) is located about 20 miles outside of Boston on US Route 1 which is one of the major traditional highways that predates the interstate highway system. For reasons that I have never been able to imagine, a 5 mile stretch of this road has a plethora of motels that date from the late 1930's - 1950's. One gem is the Red Fox inn but there are several others. It certainly doesn't appear that they are kept that way because of nostalgia. They years, even decades, just slipped by to fast for them to keep up.

I have stayed in two over the years. The first one was a few years ago and I woke up the night clerk by tapping hard on the security glass. They were out of the standard $39 a night rooms but they agreed to give me a suite for the same price. That seemed great. I got to my room and the suite was basically one large room with a heart shaped hot tub in the middle of the room. An ancient 19" TV was positioned for easy viewing from the hot tub. Believe me, I made the most of this setup. I overslept checkout time the next morning and a maid with what appeared to have a raging meth addiction based on her facial appearance had to chase me out.

The second one was in the same general area but genuinely bad. I got the room for the same area standard of $39 a night. However, the entire hotel was dark, rather large, and only about 10% inhabited that night. It also smelled so strongly of urine and smoke that it literally burned my eyes. I got in my room and decided to take a bath. I was in the bath for about 20 minutes before I heard the locks turning and two employees flew in so fast that I barely had time to grab a towel. My bath had caused a partial ceiling collapse in the room below. It wasn't my fault. I left the next morning but my clothes smelled disgusting like I was cohabiting with a troop of feline chain smokers.

04-14-2008, 01:56 PM
Some place in Pomona CA, where I stopped on one of my trips between Atascadero and Glendale, having gotten a very late start that time. There was a beer fridge in the corner tied shut with what looked like medical gauze. The TV set was so old it didn't change channels, but tuned in frequencies like a radio, and I had to go back and ask the clerk for a light bulb for the reading lamp.

04-14-2008, 02:02 PM
In 1970, I qualified for the Federal Management Internship Program, and since the jobs for which I was being considered were at different locations in the country, I traveled quite a bit for the interviews. One of the interviews was for a civilian job with the Army Materiel Command in Leavenworth, Kansas. Since I wanted to be well-rested for the interview, I arrived the night before. After a train ride, a bus ride, and a taxicab ride, I checked into the Cody Hotel in downtown Leavenworth (the cab driver told me it was the best hotel in town).

The Cody Hotel was named for Buffalo Bill Cody, and it looked as if it hadn't been renovated since Buffalo Bill slept there. When I was ready to go to sleep, I pulled back the bedcovers and was horrified to see hundreds of tiny critters scurrying all over the sheets. I had seen pictures of bedbugs, but I'd never in my life met any until that night.

I went downstairs and told the night clerk that I'd need another room, since there were bedbugs in my assigned room. "Oh, there are bedbugs in all the rooms," he said cheerfully.

I didn't sleep well, and I didn't get the job. Which was probably just as well, since Leavenworth didn't impress me much. To this day, I think of Leavenworth as a place with a federal prison, an army base, and bedbugs in the best hotel in town.

Darryl Lict
04-14-2008, 02:19 PM
I'd have to say the HoJo's in New Orleans. I've never seen so many cockroaches in my life.

A distant second would be a guest house on Khao San Road in Bangkok. It made the one in The Beach look like the Biltmore.

Third would be a hotel in Yangon, Myanmar. The host was the nicest guy on the planet. I got up at 4 in the morning to take a pee and he was cooking eggs for my breakfast because that was the only time the electricity was on.

i'd have to toss in the hotel I stayed in Miami. The door was locked with no sign. After wandering around for half an hour, I figured out that reception was in the building across the street. There was no air conditioning.

04-14-2008, 02:26 PM
The Grand Hotel de la Poste in Marseille, France. It was a tour group of Classical Study High School Students. Everybody had something to report.

Dried blood on the sheets.

Heavy iron shutters that wouldn't open...

...except when somebody did manage to open one, a dead pigeon fell out.

Door handles that didn't work (You had to use your leverage on the key to open the door)

Prefab steel toilets installed in each room. I think the building predated widespread use of indoor plumbimng, and this was a retrofit. No joke.

04-14-2008, 02:27 PM
There was the little place I had to stay at in Honor, MI. Never a good sign when they advertise "TV" on their sign out front as if it were something space age.

There was the Howard Johnsons in NJ somewhere that I stayed in & shared the same floor with a group of ladies of <ahem> questionable character.

Lastly, there was a little place in Iron Bridge, Ontario that had paper thin walls (well, actually they were as thin as the imitation wood paneling). I more so felt bad for the other people there since we had a baby with an ear infection with us. No one got any sleep!

04-14-2008, 02:29 PM
I have stayed in a few.

Kingman Arizona-Don't remember the name of it but there were plenty of cockroaches.

Paris Michigan-Paris Motel. Took a shower and noticed a hole in the wall that led to the next rooms shower.(I took A long shower ;) )

Bullhead City Arizona-Arizona Sunset Suites.
I lived there for a couple a months, during that time I had-

1.A naked old man knocking on my window at 7 am in the morning. I looked out the door and called the cops,they came and ended up clubbing him, macing him, and hog-tying him cus he grabbed a lady cops boob.

2.Had a guy walk into my room cus "the door was unlocked". That ended with me pushing him down a flight of stairs.

3.Had a Jealous boyfriend kick my door off the hinges, only to find out he had the wrong room.

4. A meth lab bust

5.Finding a scopion in my room(I was on the 2nd floor).

Figured it was time to move outta there so I moved to

The Nevada Inn(also in Bullhead City)

Alwways plenty of guys in the lobby and the alley willing to give BJ's for 5 or 10 bux.

04-14-2008, 02:32 PM
I've stayed at three creepy hotel/motels.

1) The Yancy Hotel (somewhere in Nebraska) where I had to step over a person to get to my creepy room where I got zero sleep.

2) Some joint in Atlanta that was so creepy I made my boyfriend stay on the phone with me all night.

3) One of the many No-Tell Motels in Las Vegas. It had all the stereotypical goodness one would expect from a place that is one step above a pay-by-the-hour establishment. It really should be on the "things I must do before I die" list of every American. Heh-heh.

04-14-2008, 02:38 PM
I don't recall the previous thread, so I may have posted this tale. Deal - I'm old - I repeat myself!! :p

We were living in northeast FL in the Jacksonville metropolitan area. I don't recall if this was pre-or-post baby, but I do know the two of us were taking a weekend alone. We wanted an oceanfront room, just because, and we decided to go to Fernandina Beach, since it was close, but far enough away to seem like a mini-vacation.

