Reasons to reject your hotel room: Noise, unsanitary conditions, more

An overpowering smell of stale urine greeted Chris Emery when he checked into a chain hotel in southwestern Virginia. But he was so tired after an all-day drive that he did what most travelers would do: Instead of rejecting his hotel room, he opened a window, hoping the smell was just temporary. It wasn’t. 

“I went to the front desk and let the clerk know about the problem,” says Emery, who publishes an outdoor travel site. “Instead of immediately offering us a new room, the employee reached behind the counter and put cans of room deodorizer and Febreze on the counter. I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to say.”

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That triggered a debate in Emery’s family that is happening more often lately. The pandemic hit the lodging industry hard, leaving many hotels in desperate need of a renovation. But when do you say “no” to a hotel room? What do you do afterward? And, is there a way to avoid a hotel with a room that you would reject?