Top 10 Scariest Motels in America

Hollywood doesn’t do a great job of selling motels to us, does it? From “Psycho”  to “Vacancy“, it’s a pretty safe bet that if you check into one of those handy roadside hotels, you won’t be checking out again. You may get tortured, stabbed in the shower or find yourself floating face down in the pool, but you hand over your life with your credit card.

Real life has to be better than that, right? There have to be some motels out there that are pleasant, clean and give you a higher-than-average chance of making it through the night? Well, there may well be some but it seems like there are also some really scary ones. Cockroaches, stains and hookers…there are all in our list of the Top 10 Scariest Motels (with some help from the reviews at


10. Adobe Motel, Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara is a pleasant, picturesque resort on the Californian coast, sometimes referred to as “The American Riveria”, by the tourist board anyway. What they fail to mention is that it’s also home to a “very scary” hotel. Close to the calm and beautiful harbor (above) lies the Adobe Motel. According to some it’s OK, but one reviewer “SERIOUSLY REGRETTED MY DECISION” (sic) to stay there and said it was only OK for junkies and homeless people. Someone else agreed that the clientele seemed mainly of the drug-using persuasion and that the staff were rude. Well, who wouldn’t be when you’re dealing with junkies all day long?


9. Alpena Motel, Alpena, MI

And now to the pretty town of Alpena, close to the shores of Lake Huron. At first glance, Alpen (above) is all white, wooden houses and clean wide streets but head down Highway 23 and you’ll find the Alpena Motel, described by some as a “nice and quiet motel”. But a blogger who visited in 2010 had slightly different ideas – he said it was “Brown. Brown wood panelled walls, brown carpet, brown bed sheets, brown pictures on the walls, brown ceiling. Even the TV is brown.” That’s once you’ve scraped off the layer of dead insects the blogger talks about (possibly also brown) and wrestled with the toilet that floods the bathroom whenever it flushes.

As far as I tell, he didn’t have any problems with noise, so we can agree that it’s quiet. Whether it’s also “nice” is a matter of debate.


8. Brookhurst Plaza Inn, Anaheim, CA

A second Californian entry, and we’re close to the magic of Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth. Sadly, things aren’t so happy at the Brookhurst Plaza Inn, which one visitor described as a “dump”. It’s available to hire for conferences and events, but reviews suggest that there are a fair few “events” going on there already and some conferences between prostitutes and their clients. Opinions on the motel range from “spotless” to “filthy”, but the “filthy” lobby seem to have the louder voice. There also the odd mention of mice, bugs and the occasional unexplained white stain. But it’s close to Disneyland, so that makes the rest of not so important….right?!


7. America’s Best Value Inn, Chickasha, OK

There’s a certain beauty in simplicity and the message you get from the Yellow Pages review of this motel certainly is simple – don’t go there. The single review describes “poor upkeep and felthy bath” (sic) and drawers full of cockroaches. Meanwhile, tripadvisor reviewers don’t hold back, with tales of disgusting sheets, rotten bananas and bedbugs. That’s before you get started on the personal hygiene of the staff members. Chickasha holds an annual “Festival of Light” but this place can only be described as dark-side.


6. Knights Inn, Orlando, FL

If we learn nothing else from the “America’s Best Value” reviews, it’s that you can’t always depend on chain motels for a great experience. Knights Inn may have the motto “Every Knight. Just Right” but some reviews of their Orlando location may suggest that some Knights get it wrong. “This is a BAAAD MOTEL” (sic) shouts one review, while another paints quite the word-picture with tales of roaches (again!), drug dealers and pimps hanging about. The new manager has replied to every negative review personally, with the best intentions so it may be that it’s much improved, but the reviews certainly give a scary impression. But if nothing else has managed to send a shiver down your spine, maybe this line will:

“My husband did have a gun with us and I for once thought it was a good idea.”

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