When you’re traveling and on the road, being able to sink into a clean and freshly made bed is one of the best feelings ever. A hotel room is your home away from home, and in some aspects, it is even better. For one thing, you don’t need to clean. Why bother making the bed and picking up your towels when you know that they’ll already be done for you when you return? Another thing: room service. Maybe you’ve had a long day of sightseeing or meetings, and you’re too tired to go out and get a bite to eat. No worries, pick up the phone and dial in some room service. The most work you’ll have to do is get up to open the door to let the staff in.
A good hotel is crucial to making a vacation feel like an actual vacation. Then there are …those hotels. You all already know which ones we mean. The ones with the sticky carpets, ugly and outdated floral comforters, and sharp smells of harsh cleaners that permeate everything in the room. These are the hotels that you take when you’re looking for a cheap place to stay for a night or two. We’ve all been there, just thinking about them makes us want to take a shower. That being said, here are 10 absolute best hotel chains in the world and 10 to stay away from.
20 Absolute Best - JW Marriott
The JW Marriott is an iconic hotel chain, and its name is recognized everywhere. It has hotels all over the world and is a huge favorite with travelers. They’ve even got a fantastic rewards system with their Marriott Rewards card that lets people rack up points that can lead to upgrades and free stays.
People love this chain because of their dedication to cleanliness and service.
In addition, the chain has fantastic amenities including spas and delicious fine dining opportunities. Even better is that the price for their rooms is not unreasonable and there are also bargain prices on websites such as Expedia.
19 Stay Away From - Clarion Inn
The Clarion Inn seems to primarily be a hit or miss with the tendency to lean towards a miss. Being owned by an international chain, you would expect a better quality place to sleep. There have been several complaints about mold in the bathrooms – more than one person has complained about this. There have also been a lot of noise complaints, the smell of cigarettes, and strange smells in the room. It seems that trying to adjust reservations or cancel them also generally ends up with the guest losing money. Considering the average price for a room at this chain, there are definitely better options to stay at than at this hotel.
18 Absolute Best - Hilton Hotel
When this hotel first opened in 1925, it didn’t have plans to become the first international hotel chain. Today, the Hilton is one of the largest hotel chains in the world. They have a hotel in almost every country. Some of the best-ranked Hiltons are the Hilton London Kensington, Hilton Berlin, Hilton Tel Aviv, and Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort. These hotels all have the same thing in common; they offer great food, comfortable rooms, and amazing amenities. This chain is extremely popular with people on business trips (charge to the business expense), and companies often have meetings and events there.
17 Stay Away From - Super 8
The Super 8 hotels look like the set of a scene from an episode of Law and Order. People who have stayed in their rooms constantly complain about unhelpful receptionists that seem more focused on their own phones than the guests' needs. Our skins are crawling when we look at the hotel’s cleanliness issues. People have complained about burns on their blankets, bugs all over the room, and hairs found stuck in the towels. If there is one thing that a hotel should never compromise on – it’s cleanliness. This hotel chain has one of the lowest ratings we’ve seen, so we’re going to take a hard pass at it.
16 Absolute Best - Hyatt Hotel
The Hyatt is one of our favorites because they generally have a fantastic staff that is ready to help their guests.
The hotels are also usually in fantastic locations that provide easy access to the city that you are visiting or provide gorgeous views if you’re in a seaside area.
Not only are the hotels a popular choice for vacationers, but they’re also popular venue sites for weddings and large events. They have a great rewards program that gives frequent guests free nights or stays in upgraded suits. If you reach Diamond Level, you’ll usually be greeted by name, and your rooms are tailored to your taste. This is a hotel chain that pays attention to its guests!
15 Stay Away From - Motel 6
If there was only one room available and it was at a Motel 6, we still wouldn’t stay in it. The ratings for this hotel are absolutely abysmal. One of the worst stories we heard about this place is how a woman and her children contracted lice after staying in one of their rooms. In fact, issues with bugs seem to be a common problem, as many more people have complained of fruit flies and cockroaches. It also appears as though working toilets seem to be a scarcity at this chain. Some people have even complained that the hotel doesn’t even provide them with soap and shampoos!