This would have been mid-to-late 80s, so we couldn't just google hotels. I picked a few out of the yellow pages, and off we went. The one we went to was technically waterfront, although there was a road between the motel and the beach. It was a small, single-story, kinda shabby looking place - it had "atmosphere", OK?? And it was pretty well booked, but we got a teeny room next to the office. All the other rooms were numbered. Ours was "B" which I suspect stood for Barely a room. But it had a bed and a bath and it was on the water...

We did the usual beach community stuff - walking in the sand, picking up shells, checking out a local restaurant, then finally back to our room for the night. It was a noisy place, partly due to being next to the office and mostly because it was a pretty cheap place that attracted a noisy crowd. But eventually we slept.

My husband awoke the next morning facing the wall, and was greeted by the sight of a large booger stuck there at eye level (when lying down.) So we knew what the "B" stood for. And we had a good laugh, and never spent another night in Fernandina. I understand the real hotels there are nice, tho.

04-14-2008, 02:42 PM
My worst wasn't really all that terrible. We were saving money on our return from dropping off my daughter at college, so we picked out a hotel that had a very low rate.

The room was a bit ratty, and there was only one bar of soap (unopened) in the bathroom, with only a couple of towels. The blankets were a bit threadbare.

Otherwise, though, it was tolerable.

04-14-2008, 02:45 PM
The worst hotel I've been in should have been one of the best it was right across the street from the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston. Unfortunately it wasn't in what would be called the good part of town and the door to my room had a large boot print in the middle of it when I went to drop off my stuff inside the room the door frame was broken from where the deadbolt had broken through. Although it did look like they had repaired the main lock so it at least worked. I was on a school field trip and the hotel was booked so I could change rooms. Oh ya did I mention cockroaches?

Dr. Woo
04-14-2008, 02:48 PM
I "stayed" a couple of times at a place called the 300 Motel. The name was originally the 3.00 (pronounced three dollar) motel, but they changed the name (but not the whole sign, just the decimal point) when they went up to 5.00/night.

This was in the early 1970's on Phillips Highway in Jacksonville, Florida. The motel was right across from Gatorland (See Live Gators "Here"!), next to a pawn shop and a used car lot.

Personally I think they should have changed the name of the motel to the "Biggest Fucking Roaches You've Ever Seen in Your Life Motel". That, and the fact that this establishment had no air conditioning of any kind (and did I mention this was Jacksonville?) , tells you why this was NOT the Four Seasons.

04-14-2008, 02:51 PM
My last year of college, my boyfriend and I took a vacation to Baja California during Spring Break. I imagined something stupid and fun and drunk, out of an MTV reality show. He imagined lots and lots of surfing.

So he found some awesome waves and announced that we were staying at the hotel within walking distance. Anything else of interest was about 20 minutes away by car.

When we were checking in, the woman taking our (but mostly my) money warned us in broken English about the rabid dogs running around behind the property.

Our room was a converted garage, with a concrete floor and everything. There was a bed in the middle of the room and nothing else. The curtains only came halfway down the windows. The shower, as it were, was a hose strung up behind a curtain.

I killed this particular boyfriend and buried his body on the beach. It was very sad.

04-14-2008, 03:11 PM
In 1980, after a long hospital stay in my hometown (Tulsa, Oklahoma) I had to travel to the Cleveland Clinic (In Cleveland, Ohio) for surgery. My husband and I reserved a room in a motel that was walking distance from the clinic. The plan was that we would spend the night in the motel, then the next day I would check into the Cleveland Clinic Hospital, and my husband would continue staying at the motel until I was released. We confirmed our reservation with a credit card, and we thought that this meant that we were guaranteed a room. We thought wrongly.

Since our plane was late, we arrived several hours after "check-in time," and all the rooms were occupied. The manager took pity on us, and told us that there was a foldaway bed in the janitorial storage room, and we could spend the night there for free. He gave us a key to the room and found some clean sheets for us.

The foldaway bed was tiny. It was narrower than a twin bed. More like a baby's crib. And it creaked and sagged and stank. But my husband and I were exhausted, so we clung to each other in this horrible excuse for a bed and finally fell asleep.

We were awakened at six in the morning by a motel housekeeper who had not been warned that somebody was sleeping in the janitorial storage room. This lady was scared and angry and all kinds of displeased. "Y'all can NOT be in here," she shrieked. And yet -- mirabile dictu -- we were.

04-14-2008, 03:37 PM
The worst was probably the place we stayed in the town of Mopti in Mali, Africa. Another was the motel in Port Hueneme, CA that had a sign on the door of the room stating "No Prostitution Permitted".

We should have a thread called "Worst Bathrooms on The Planet". Hoo-boy, have I seen some reekers.

Wee Bairn
04-14-2008, 03:40 PM
City Hotel Amsterdam- listed as a two star hotel, obviously on a scale of 100. I didn't know that a hundred dollar a night hotel in Amsterdam equated to a 29 dollar a night one in the US- threadbare carpet, smelly, bedding so gross I used my coat instead- but nice old world building, and safe.

Also the Pennsylvania Hotel in the heart of Times Square- 79 dollars a night via Hotwire in 2002, which again I didn't know was "too low"- they were remodeling at the time but 79 dollars got you one of of the un-remodeled rooms with shitty beds, bare white walls, a TV with a knob, and a bathtub that I had to buy a pair of flip flops before I'd stand in it.

Also some unnamed shithole 100 feet from Tijuana in San Ysidro that they actually had the nerve to check the room out before they'd let me leave, to make sure I didn't steal the brown shag carpet and 13" black and white TV with coat hanger antenna, when for 10 bucks more I could have stayed in a Days Inn.

black rabbit
04-14-2008, 03:53 PM
The (RIP) Spa (with Slayer!) and the Lincoln Inn, both on North Lincoln in Chicago.

I, uh, don't remember too much about the Spa.

Our room at the Lincoln had four walls of mirrors and a mirrored ceiling, and four free channels of porn on the TV. At $35/night, I actually consider it a bargain. The sheets were clean and the IHOP was close.

Dyslexics Untie!
04-14-2008, 04:00 PM
On the island of Mauritius the good resort had overbooked, so we were stranded and had to take any opening, which was a 6-cabin one-woman operation. Tropical climate, windows open without screens. There were big millipedes crawling all over, geckos crawling overhead and dropping onto the bed, and we saw them put on new sheets but the pillows smelled. They had a "beach" which was a ten foot wide strip of sharp lava rocks that cut our rubber soled shoes. Fortunately, after one night the real resort had room again.

