Thanx to my buddy, Al Kern of Iowa Public Radio, who sent me this link of photographs people had taken of horrendous hotel rooms they've encountered in their travels:
There are truly some bad ones shown in there. Thankfully, I've never really run across any room as bad as those shown on the web site.
We've stayed in hotel rooms that truly stunk - the Travelodge in West Lafayette, IN (now closed, thankfully) is one that sticks in my mind. The smell of mold was unbelievable. We thought about calling the local health department.
The Super 8 non-smoking room we stayed at in Ann Arbor, MI one time smelled like they'd had a bachelor's party in there the night before complete with cigars. When we went to ask to change rooms, the desk clerk informed us there were no other rooms to have.
Oh, and the room we spent a night in at a Hampton Inn in Omaha (also since closed down) smelled like someone had gotten sick on the floor and they had done a crappy job of cleaning it up. Cindy couldn't sleep that night because the smell was nauseating. And, of course, we couldn't get another room there, either as they were all booked up.
In each instance, we couldn't have changed hotel rooms because the other hotels were booked solid in the area. The first two examples were during Iowa football trips (to Purdue and Michigan, respectively); and the other time, it was late and I wasn't about to go look for another hotel at midnight.
I've stayed in some rooms that were downright tired, but nothing of the order of broken plumbing or exposed electrical work, door locks that didn't work or just completely nasty bathrooms (like the one on the right). Most of the places my company lets me stay at are well above the level of what the other rooms have been in the past.
But, Cindy will never let me forget the night we stayed in a Ramada Inn in Berkeley, CA (now ALSO closed - see a trend?). She was just downright scared. The room wasn't that bad, but she was worried about the neighborhood, especially since the hotel corridors were all exposed and had no security doors to keep the "ne'er-do-wells" out of the halls. We made it through the night, but she's never let me hear the end of it.
Since then, we'll spend the extra $20 to $30 a night and stay at a nicer place...