14 Absolute Best - Crowne Plaza
The Crowne Plaza hotels are primarily geared towards business travelers. They have extensive meeting rooms with high-speed internet access and full-service business centers. Vacationers also enjoy staying at the Plaza too, though. They’re usually in great locations in the city center, so everything is close-by. Most of the hotels have an in-house restaurant which is great for businessmen and leisure travelers.
People who can’t go a day without hitting the gym will also enjoy the fitness centers that the hotels also provide. The hotel is so focused on their customer service that if your wake-up call is late, your room is free!
13 Stay Away From - Days Inn
We really only have one word to say – bedbugs. We went through countless reviews that complained of bedbug infestations. For a hotel, this is one of the (if not THE) worst things to happen to a hotel. Aside from bedbugs, people have also complained of fleas and cockroaches. That is a big no in our book. The overwhelming amount of one-starred reviews leaves a rather bad taste in our mouths. People had also complained that reservations are often canceled, or the rooms that they booked were not what they were given when they arrived.
12 Absolute Best - AC Hotel
The AC Hotel chain is owned by Marriott International and only started showing up in North America in about 2014. They’ve quickly become popular with their elegant designs and comfortable rooms. One of the first ones to open was the Atlanta branch. People love the location because it is set just outside of the business center and is close to several of Atlanta’s major attractions. The chain is also known for luxury rooms that have excellent showers, TVs that include HBO and Netflix, and a delicious complimentary breakfast selection.
The chain has received excellent reviews that praise the staff and fantastic amenities.
11 Stay Away From - Econo Lodge
The first few reviews that we pulled up for this chain are complaints that the hotels did not honor several people’s reservations that had been made through a third-party. Apparently, this hotel claims that they are allowed to cancel the reservations that people make through online travel companies because they receive less money from those that book directly with them. So if a person calls the hotel to book a room and they are full, the hotel can cancel the reservation that someone else made through a site such as Travelocity or Expedia, and sell the room to the other person. We’re not a fan of this policy, and thus we’re not a fan of this hotel.
10 Absolute Best - DoubleTree Hotel
There are over 500 DoubleTree hotels in 40 countries today, and
in every single hotel, you’ll be greeted in the same way – with a warm chocolate chip cookie. This has been a tradition of this chain since 1986, and we are not complaining at all!
We also love that each room at DoubleTree comes with complimentary gourmet coffee and teas. However, the biggest reason why we love this chain is because of their amazing mattresses. DoubleTree prides itself on stocking every room with a Sweet Dreams bed, and they are some of the most comfortable beds we’ve ever slept in. Another awesome bonus is that since DoubleTree is a part of the Hilton Worldwide, you can include it in your Hilton rewards program.
9 Stay Away From - America’s Best Value Inn
The name of this chain may be ‘America’s Best Value Inn,’ but according to its reviews, it is anything but.
This chain has actually received the lowest score on Consumer Reports and some pretty terrible reviews.
We’ve read a few of them and... yikes. A large number of reviews complained about the terrible state of the hotel. Issues include broken faucets, inoperable microwaves, flooded toilets, and faulty air conditioners, to name a few. Also, from the sound of things, the rooms at this chain are absolutely filthy! We’re talking about mold in the bathrooms and bugs everywhere. One person has even said that you’d be better off pitching a tent than staying in one of these rooms.
8 Absolute Best - Ritz-Carlton
Of course, we had to throw in a few luxury hotels for our ‘best hotel chains’ list. Even more obvious is us having to include the iconic Ritz-Carlton hotels. The term ‘ritzy’ is even coined from this famous chain. When you search the web for ‘best hotels’ the Ritz is usually always on the list somewhere, if not at the top.
There are around 100 Ritz Carlton hotels around the world, and they all boast 24-hour room service, decadent décor, fine dining, and twice-daily housekeeping.
All this attention to detail does not come cheap, though! Luckily, if you’re in the Marriott Rewards program and accrue a lot of points, you can redeem them at the Carlton properties! There’s hope for us all!