04-14-2008, 04:26 PM
Some place in Pomona CA, where I stopped on one of my trips between Atascadero and Glendale, having gotten a very late start that time. There was a beer fridge in the corner tied shut with what looked like medical gauze. The TV set was so old it didn't change channels, but tuned in frequencies like a radio, and I had to go back and ask the clerk for a light bulb for the reading lamp.It's funny because I can almost guarantee I know where you're talking about. :)

For me, it was a Motel 6 outside of Blue Springs, MO. There was safety glass separating the clerk from the public, which we weren't used to seeing, and there were a number of police cars in the parking lot at the time. We could see officers rather aggressively knocking on the door of one of the rooms and shouting at the occupant(s). So I asked the clerk, "Can I ask what's going on?" And her response was, "No."

Had it not been for the fact that we'd arrived late from a long night and were in unfamiliar territory, I'm certain we'd have just left. As it was, the room was a bit skeevy, but nothing in my mind was worse than the fact that God-knows-what was going on around us in the motel.

Troy McClure SF
04-14-2008, 04:38 PM
This place (http://www.yelp.com/biz/chelsea-star-hotel-new-york#hrid:kvGgze9U0Q-hpDlUjAScZg) was a bit icky, though probably the nicest in this thread. The ickiest part was that the entire building smelled like hot dogs, but there were no vendors or anything like it in the vicinity.

04-14-2008, 04:43 PM
The (RIP) Spa (with Slayer!) and the Lincoln Inn, both on North Lincoln in Chicago.

I, uh, don't remember too much about the Spa.

Our room at the Lincoln had four walls of mirrors and a mirrored ceiling, and four free channels of porn on the TV. At $35/night, I actually consider it a bargain. The sheets were clean and the IHOP was close.
Our porn was free. Including warning-free. I thought to myself that the family at the other end of the motel will be very upset when the kids turn on the tv. There were no other channels. Just porn.

Intravenus De Milo
04-14-2008, 04:48 PM
I'm curious - has anyone here ever actually stayed at South of the Border? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_of_the_Border_%28attraction%29)

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
04-14-2008, 04:57 PM
Hotel Zch, across from the train station in Vienna (I forget which one--Vienna is one of those cities with multiple intercity train stations that you use depending on which direction you're heading.

There was no electricity and I think we were the only ones in the place besides the night clerk. Since I was the only one of my group who could speak German, I asked for a discount as there were no lights, and he gave me a whopping five per cent. It wasn't one of my best negotiations.

Little Nemo
04-14-2008, 05:15 PM
Prefab steel toilets installed in each room. I think the building predated widespread use of indoor plumbimng, and this was a retrofit. No joke.We use those in prisons. They're designed for use in places where you expect people to try to smash the toilets.

04-14-2008, 06:12 PM
Then there was the place I used to stay at in London, near Lancaster Gate. I was taking my morning shower and heard someone pounding on the door. When I answered, I was told that water from my shower was dripping down into the kitchen. Gave me a very secure feeling about the condition of the flooring.

04-14-2008, 06:32 PM
The seediest motel we have ever stayed in was the Blue Spruce (or something like that) in Gallup New Mexico. The room was cheap and we needed a place to sleep. The room was pleasantly and surprisingly clean and the place looked OK (before the sun went down) and the room was only 25 or 30 bucks.

After we checked the room out, we went to go get some dinner, at the Ranch Kitchen - which was fantastic, by the way.

We came back, and it was apparent that some, well most of the rooms were rented out as "extended stay" and the people were, um, interesting.

We both laid there in a light sleep, mildly paranoid by each little noise, and I would go to the window and peek to check to see if my car was OK/still there.

That was the only night we have ever "slept" with the pistol ON the nightstand (at home or away).

teela brown
04-14-2008, 06:56 PM
Would a "vacation home" count as an inn?

We rented what looked like a romantic old-world home in the countryside of France. It was called a "gite", but I'd call it a "git". It was indeed old-world. It was probably a shepherd's hovel dating from medieval times. The TV didn't work, the beds were all mattresses laid on the floor and covered with plastic pee-proof covers, none of the cloth sheets fit any of the beds, and the place was running with house centipedes. I discovered the latter in the middle of the night while taking a pee. One of them came running at full speed across the floor, its legs brushing my toes and causing me to cut off peeing in mid-stream. If you've ever seen the Absolutely Fabulous episode where Eddie and Patsy were trying to stay in a wretched stone farmhouse in Provence, battling roaches and boredom, you'd have an idea of what this place was like. After a couple of days, we checked out and moved into a Holiday Inn (or some such equivalent) in a large nearby city. Never again!

04-14-2008, 07:12 PM
I don't know the name of it, or even exactly where it was, but it was in Ocala. We went for a spontaneous road-trip, ended up in Ocala the weekend of the Daytona 500 and there was literally no place else to stay. What a little shit-hole. I didn't sleep the whole night. Himself did, though.

04-14-2008, 07:23 PM
When I first moved to San Francisco, late '96, I stayed at the Crown Hotel, a cockroach haven at Valencia and 16th (Quite a hipster hood for the last 5-10 years). It wasn't too bad. $90 per week, and relatively quiet for its type of hotel. Only very occasional prostitutes in the halls, lots of drunks and druggies, though. I was threatened by a completely insane resident once who objected to me knocking on my friend's door, which was across from his.

The only horribleness was the cockroach problem. If you've never had one, you can't imagine it. Hundreds of them. I'd put thick tape, sticky-side up, around the sink, and when I got back from farting around all day, it'd be covered in stuck roaches. It was before I'd heard of boric acid, which is, supposedly, a miracle cure.


04-14-2008, 07:45 PM
Congress Hotel, Baltimore, mid-1980s. It was, um, interesting... obviously at some point pre-WW2 it had been swank, hotel but boy, had it gone downhill (along with the entire neighborhood) without any attention ever since. Furnishings obviously obtained wherever they could rustle up each random piece; linens, towels and curtains still stamped with multiple other institutional/commercial logos. Threadbareness as a motif. Many rooms w/o ensuite baths. Odd noises of things creeping, crawling and chewing within the walls. (Then again, the building used to house in the basement the Marble Bar,the preeminent punk/wave/HC club in B'more of the era. So thrashedness was something of a theme.)

Was abandoned at the end of the 80s and even condemned in the 90s but eventually got gutted and redone as apartments in a gentrification effort (though W. Franklin St. last I checked seems rather resistant to gentrification...)

04-14-2008, 08:13 PM
A nameless hotel outside Petra, Jordan.

