The World’s Worst Motels

What’s the worst motel you’ve ever stayed in? Was it bad? Was it really bad? Do you think it reached the level of “The World’s Worst Motel”? I’ve stayed in some pretty cheap and funky places in my travels, but two establishments stood out from all the others – and I don’t mean that in a good way. They were far beyond “cheap motel” bad, with thin walls and a little mildew in the shower, and were so far removed from the others that there was no possible contender for the Third Worst Motel. In thirty years, nothing has come close as being as bad as these two, and so here I present “The World’s Worst Motels.”

World’s 2nd Worst Motel: New York Inn

765 8th Ave, New York, NY

"Basic Human Needs" [Hotel, Restaurant, and Adult Entertainment Store in New York City, New York]

I wasn’t expecting much out of the New York Inn – after all, I had picked the cheapest place on Hotels.com within a mile of Penn Station that specifically said the rooms had their own bathroom. One review stated: “This is a good place to take a hooker for an hour,” but how bad could it really be? It was a couple of blocks from Times Square and it was “only” about $350 per night so I knew it wouldn’t be the Ritz. But it would have a bed and a bathroom, and that’s all I really needed for two nights in Manhattan.

You can tell you’re in the classy part of town when you’re upstairs from a Subway restaurant that’s right next door to a porno shop complete with a live peep show. Sandwiched between the Subway and the peep show was the little door under a sign that announced that this was the New York Inn. The lobby was hardly more than a hallway with a check-in desk. I got a room on the second floor because it supposedly was in range of the wireless Internet connection. Once checked in, I started up one of the narrowest flights of stairs I’ve ever been on. I don’t think it was six inches wider than I was, and it moved when I moved.

The room was worse than anything my brain could have conjured up. The first thing I noticed when I opened the door marked “206” was that the room was tiny. The double bed was up against one wall with about a 16 inch space between it and the other wall so you could at least get on it from the side. There was just enough room at the foot of the bed for the front door to open, and a tiny table. Mouse traps were tucked in the corners by the bed and behind the table, and the wallpaper was falling off the walls. The in-room bathroom – the reason I selected the New York Inn over other hotels – was a tiny box with just enough room for the shower stall, a sink, and the toilet. The door opened into the room, and it was impossible to have both the bathroom and front door open simultaneously.

So here’s the video. Parents are cautioned: Strong language written and spoken.


Since I stayed at the New York Inn in 2007 it has become the City Rooms NYC Times Square. Let’s hope they wallpapered and got all the mice.

World’s Worst Motel: Mayfair Motel

1352 2nd St, Inyokern, CA

The World's Worst Motel [Mayfield Motel - Inyokern, California]

I never thought I’d do worse than the New York Inn, but later that same year I was proven wrong.

One summer day, I jumped in the Jeep and headed to the desert on eastern side of the Sierra Mountains. I’d really only planned to get as far as Bakersfield, but my plans fell through and I decided to just keep on going over the mountain. I didn’t plan on staying, but as it got later and I couldn’t find a gas station, I had no choice. I didn’t know the area at all, and so with the sun going down and my gas gauge on empty, I rolled into Inyokern, California.

There was one motel in town: the Mayfair Motel. I recall I was met in the office by a somewhat grumpy gentleman. I don’t know if he really expected a guest as it looked like most of the rooms had more permanent residents, but I soon had my key and was on my way to the room. At the only motel in town. In a town with no gas station. And so I opened the door, and I was greeted by a sight like none other. The walls were yellow, the floor was disgustingly soiled. And by soiled I mean with actual soil – dirt and rocks. I can’t imagine a worse motel…anywhere. Even in Northern Afghanistan, because at least in Afghanistan you’d EXPECT the motel to be less than ideal. So by virtue of this place being in California AND being this bad, I proclaim it “The World’s Worst Motel.”


I stayed at the Mayfair Motel in 2007 and it has since been renovated. I hope that renovation involved a wrecking ball, and can only hope that it now has hot water.

And there you have it. Do you have a contender for the world’s worst motel? Tell me about it below.

One comment

  1. KJ

    Months before leaving for Hawaii, I made reservations for 2 weeks at the YMCA, Honolulu. One week before I was to arrive, I called and they confirmed my reservations. However, when I got there, they asked me to wait. An hour later, I was told that there was an error made and no rooms were available after all. I was flabbergasted explaining that I had no where to sleep after a very long day of traveling. To their credit, management approved my sleeping in a room under repair. They had me wait another 5 hours while they “cleared the room and placed sheets on the bed.” It was dark by the time I was allowed access to this little room above the pool pump where a motor whined through the night. The lights didn’t work, the phone didn’t work and everything I touched was sticky. Although it was very dark, I wanted to take a shower and go to bed but there wasn’t any hot water. I decided to just go to bed but as I made my way there, something crunched under my feet. With the morning light, I could finally see exactly where I was. I’d been sleeping on old, torn bedding and I could see that I was not alone. About a dozen cockroaches, some dead, some alive had been my roommates. The room was filthy, the walls falling apart. Perhaps it was better than a park bench, but not by much. I left that morning and never returned.

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