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TripAdvisor names dirtiest hotels

By A. Pawlowski, CNN
  • TripAdvisor names what it calls the dirtiest hotels in America
  • The annual list is based on cleanliness ratings that travelers leave on the website
  • Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, tops the list
  • Hotel: Findings are a "startling and unsettling issue" that the company is taking very seriously
  • Hotels
  • TripAdvisor LLC

(CNN) -- The top 10 list that hotels want to avoid at all costs is once again grossing out travelers and prompting outrage from some of the properties on it.

TripAdvisor on Tuesday named what it calls the dirtiest hotels in America, with the unenviable top stop this year going to The Grand Resort Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Out of 224 reviews on TripAdvisor, 161 people ranked the hotel as "terrible" and 87 percent recommended against staying there.

The list can help travelers avoid making a mistake when they're booking their next hotel, said TripAdvisor spokesman Brooke Ferencsik.

"I do think it's surprising that there are properties that still aren't making the grade on what most travelers would consider acceptable levels of cleanliness and hygiene," Ferencsik said. "They clearly need to clean up their act."

TripAdvisor's list is based on traveler reviews rating hotel cleanliness on a scale of 1 to 5. The top 10 dirtiest hotels in the U.S. had the lowest cleanliness ratings on TripAdvisor, the company says.

But many hoteliers say its unfair to use anonymous reviews to come up with such rankings.

Here are the top three hotels on TripAdvisor's list, along with the responses from the managers.

1. Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Sample TripAdvisor comment: "If you are looking for a hotel with chewing tobacco spit oozing down the halls and corridors; spiders actively making webs in every corner of your room; carpeting so greasy and dirty you wouldn't want to sit your luggage down - let alone walk around barefoot...... by all means, stay at The Grand Resort."

In a statement, the hotel said TripAdvisor's findings are a "startling and unsettling issue" that the company is taking very seriously. The hotel added that it has recently come under new management.

"The Grand Resort Hotel Group has already begun taking the steps necessary to restore this once great property, which has played host to tens of thousands of satisfied customers every year for its 30 years of existence," the statement says.

2. Jack London Inn - Oakland, California

CEO of dirtiest hotel: We had problems

Sample TripAdvisor comment: "The rooms displayed a level of filth and discomfort that mere neglect could never produce. The parking lot resembled a post apocalyptic junk yard. The halls reeked of cigarette smoke, body odor, and failure."

No one answered the phone at the hotel at midmorning Tuesday, but in a statement issued to ABC news, the managers said that maintenance issues for the hotel have been addressed and a detailed renovation has begun and will continue through 2011.

"Describing the hotel as 'the dirtiest hotel in America' is highly subjective and a gross exaggeration created from the reviews from some, anonymous disgruntled guests," the statement says.

TripAdvisor counters that hoteliers always have the option of posting a management response to any review on their property.

3. Desert Inn Resort - Daytona Beach, Florida

Sample TripAdvisor comment: "The ceiling was peeling, the walls were cracked, there were cigarette burns throughout the room, the Jacuzzi tub did not look clean, the bed was not a pillow top as advertised and very hard, I located a few small bugs on the box spring, some of the wood was rotten in the bathroom, and the balcony was littered with old cigarette butts."

In a statement, the hotel said it has spent an enormous amount of money in the last few years installing new flooring, furniture and other items, and added that most of its customers are either repeat or referral guests.

"TripAdvisor has remarks that can be placed by anyone," the hotel says. "We believe over 70 percent of the reviews are falsified due to the fact their description of the hotel does not match the Desert Inn."

TripAdvisor counters that it takes the authenticity of its reviews very seriously and uses various methods to screen the "legitimacy of the content" on the site. It asks property owners who have an issue with a traveler review to contact the company for a full investigation.

For the full list of TripAdvisor's dirtiest hotels, visit