-Dead cockroaches on the floor

-A soiled pair of women's underwear in the cupboard

-A fungus growing between the wall and the plaster that was strong enough to break the plaster right off

-A shower that required one to hold a metal hose thus allowing you to receive periodic electrical shocks whenever the water heater kicked in. Also, the shower drain would back up and produce a slurry not unlike something one might find in the alley behind the Mos Eisley Cantina

-The best was the toilet. The seat was completely broken off, of course. When I leaned over to grab some TP, the entire toilet came with me and ripped right out of the floor. It was balanced on its edge. When I dropped it back down to the floor, my shorts, which were around my ankles, got trapped between the toilet and the floor and began feverishly wicking whichever brown mystery fluid one might find underneath your average Jordanian toilet. Lovely. Try and get out of that Chinese finger trap before the goo gets you!

-Indiana Jones and the last Crusade playing 24 hours a day on a permanent loop, blasting at 1000 decibels from the lobby

-"Ice cream sandwiches for sale in the lobby that were, in fact, not ice cream but flavoured frozen margarine. Yum.

Good Times.

04-14-2008, 08:54 PM
The "Heart of Wilmington" in Wilmington, NC, circa 1980. My father and I stayed there once on a vacation trip up the Outer Banks. The carpet was so dirty that in doing nothing but walking from the bed to the bathroom and back, the bottoms of my white socks turned almost black. It was like there had been a fire or something. Shudder.

04-14-2008, 09:08 PM
Without question, the Jayhawk Motel in Lawrence, Kansas.

We rolled into town late, I dropped the wife and kid at the office and went to fill the tanks and get some milk for the kid and a few beers.

When I got back, I noticed the sign on the office saying "No refunds after 20 min" and a dude peeing in the parking lot. I got a bad feeling.

The room was horrible! Filthy top to bottom, thin to the point of see-thru (yet remarkable stiff) bedspread, exposed wiring and burn marks around one of the electrical outlets etc etc. Really horrible, even by my standards.

As soon as the kid stepped out of the bath, we dressed him and I went to the office to tell them we weren't staying or paying! I was prepared to administer an asskicking if need be. They gave me the creditcard slip with no problems and we motored out of there as fast as we could.

04-14-2008, 09:15 PM
Without question, the Jayhawk Motel When I got back, I noticed the sign on the office saying "No refunds after 20 min"

That seems like a pretty good deal for the shady, pre-maturely ejaculatory set.

04-14-2008, 10:19 PM
First roadside establishment that comes to mind: The Winkin' Lantern at the intersection of CA 108 and 120. Reason for staying: It had the closest room to a Dead/Santana show at the Caleveras County Fairgrounds.

Runner-up: The Harmony Motel in 29 Palms, Ca. (not seedy so much, more like funky and worn out) Reason for staying: a nasty cold front blew into the high desert, and we were seeking warmth and dryness. I didn't realize until later that U2 had stayed there when they were prepping "The Joshua Tree".

04-14-2008, 10:42 PM
I once lived (not stayed, but lived for a year) at the "Hollywood C" Motel. A friend claimed that the C was two grades below A, but I think it was because of a broken sign that once said "Hollywood-Cahuenga". $45/month. My room had a refrigerator and unlike some other units, a door to the bathroom.

I was warned to bring a giant can of cockroach spray and used it liberally, pissing off my landlady, who hated the smell. When I went to get linens in her apartment once, she opened the closet door and said to the copious cockroaches, "Shoo! Shoo!" which was her substitute for the smelly spray.

The floor below housed a porn shop, but they kept to themselves. All the occupants of the motel were people pretty much like me, down on their luck at the time, and typically denizens for just a few months before moving on. I was pleasantly surprised how we looked out for each other and got along in spite of the different hours some worked and how different we were.

It was just a short bus ride to the Hollywood strip and where I got started in the music biz. When the guy who worked in the donut shop got off work, he brought everyone who was up a bag of donuts. When the gal who worked the chicken shop across the street got off, she brought us lots of chicken. I supplied the rock music and hifi system with color organ, and made my friends eyeglasses at the lab where I worked days. Weekends after I got off playing bar piano, we went back to my place for more merriment and music, then breakfast at Denny's.

Yes, the sex was pretty free and frequent. AFAIK, no "professional" hookers lived or worked there, it was just California youth and freedom. It was one of the best times of my life.

even sven
04-15-2008, 10:14 AM
The worst was probably the place we stayed in the town of Mopti in Mali, Africa.

Ohhhh, which one? I stayed at the Catholic Mission and found it quite charming- at least compared to the rooftops and riverbanks that I slept on the majority of my trip.

One, after nearly getting robbed by a minibus driver, I ended up stranded at night in a Hondoran border town. We asked in our nearly non-existant Spanish if there was a hotel around. They led us someplace and we followed.

We put down our sacks and enjoyed the town's nightlife, which consisted mostly of evengelical churches trying to out sing each other. By the time we got in we were tired and went to sleep.

It wasn't until morning that we really realized it's not normal for a hotel to have six bunk beds in a room. Or bars on the windows. Or armed guards outside. That's right. They put us in the jail.

04-15-2008, 10:38 AM
Two places come to mind. All I can remember about either is the location, not the name.

The oldest was from back in the 50's when we went to Destin. The falling-down place was across the highway from the beach and its back looked out over a city dump. My brother and I told the hotel manager they ought to change the name of the place from whatever Sea Breeze or Silver Sands or Gulf Valhalla name it had to Dump View.

The latest was this alleged 4-star (AAA rating) place in Sturbridge, Mass., where we spent a night on the way to Camden. The sheets were thin enough to read through, there was dirt on the floors, the walls between rooms were thin enough you could hear breathing in the next room, the bathroom floor was linoleum and wobbled when you walked on it, and the thermostat didn't work. To avoid this place, it might be wise to pick another stop on I-84 or I-90 than Sturbridge. The only thing going for the stop was a great seafood joint near the hotel. But I wouldn't spend the night there for the food.

Argent Towers
04-15-2008, 10:42 AM
I'm waiting to hear what Siam Sam has to say...

04-15-2008, 10:57 AM
It is gone now 9demolished ca. 2002), but its memories live on.
It was buildt around 1960-and incorporated the latest styles 9shag carpets, revolting shades of orange and gree, modern furniture). the place was never redecorated. By the time it closed, the floors and walls were saturated with cigarette smoke, and the bathroom fistures were all brass 9the chrome had worn off).

04-15-2008, 11:42 AM
Well, for a year or so I lived at (what I think was called) The Hickory Hills Motel - it was on 95th street (I think) - that place was awful. There were several gas leaks, the fire dept. was there a few times - that was a rough year. I also spent a weekend at a motel up on Route 12 just as you get into the Chain Of Lakes - mirrors on the ceiling and everything. That place was something else. Can't remember what it was called, but it was just as you come into the chain on 12 after the 59 ramp across the street from the Burger King on the water and next to the greek restaurant.