7 Stay Away From - Microtel Inn
For some odd reason, this chain apparently refuses to clean rooms after 2pm. At least that’s what a report says. The same guest claims that they called the health department on the hotel and they sent someone to take a look. The inspector found traces of mites, lice, and human feces throughout the room. His advice to the guest? “Wash all your clothes.” Ew. Another person with a service dog was forced to stay in a partially demolished room from a previous animal because the hotel refused to let him stay in any other room. For a hotel chain that is owned by Wyndham – a usually reputable hotel chain – we’re pretty appalled that they run such places.
6 Absolute Best - St. Regis
This hotel chain is constantly topping the lists of luxury lines, and we would love to stay at one of their places. We’d just have to sell one of our kidneys first, though. Each St. Regis is located in a prime location that all vacationers adore. From the Maldives to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue to Paris, we’d be happy with any of their 40 locations. One of St. Regis’ long-standing traditions is their butler service and it has become their signature.
This means that every guest is assured of having personalized service. The butler assigned to you will do everything from unpacking your clothes to hunting down your favorite brand of coffee.
We’ve officially put the St. Regis on our bucket list!
5 Stay Away From - Quality Inn
Well, word of advice, never judge a hotel by its name. According to its one and a half star rating, people do NOT think that the Quality Inn chain is a quality hotel. Reviews contained the words rude, horrible, and nasty. We don’t know about you, but those reviews aren’t really tempting us to stay. We’re not really a fan of staying at places that apparently “reek of mold.” Those that decided they could not stand to spend the night at these rooms encountered even more trouble when they attempted to leave. The hotels were extremely reluctant to refund any of the guest’s money and forced them to jump through various hoops to only get a fraction of their money back.
4 Absolute Best - Four Seasons
The Four Seasons have been synonymous with luxury for over 50 years. With over 100 properties in countries all over the world, this hotel chain is a favorite for business and luxury travelers. One of the hotel’s favorite aesthetic is to design their hotel to reflect the location it’s set in – which makes each hotel beautifully unique. Guests who have stayed at their hotels rave about the extraordinary rooms, helpful staff, and stunning views. According to some of their reviews, a stay at the Four Seasons is an ‘experience.’ Well, that’s one experience we’d love to try. Maybe when we win the lottery!
3 Stay Away From - Red Roof Inn
On the bright side, the Red Roof Inn received some decent reviews about their check-in process. Apparently, it is quick and efficient. However, when we went to look at the reviews, we found mostly people angry at the rude customer service. On the other hand, they received negative reviews in all the other categories. Not a good sign. People are upset over the cramped bathrooms, broken plumbing, and unsavory people that hang around the area. One review complained about the “bugs splattered on the walls.” Well, at least it isn’t somebody’s blood... although it would have matched their iconic roofs!
2 Absolute Best - Belmond Hotels
The Belmond Hotels were originally the Orient-Express Hotels & Resorts before they were bought out. There are 32 properties across five continents, and they all provide lavish amenities.
Guests adore the aromatherapy turndown service, deep bathtubs, and plush beds that the hotel provides. The hotel also goes above and beyond by supplying adventure packages such as “train tours through Europe, wildlife safaris in Africa, and guided explorations of South America.”
The hotel provides attentive and friendly staff, the locations are in fantastic places, and each stay makes every vacation better. The hotels even take the time to respond to their reviews which is always a sign that they care for all of their guests.
1 Stay Away From - Ramada Inns
According to the JD Power Survey (a survey that measures guest’s satisfaction in hotels), the Ramada Inns received a “worse than the rest” in all of the categories. These include check-in/check-out processes, rooms, food & beverages, services, facilities, and cost. To be honest, it is pretty impressive that the hotel was able to score such low marks across the board. The reviews that were left behind were from angry and dissatisfied guests that vowed to never stay at this chain again. It is a shame that this hotel is so terrible because it is also a subsidiary of the Wyndham hotels, which reflects poorly on the rest of their properties.