9 Hotel Red Flags You Can't Afford To Ignore

Hotel Red Flags

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Hotel Red Flags
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Hotel Horrors

You need to keep your wits about you any time you check into a new hotel. With AI-generated content flooding the online world, it’s not at all far-fetched to suggest the possibility that the reviews of various hotels in the competitive hospitality industry could include misleading jargon. No, the robots aren’t going to lose any sleep overnight about whether or not they led you down the wrong dusty road to the hotel that ended up being a scrapbook of miserable memories. 

It’s wild how much a bad hotel experience can detract from your ability to enjoy a paradisal location. So, take note of these instant red flags you can’t afford to ignore in hotels. You’ll spare yourself the financial and emotional troubles that could’ve arisen further on down the road. 

Reed Diffuser In High End Luxury Room

1. Aggressive Air Fresheners

Look, it’s all good and well to make the extra effort to ensure that your guests are greeted both by a kind receptionist and calming aromatics, but there’s a definite line that can be crossed. When it seems like the hotel’s air fresheners have something to prove and it borderline stings your eyes, it’s time to keep it moving. This not so surprisingly can mean that they’re trying their best to cover up some nasty smells

Magnifying glass detecting bed bugs on mattress

2. Suspicious Small Dark Brown Spots

This is crucial. If you ever spot any little dark-brown spots near the top of your bed, below the mattress, or in the mattress seams, this could mean bedbugs. To add to this, if you find yourself with a scratchy throat and/or itchy eyes when you get into your hotel room, there’s a strong likelihood that the hotel is handling a bedbug infestation. You should head out unless you’d like to stick around for the fireworks.

Pro tip: There is a website called Bedbugregistry.com that you can check before you book your hotel. This site stays up to date with any and all bedbug complaints from hotels spread across the country.

Related: These Are the Nation's Most Bedbug-Infested Cities

Sheets of Tempered Window Glass

3. Bulletproof Glass Around the Reception Area

This pretty much speaks for itself. Unless you confirm with the receptionist that the bulletproof glass is there purely for novelty effect, then it is high time to pivot your way right on out of there.

Technician is checking air conditioner ,measuring equipment for filling air conditioners.
A stockphoto/istockphoto

4. Poor Ventilation Upon Entrance

The easiest way to determine if you’re dealing with an instance of poor ventilation is if you can smell a pool or hot tub in the reception area that isn’t actually anywhere near the reception area. You can safely assume that the unpleasant smell of chlorine will pale in comparison to other potentially sewage-themed smells.

Related: Amazing Hotel Pools Across America

Cropped shot of young bellboy in uniform holding by metallic handles of cart

5. Noticeably Young Hotel Employees

This particular red flag applies to the larger hotels out there. If you notice that there’s a prevalence of very young hotel employees (think early 20s) this could mean that whoever is in charge of managing the hotel is only hiring the cheapest possible labor. It’s not too crazy to therefore assume that whatever customer service is being provided, is being done so with a bare-minimum mentality.

entrance of luxury hotel

6. No Interior Hotel Pics Online

As you do your due diligence online by poking around a hotel's gallery of photos, you’ll want to make sure that the pictures you do find aren’t all right out of a stock photos catalog. If you can’t find any pictures of the interior of the hotel, this could mean that it has something to hide.

Related: Hotels With Spectacular Views Across America

Reviews from dissatisfied customers choosing low-quality 1-star reviews. on the virtual screen
Suchat longthara/istockphoto

7. Hostile Hotel Manager Goes After Negative Reviews

There’s a fine line between a hotel manager who takes the time to respond to online guest reviews with professionalism and a hotel manager who cannot bear the blows to their egos delivered via honest yet negative reviews. Nobody wants to stay in a hotel with a maniacal manager who hasn’t figured out how to respond to the more critical among its guests.

Old or Obsolete Break Hotel Sign

8. Lots of Loitering

It’s all well and good to show kindness to your neighbors if you cross paths when walking to your hotel room. But if you see groups of people just hanging outside of their rooms at all hours of the day and night, this could suggest that there is more sketchy activity afoot than meets the eye.

Dirty bed in the hotel. Dirty bed pillow blanket room.
Igor Vershinsky/istockphoto

9. Body Hairs In The Sheets

The point of a room turnover is to provide a thorough cleaning. You shouldn’t spot any hairs in/around the bathtub/shower as well as in your sheets. This is a strong signal that the sheets might not have been laundered and changed. You’ll want to report that to the front desk as soon as possible if you’re still committed to staying at the hotel.

Next up: What It Costs To Stay at the Nation’s Best Hotels