04-15-2008, 11:55 AM
Ohhhh, which one? I stayed at the Catholic Mission and found it quite charming- at least compared to the rooftops and riverbanks that I slept on the majority of my trip.

I have no idea. We were on our way to Bandjiagara in Dogon country and it was a necessary layover. It had non-functional air conditioners blowing hot air. I was able to get it marginally cooler by climbing out the window, dismantling the back of it and shaking out about 100 years of dust, sand and spider nests. But I'm afraid the freon had long fled to the ozone layer. Later in the trip, we had a pit stop in what had to be the most appalling toilet on the planet.

Siam Sam
04-15-2008, 12:08 PM
I'm waiting to hear what Siam Sam has to say...
Oh, man, where do I begin!

04-15-2008, 03:20 PM
Casino West in Yerington, NV. The rooms reek of cigarette smoke, every surface is dirty and/or grimy and/or moldy, the mattresses are concave, and in the cold winter the air is so dry it gives you cigarette smoke nosebleeds. Miserable, miserable.

04-15-2008, 03:40 PM
Well, this is pretty tame compared to the doozies here, but...

One night I was driving home and couldn't have been but about four hours from home. But I was so dead tired that I literally jerked myself awake a couple of times (not good on the interstate!). I decided then and there to find a room at the first motel I found.

$23 per night, with the name "American Inn," or something, along I-44 in Missouri. Probably 75 miles west of St. Louis. They took Amex.

The place reeked of cigarette smoke, had threadbare carpet, an ancient TV, and a lamp with a bare bulb exposed. No matter - I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Little Plastic Ninja
04-15-2008, 03:54 PM
Empire, Louisiana.

Can't remember the name of the hotel. I remember the toilet rocked and there were small sandcrabs under the bed and occasionally crawling across the floor. Not quite as creepy as roaches but less expected.

04-15-2008, 04:57 PM
The Hotel Pennsylvania. Yeah, just off Times Square, across from Madison Square Garden.

Broken glass on the framed picture, fraying carpets, stained curtains and wallpaper, cigarette burns in the coverlet, no hot water, and the shower curtain was black with mildew. It was really, really bad. Give me any Holiday Inn, any day.

Bambi Hassenpfeffer
04-15-2008, 06:27 PM
It's a tossup between an Econo Lodge in Newark, NJ and a Knights Inn in Cartersville, GA, both in 2005, I think.

The Knights Inn was run-of-the-mill dirty hotel -- cheap sheets, bad climate control, ugly property. But it was only $25 and it wasn't in a dangerous place. Just old and moldy.

The Econo Lodge was probably the first time I've stayed in a hotel and actually been concerned for my safety. The hotel itself was disgusting and it was in a terrible neighborhood. The room smelled, the beds were lumpy, the water had this bizarre odor and texture, and the door had about 6 locks on it. The toilet was stained gray and the bathroom floor had a little too much play in it for my tastes.

I half-jokingly told my travel companions to call their mothers and say "I love you". While they did that, I was looking under the mattresses for dead hookers and around the room for evidence of foul play.

I should have known that $45 was too cheap for a room near Newark-Liberty.

04-15-2008, 06:48 PM
I'd say it was a small hotel back in the 1980s near the Gare de Lyon in Paris. It was dirty and smelly, but it was all I could find.

04-15-2008, 06:56 PM
Mine comes with a bit of backstory.

A few years ago I was driving across the country for a summer job. I think I was about 25 years old at the time and my driving companion was my little dog Alli. My Mother was shocked that a 25 year old woman would be brave enough to take the trip by herself, but I shrugged that off. I am in the car or in a locked hotel room, what is there to be brave about?

Since I was on a budget and had a dog with me I generally went to the Mom and Pop motels and snuck the dog into the room, people charge more when there is a dog involved.

So about two days into the trip I am in a diner having breakfast chatting with the waitress and she is also shocked that I am brave enough to do this trip, but I again shrug it off.

That night I see a little motel on the edge of this city and I turn in. There is an office on one side of the strip of rooms and a decrepit house on the other. I head into the office and this ancient man comes around the corner and he is the most talkative guy I have ever met. He was going on about how only traveling salesmen come to this hotel anymore, about how things were in it's heyday, and really about anything that popped into his head. I pull out my VISA and he shakes his head. Apparently this is a cash only business... OK, I didn't have any cash on me but there was a gas station a block away with an ATM, so he asked my what room I wanted and I picked one right in the middle of the strip so that It would be away from the house and the office so it would be easier to sneak my dog in. (I didn't tell him the dog part ;) ) He starts talking about his brother that lives in the house with him, and all I want to do is go to get some cash. I finally break away from his rambling and soon return with the cash.

When I got back with the cash he had changed the room from the one I requested to one closer to the office...... Visions of the scene from Psycho when Norman hesitates when reaching for the room keys before giving her the one with the spy hole flash before my eyes.

OK I think, I will just put the chain on the doors and all will be well. It's only one night, and I have my dog, she will bark if something is up.

I get into the room and go to put the chain on the door.
There is no chain for the door.

I go to make a phone call.
There is no phone.

Oh Crap.
I am in a hotel where the only record of my being here is a tiny slip of paper that could easily be burnt with no means of talking to the outside world.

I am exhausted and the next town big enough for a hotel is hours away so I psych myself up and figure I will just nap for an hour or two and drive on. So at this point I have visions from every horror movie racing through my head and the words of my Mother and the waitress commenting on my bravery on loop as well.

I prop a chair against the door in some vain hope that it will serve as a warning just in case the 90 year old man decides to break in and watch me sleep or something and then I supplement that by balancing some bells that I had packed on the doorknob so that if it turned they would fall. I didn't bother changing clothes, still being paranoid that he is watching me through a hole in the wall and lay down on the bed. I could have lived with all that and probably slept fine, except that my dog spent the entire night growling....

She never growls.....

I left at sun up.

John DiFool
04-15-2008, 07:09 PM
Our family was on a Euro trip (my sister and I as teenagers), and we were in Paris for some sightseeing. Dad decided for us to stay in a small hotel near downtown. His first clue should have been during dinner in the nearby cafe when a prostitute hit him up with my mom sitting right there with him at the table. The room had a tiny little B & W TV, the drawers in the clothes cabinet all fell out when I pulled one out, and the bed was very lumpy (yes, one bed for all 4 of us), with one of those middle-of-the-room bathtubs. In retrospect it obviously was a hotbed for illicit activities of all sorts, but what did us naive Americans know about such things?

