Californian blogger and journalist Mat Honan recently visited Travelodge Portland City Center in Portland, Ore.
First, few—if any—of the listed amenities were actually there.
The safe was broke. The Wi-Fi wasn't working. There was no promised fitness room. No tennis. No spa.
The microwave oven had a hole in the glass on the door. The A/C didn't work. The wiring on the lamp was duct-taped together. The shower curtain rod was jerry-rigged.
And then it got worse:
My wife was the one who discovered the blood on the door of the bathroom. Whose blood? Why was it there? We can't say! ...The bloodstain wasn't too far from the imprint where the towel-holder-thingie had been ripped off of the door and not only not-replaced, but left exactly as is. Not painted over, sanded, cleaned up, or anything.
But that's not all!
The Karaoke bar rocks until about 2:30 in the morning, at which time all the drunks pile back up into the hotel and begin pounding on the doors until 4 am....
On night two: As I attempted to close the heavy curtain, to block out the exceptionally bright light on the porch, it fell. It made a loud sound, like ZWOP!, and then came tumbling down to the floor, held in place by one lonely fastener. I could have called the front desk to fix this, but I had learned my lesson, and so just slept with it as is. Or tried to sleep, since it's hard to sleep when someone's shining an interrogation light in your face, which is what it felt like.
Now, I was only able to confirm that there is a karaoke bar but no fitness center when I called the property and spoke with a clerk who answered the phone at the front desk. And, maybe it was just a freak event. I've certainly stayed in other Travelodges from New Jersey to Northern Ireland, and found they were clean and good values. So this may be an isolated case for this location. But the lesson does seem to be: Cross-check those hotel reviews, before you book at a two-star or lower place. For example, TripAdvisor readers have given this place very sour reviews. (Read for yourself.) At the same time, Mat's review was in the top dozen search results when I used Google to search on the phrase "Travelodge Portland City Center." And that's the good news--the Internet helps customers level the playing field.
Got a story of your own from any hotel or motel nationwide? Feel free to share.