How to Avoid Hotel Hell in Atlantic City
Atlantic City has been hit hard by a couple of economic slumps for the area and I’m told many of the hotels in casinos are usually at least half empty. But their struggles are nothing compared to the roadside hotels on US 40 leading into Atlantic City.
I’m writing this as a warning. I was out in New Jersey on business. The town where I was working was called May’s Landing. They had no hotels. I didn’t want to drive in the first day from Philadelphia where I’d flown into, so I looked for hotels near Atlantic City.
I found several hotels in a town called Pleasantville about 4 miles outside of Atlantic City. The rates were good and the photos of the hotels looked great on the web. I booked 2 nights in one called Destiny Inn.
When I opened the door to my room I thought I would rather be staying in Bate’s Motel. At least there the only thing I would have to worry about would be getting murdered. There was NO semblance to the pictures. None! There were holes in the walls, stains in the ceiling, the carpet was filthy and missed the walls by a couple of inches on all sides. The smell of Lysol was so strong I started gagging.
Then I opened the little mini fridge and the smell of mold took over. Walking into the bathroom (pictured above), the cabinet doors were ripped off. The mirror was shattered. The cold water didn’t work and there were no cups or glasses to drink any if it did. There was a plastic hose running from the sink into the shower to drain the sink. And we won’t even talk about what the shower looked like. Oh, and the closest food? Atlantic City.
It was too late to do anything about it. The next morning I looked at that stretch of road and noticed it was lined with similar hotels/motels… all in a state of obvious disrepair.
Once I got back in LA, I looked up the hotels in that area on various online booking sites. They all showed very nice exterior pictures that looked nothing like the condition they were in. Likewise with the one I stayed in showed nice interior and exterior pictures. I can only assume the photos were at least 20 years old!
Things I could have done to spare me this hotel hell would have been to have checked the ratings better. I was in such a hurry I didn’t pay attention. They all have the lowest possible rating. Another would have been to punch the address into Google Maps. It shows current photos of the hotel exteriors and I would have known right then how run down they have become.
The point of this post is that if you are traveling to Atlantic City, do NOT book a room in ANY of the hotels along US 40 around Pleasantville. It’s also called Black Horse Pike in that area. From what I saw in Atlantic City, similar caution needs to be used there too! A number of the hotels looked very run down. When Atlantic City isn’t drawing enough tourists to fill the luxury casinos’ hotel rooms, you know the small motels won’t have the money they need to keep them maintained.
Bottom line, if your staying in Atlantic City, book your hotel room in a well-known national chain hotel only. The national chains have a reputation to protect and will keep the level of the rooms and service up to protect their brands.
More photos after the break…