The worst tho was during a trip through Daytona Beach at twilight during a storm. Unable to make it home at a reasonable hour, we pulled in at the first Holiday Inn that we saw, but it was a total dive (peeling wallpaper, dirty bathroom), and made the Paris establishment look like four stars. The next morning on our way home we passed a very nice looking and posh Holiday Inn along the beachfront, only about 6 miles away from the first one. :smack:

04-15-2008, 07:24 PM
I was sent to San Diego by the Navy, I packed up my wife and son and off we went. The first night in San Diego we stayed at a nice place near the recruit depot on Rosecrans, I was familiar with the area during my short stay during training after I left boot camp. The next afternoon I looked in a phone book and saw an ad for a place downtown, only $19 a night. The place looked okay from the outside so I rented a room, the manager gave us a "nice" room on the 4th floor. The first tip this place this place wasn't so nice was the out of order sign on the elevator. When I asked I was told the elevator hadn't worked in over 10 years. As we climbed the stairs to the 4th floor the place got darker and dingier. The walls were covered with graffiti and the paint was peeling on the walls and ceilings.

When we got to our room the door was hanging wide open. I went inside and found no one. There were no sheets or blankets on the beds, no towels, or any other items you expect to find in a hotel room. I was ready to head back down stairs when a woman appeared with an arm load of stuff for the room. She did a half ass job of making the beds and used the only washcloth she brought to clean out the bathtub.

We were woke a couple of times during the night by yelling and hollering in the hall. About 4 in the morning someone knocked on the door and called for someone in Spanish. We were up and out of the place by 6am. A few months later the city of San Diego shut down the hotel.

04-15-2008, 07:54 PM
Without question, the Jayhawk Motel in Lawrence, Kansas.

Go Jayhawks! :D (Yeah, it's a dump. Luckily, I can drive right past it without stopping.)

Mine would have to be this place we stayed in Harrisburg PA during a family vacation back in the late 70's. Dad was driving and mom was looking in the guidebook for a place to stay and saw a "Holiday Inn". Well, it wasn't a real Holiday Inn, it was some dump called "The Holiday Inn". No bugs that I can recall, but very dirty and smelly. We were so glad to get the hell out of there the next morning.

04-15-2008, 08:09 PM
The winner in my case would be a joint in some tiny town in the Amazon basin in eastern Ecuador. The base manager (I work for an oilfield service company), who had driven down from Quito to pick me up when I got off the rig, announced that we had to wait for some supplies that were supposedly on their way by boat from another location downriver. This actually made no sense, and no one at the dock knew what the hell he was talking about, but we waited around all day until it got dark and it was clear that no such shipment was coming in.

At this point it was way too late to start driving back, so the base manager announces that we'll sleep in the car. Great. So I try to get some shuteye on a seat that won't recline, with a streetlight glaring in, a bunch of guys singing along with an untuned guitar in a cantina down the way, and another guy knocking on a door on a second-floor balcony across the street. This last bit goes on for, swear to God, two.frickin'.hours.

Tap Tap Tap...

(10 second delay)

Tap Tap Tap...

(10 second delay)

Tap Tap Tap...

(ad infinitum)

Seriously, what kind of idiot would stand there knocking on a door for two goddam hours?

Anyway, at this point I'm about to go insane, so I beg the base manager to find someplace, anyplace, we can flop for the night. So we drive around until we find some little dive on the outskirts of town, with just about one 60-watt bulb illuminating it. We manage to rouse the clerk, and end up booking one room, which costs the equivalent (at the time) of one US dollar. We stumble to our chamber, and in it there is:

A. One bed

B. Made of cement

C. With a straw mattress

D. infested with bedbugs, which savaged me throughout the night

E. with a bare lightbulb hanging overhead.

Didn't matter. I slept like a baby. Man, I was tired.

04-15-2008, 08:15 PM
Downtown Vancouver - smelled badly, slept on top of the blankets in my sleeping bag - and the view from the window was the courtyard where the prostitutes & junkies threw their needles and condoms.

Very scary, but better than the night in the stairwell entry to a building the day earlier.

04-15-2008, 08:51 PM
The worst I've stayed in is the Manhattan Broadway Budget Hotel, in the Garment District in NYC. I only spent one night there (I was going to a concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom and I needed somewhere to go after and sleep over before taking the train home the next day) and it cost $150 (in 2003 or so.)

For that, I got this room the size of a shoebox, with a queen bed in it that basically took up the whole room. The carpet...crinkled, like it had tissue paper under it. They only gave me two rolls of TP, and no one there spoke any English, so I had to go down to the Duane Reade and buy some myself. The water pressure in the shower was total shit and the water was lukewarm. The toilet overflowed in the middle of the night for no damn reason. The giant bed was like a concrete slab, with rock-hard buttons in it like the back of a fancy leather chair.

I was totally pissed off the next day and couldn't wait to go home.

04-15-2008, 10:11 PM
When I first moved to Atlanta in '89, I got off the bus with $20 in my pocket and didn't know a soul. So I worked day labour and slept in an ally,unless it rained. Yes this place was so bad that an ally was better.
The Falcon Hotel,$7.50 a night for half a double they would rent the other half to someone else. The floors in the halls all sag. Public bathrooms down the hall that make you want to go outside. Open crack use in the halls. One TV in the lobby in a cage. And the atendant was also in a cage and would not come out for any reason.
On the bright side,I would make money stayin' there by bootlegin' gin.

04-16-2008, 12:40 AM
I only spent one night there

They only gave me two rolls of TP, and no one there spoke any English, so I had to go down to the Duane Reade and buy some myself.

You needed more than two rolls of TP for a one-night stay? Sounds like fun...


04-16-2008, 12:52 PM
Olongapo Philippines back in 1982. I was stationed at Subic Bay naval base for a month and as a young buck I wanted to sample the local life when we got leave.

Olongapo as far I could tell, was there for the sole purpose of servicing the servicemen. I hook up with some dancer/bargirl and she knew a nice place around the corner.

I guess it could have been considered a hotel, there was someone at the front desk. As soon as we walk in, I reach for the light switch and the biggest freaking cockroach I have ever seen was clearly pissed and ready to pounce on me. I swear it had to be 10" long and was mad as hell. It must have sensed some danger when I grabbed my shoe so it scurried off under the wall.

This room was horrible, horrible green paint, no AC of course, a shitty ceiling fan that spun about as fast as the ones in Apocalypse Now. The shower was basically a garden hose which trickled water. There was a feeble looking bar of soap, which had obviously been used many times before.

Have I mentioned that the water was some sickly yellowish, murky, green color? Oh yes, and this was the bad part because I was already dehydrated from bar hopping and swilling beer at 6 pesos... which at the time translated to about a quarter a beer.

Even though I got laid that night, while keeping an eye out for the cockroach of doom, I somehow don't remember it being worth it.

