I've managed to get through all my more-than-I-care-to-mention years with no real problems with hotels. I've been in a few that were shabbier than I might have liked, but I never left one until I saw the EconoLodge on Boundary Street in Beaufort, South Carolina. Ironically, the photos we had seen online were streaming on a small screen in the lobby. They actually show you the glaring contrast between the online photos and reality.
I hadn't even reached the room when I was having serious doubts about the cleanliness of the place. As it turned out the room was dirty, had a serious musty odor, outrageously loud air conditioner, and a slit of daylight that reached at least an inch under the door. Vermin could have stood up proudly and walked right in. With the conditions I had seen outside the room, vermin were a strong possibility.
I will tolerate a lot, but it was either sleep in the car or find another hotel. We couldn't get a refund, but decided we'd deal with it at a corporate level later. Corporate response: We'll let you know within 72 hours. Seventy-two hours later: We've turned it over to the place that turned you down for a refund.
Was that enough abuse? No. On the way home we stopped at the Holiday Inn Express on Boydton Plank Road in Petersburg, Virginia. It was a nice place. We were happy with it. However, we arrived home to find a bill for a pillow we've been accused to STEALING from the Holiday Inn! I don't know if a pillow was missing when we arrived. Being a bit OCD about symmetry, though, I think I would have noticed an uneven number. I've never thought to count hotel pillows on arrival. The only thing I'm sure of is that we don't even take the free toiletries from hotels let alone pillows.
The charge for the pillow is $25. We stayed at a total of four hotels on this trip. Not once do I recall thinking, "Wow, these pillows are great!" In fact, I do recall thinking that hotel pillows kinda suck and I missed my own. My pillows didn't cost me $25. Holiday Inn corporate response: the manager--who has never gotten back to us as mentioned in our email to corporate office--will get back to us.
Sorry to be whiny, but I had to vent. Yeah, I know, we need to start staying at better hotels.