London newspaper The Telegraph recently published an expose of budget hotels that is revolting and scary. A British consumer watchdog group did a survey of the five most popular budget chains, including some familiar names: Travelodge, Premier Inn, Jurys Inn, Ibis and Comfort Inn.
While some of the hotels were simple, free of frills and mercifully clean, others were straight out of a travel horror movie: mold on mattresses, blood stains on the bedding, and feces on toilet seats. This is in addition to your baseline grime and toenails in the carpet.
We can try to write this off as “just something that happens in the U.K.” but the scary truth is that if it happens there, it can happen here, too.
Sure, budget hotels are inexpensive for a reason — they don’t offer the amenities of luxury hotels. But wifi is amenity, clean sheets are a minimum expectation!
Unlike the rest of the travel industry, which is experiencing a slow down along with the global economy, budget hotels are actually seeing business increase. It seems that travelers are willing to cut corners on lodging, but I’m positive that standards will never be so low that filth is acceptable.
This is why it’s so important to do your research before you. Check to see what kind of experience other travelers have had before you book. And if you arrive and your room is in any way unacceptable, call the manager. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets fresh towels!
Photo: kbaird on flickr