04-16-2008, 09:13 PM
Budget Host, Bangor ME. We held a reservation by credit card and arrived late to find they ALMOST gave our room away to the guy in front of us! We heard the desk clerk said it was the last room available, and he didn't know if "they'd" show. I can't recall all now, but it was obvious it was OUR room! Also, the hotel was nothing but pre-fab trailers slapped together into a somewhat presentable building. Last, the sink greeted you when you opened the door to the room. It was one of those deals where the sink was separate from the bathroom, but still...everything about the place was "cheap". Not that I need the Taj, mind ya, but...! Luckily, we saw no bugs, so it could always be worse, but... - Jinx

04-16-2008, 09:44 PM
Without question, the Jayhawk Motel in Lawrence, Kansas.

Wow... just drove by it on Sunday (4/14/08) and teased my buddies in Lawrence about what a classy joint their town had in the Jayhawk Motel.

Based on what it looked like from the outside, your story doesn't surprise me at all.

Siam Sam
04-16-2008, 10:40 PM
Seedy does not necessarily entail bad. I've stayed at quite a few seedy hotels that were still good deals. Except for the real five-star places, most hotels in Thailand will have a few rooms set aside for Short Time liaisons. There's a place in Beijing we like to stay, the Fangyuan Hotel. Peeling wallpaper, grotty bathroom, the carpets in the hallways could do with a wash, but the location is perfect. And despite its rundown look, it's reasonably clean, and we've never ever seen a bug there.

04-16-2008, 11:07 PM
The Economy Motor Lodge in New Orleans. Twenty of my med school buddies and other assorted cronies stayed there during New Years Eve 2000. $55/night, even on NYE, plenty of vacancy, but we were still so collectively broke that we stayed five to a room. It's walking distance to the French Quarter, though it probably isn't a good idea.

We had two towels for each room, if by "towel" you mean "glorified dishrag with the texture of 20-grit finishing paper". We called and asked if we could have some more of them; "No," they replied.

Drug deals were happening pretty openly within sight of the room.

When we awoke on 1.1.2000, we found that none of our keycards worked. We were told it was due to the Y2K problem. That's right, we were in the only place in the universe affected by Y2K.

A few months later, some friends and I were doing a spring break tour of the South and found ourselves in NO during a huge convention of some sort. There were no hotel rooms to be found anywhere. "Oh, I know of one," I said. It was just as scary as I remembered. This led to our suggested slogan for the place--"There's always the Economy Motor Lodge."

I was watching 60 Minutes sometime after Katrina, and they showed a boat going down Tulane Avenue, going right by the EML. I felt bad, because I'm sure I said at some point that it needed a river diverted through it. Probably did it some good, though.

04-16-2008, 11:11 PM
You needed more than two rolls of TP for a one-night stay? Sounds like fun...


Hee hee. :) I forgot to mention, they were that really fluffy kind, where there's like three sheets per roll. Also, not to be gross, I do suffer from a chronic intestinal illness and need the bathroom more than most people do.

The main problem was that no one who worked there knew enough English to understand "toilet paper."

04-16-2008, 11:19 PM
Troy, Montana. I got my room key from a 10 year-old kid working the desk. When I pulled up in front of my room a bunch of teenagers peeked out of the windows of the room next door to see if I was their meth dealer. There were dirty kleenex on the floor, cigarette butts in the toilet and the comforter on the bed was an old sleeping bag, unzipped.

I put the key on the night stand and drove for an hour to find a good motel.

My workmates and I travel all over Montana and trade bad hotel stories (and warnings.) There was the hotel in Baker where the heater only worked on high. In January, I had to turn the heater on, fall asleep, wake up burning, turn the heater off, open the window, fall asleep, wake up freezing, turn the heater on, fall asleep. Repeat. Another hotel in Glasgow had a gas wall heater that would shake the room when it turned on. Someone else had a room with a crack below the door that was so big they woke up to find a three-inch high snowdrift INSIDE the door.

04-16-2008, 11:24 PM
Zeldar, that place in Sturbridge was actually rated three stars (or diamonds) by AAA. But one of the things that pissed me off most was that I was handicapped at the time and asked for handicpapped accessible. The doorsill was so far from the ground that I had to sit down on it as if it were a chair and then swing my legs into the room.

Another bad placed that I stayed was in the 1970s. But it was memorable. It was the Dundee Inn in Virginia Beach. We had to pay up front. That should have been a clue. The furniture in the room looked like it had been retrieved from a junk pile or salvage store. There was sand in the bathroom. On those rare occasions when the air conditioner worked, the room smelled like long-dead fish. Most of the time the electricity would blow when the person in the next room would turn on a hair dryer or any other 20th Century appliance. It was awful.

04-16-2008, 11:46 PM
The Rai View Hotel on Yap, a tiny island in the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Caroline Islands, was (is?) famous for its bleakness among Pacific travellers. When our turn came to stay there in 1988, I could hardly wait.

I'm happy to say it matched its reputation. Two iron cots shoved against the wall with a threadbare sheet on each, a paper-thin towel, a fungally diverse shower stall with hot and cold running rust, and a gritty linoleum floor.

The best part, though, was the view of the trash mountain out the window, consisting entirely of Budweiser beer cans.

Ah, to be young again.

04-17-2008, 12:02 AM
The Hacienda in Vegas, before they blew it up (http://www.lasvegas-nv.com/news/hacienda-hotel.htm). I'd flown into Vegas in a private plane, and the weather the night we were supposed to return got bumpy, and our pilot bagged the flight until the next day, which left us in LV during Comdex with no hotel, and the Hacienda was our sudden destination.

That place was the most threadbare, weird hotel stay I've had. It pales by far in comparison the other places described here, but it really was weird to stay in what was a major casino that had nearly faded to dust. This place was just huge, and it was all falling apart, except for the slot machines and such in the casino area.

My spouse tells me that The Hacienda was nothing compared with another LV property, "El Rancho", which was truly seedy, and her cow-orkers dubbed "El Rauncho"

04-19-2008, 05:16 PM
It's funny because I can almost guarantee I know where you're talking about. :)

For me, it was a Motel 6 outside of Blue Springs, MO. There was safety glass separating the clerk from the public, which we weren't used to seeing, and there were a number of police cars in the parking lot at the time. We could see officers rather aggressively knocking on the door of one of the rooms and shouting at the occupant(s). So I asked the clerk, "Can I ask what's going on?" And her response was, "No."

Had it not been for the fact that we'd arrived late from a long night and were in unfamiliar territory, I'm certain we'd have just left. As it was, the room was a bit skeevy, but nothing in my mind was worse than the fact that God-knows-what was going on around us in the motel.

My wife & I have always stuck to the rule: If there are flashing lights, time to move on. One night, on a cross country drive, we ran into the cops/motel three times. I drove another hour along the interstate, before finding a Motel Six.

04-19-2008, 05:35 PM
I've never stayed in a hotel that I'd really call "seedy," i.e. sketchy or obviously a haven for illicit activity of some kind. However, two hostelries spring to mind:

Years ago, when my brother and I were little, my dad drove us on one of his interminable car trips to somewhere - probably to visit our grandparents, I don't remember what this trip was about. Anyway, by and by he was completely bushed, we were in the middle of northern Ontario, and the first place to stop was some sort of lumber or construction camp. Dad somehow wangled a bedroom for the night that was in some sort of mobile structure. I remember him warning us with great severity that if at any time we had to get up to go to the bathroom, we were absolutely to wake him up and under no circumstances were we to venture out alone. I remember it scared me a little and was the first experience I can remember of realizing that something was sketchy. Actually, he was probably overreacting, but the memory is strong.

Anyway, a few years ago I was in Cdiz and the only place to stay that I could afford was this youth hostel. The price was insanely low - 9/night - the other guests were pretty friendly (we had a great little party on the nearby beach) and the food was okay. But god, the hostel sucked. The lowlights were the improperly plumbed sink in our room that reeked of sewer gas, the door to the bathroom that there was no way to secure and that banged continually because of the open skylight, and the motorcycles that roared all night along the narrow street below. Also, we couldn't get in our rooms for several hours every afternoon or after a certain hour at night.

(The only worse lodging experience I had in Spain - well, let's just say, never take a room overlooking the main plaza during the height of the local fiesta. Wasn't the hotel's fault, exactly, except to the extent that the innkeeper promised me it would be over by 1 a.m., and it went on until 5. He did willingly put me in another room when I asked, though.)

Once, soon after he moved broke and homeless to Montreal, Hamish spent the night in a sauna. I can't say that really counts as seedy, because there it's not a hotel that people are using for humping, it's a hump house that he was using as a hotel. A friend tells me that he routinely stays in saunas abroad, even though he's (faithfully) monogamous with his BF, just for the ambiance (and the view).

04-19-2008, 06:00 PM
You guys don't even know world class dives until you've stayed in Indian hostels.

For worst run I'll have to go with the Days Inn near the Philadelphia airport. Almost every hotel room door had a pile of dishes in front of it. It took us three tries to get a room with clean sheats. We went down to the cafe to get some food and it's no exageration that everyone working there was on drugs.

04-21-2008, 01:36 PM
I've lived in a few SROs. That's short for Single Room Occupancy, and the establishments thus designated are where poor people live in San Francisco. From five to seven bills a month, plus change. Four walls and a door, a sink and a bed of sorts, shower and shitter down the hall, a window which if you're lucky doesn't open onto a ventilation shaft. You get hot and cold running roaches, mice, perhaps rats and maybe even bedbugs.

The upside is, there's 24/7 free entertainment. Your neighbors are the rest of the urban poor. Drunks and dopeheads and whores and jacketjobs -- just folks; I'm one too and I ain't putting them down. But when the guy that lives right above you is known throughout the hotel as "Hollerin' Henry" and apparently juggles safes and bowling balls and big marble flowerpots when he's not cussing out the Boogerman at the top of his mighty lungs, you get an attitude pretty fast.

All of 'em are seemingly run by Gujarati immigrants who appear to hold their tenants in the utmost contempt and forget their English when there's a leak in your ceiling.

You supply your own toilet paper.

Let me see...I've lived in the Arana, the Delta, the Stratford, the St Charles, the Mentone, the Sunrise, the Crystal, the Royan, and, briefly, the Seneca. But the very grotiest was thelast one I lived in, the Baldwin (Bug Bin) House at the corner of 6th and Mission (did I just hear the other San Fran Dopers all gasp in horror simultaneously?) Not only is it a dive, but nothing works two days running; the electric used to go out for hours at a stretch.....and the damn place is haunted to boot.

04-21-2008, 02:36 PM
I'm curious - has anyone here ever actually stayed at South of the Border? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_of_the_Border_%28attraction%29)

Yes. In fact, I came into this thread specifically to mention it.

If you get one of the higher priced suites, it's not bad. Go for one of the cheaper rooms and you'll get plenty of bugs in the bathroom, but you're lucky to get dry sheets.

Eat elsewhere. The food is inedible. And expensive.

04-21-2008, 02:40 PM
The one motel in San Jon, NM, which I believe was called the San Jon Motel. I was driving from New Orleans to Flagstaff, AZ, and I had driven about 1000 miles that day. I was really tired and it was the first place I ran into.

It cost $16 (in 2001). No phone in the room, a moldy-ass shower, I didn't even look under the bed sheet. The best part is, my door got stuck. I couldn't open it from the inside, and since I had no phone to call the front desk, I had to crawl out the (one, high, small) window and drop down on the sidewalk. And the sidewalk was covered in these big, black beetles (not cockroaches, thankfully).

Of course, once I got on the road the next day, I found out that there was about 500 nicer hotels just 15 miles or so down the road.

04-21-2008, 11:30 PM
In the early eighties, my then girlfriend got it into her head in about the middle of December to go to Las Vegas for New Years' Eve. Plane tickets was no problem but finding a place to stay . . .

After a dozen calls to hotels large and small yielded nothing, I called the Las Vegas Reservations Bureau. They were very polite -- didn't even laugh, and about six hours later they called back with a place to stay for two nights, the Desert Rose Motel.

We got off the plane at McCarran, climbed into a taxi, and wondered how far it would be to the motel. Not far at all, it turned out, on the Strip a couple hundred yards south of The Frontier. It's not there any more (I don't think the Frontier is either) and was pretty seedy on that night. Not near as bad as some of the horror stories told here, but pretty well run down and frayed at the corners. After getting the key from an unfriendly clerk at the desk, we went to the room.

First thing that caught our eye was the huge mirror over the bed, which had a black coverlet on it. "Hmmm," I said, "I'll just bet--" and snapped on the television. Sure enough, it came up with a couple coupling and bad guitar music.

"I've never been in a place like this," G F said in a small voice.

"Neither have I," I said, shooting my man of the world reputation to tatters.

The heat was a switch. When it was on it was on (and worked quite well, actually); when it was off, it was off. The bathroom was about as grotty as you might expect and the whole time we were there, the hot water never got above lukewarm, not even in the middle of the day. I pictured this poor, over-worked water heater valiantly doing its best against a never-ending series of showers in that building.

The furniture was worn to the point of springs poking out and there was a lot of grime everywhere but no bugs so I suppose it wasn't near as bad as it could have been. But it's the first and only time I stayed in a place where they are surprised you want it all night.

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