And now, TripAdvisor.com is out with a list of the ten dirtiest in the nation, based on reviews and pictures from guests.
1. Heritage Marina Hotel, San Francisco, California
2. Days Inn Eureka/Six Flags, Eureka, Missouri
3. Tropicana Resort Hotel, Virginia Beach, Virginia
4. Super 8 Virginia Beach/At the Ocean, Virginia Beach, Virginia
5. Quality Inn, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
6. New York Inn, New York, New York
7. Parisian Hotel & Suites, Miami Beach, Florida
8. Capistrano Seaside Inn, Capistrano Beach, California
9. Desert Lodge, Palm Springs, California
10. Continental Oceanfront Hotel South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida
On "The Early Show" Thursday, CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg took a look at three of them, then offered advice on how to tell if a room you book is dirty, how to make it cleaner, and what to do if it's a lost cause.
New York Inn, New York, N.Y.
There is dust and rust everywhere in the room featured in Trip Advisor. This is a serious health risk and a nightmare to walk into. There is rust and dirt by the vents (which they might have been trying to cover up with curtains) and there's a dust-covered vent -- something you may not notice at first, but a major safety infraction.
Continental Oceanfront Hotel South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla.
There is terrible water damage in this hotel -- mold, peeling paint, cracked walls. You really need to consider that when you're in a place like Miami Beach -- the heat and water in the air must really be taken into consideration -- you don't want to end up in a bacteria haven like this place.
Heritage Marina Hotel, San Francisco
Brown stains on a mattress can be water damage or tell-tale signs of bed bugs.
What are the dirtiest things most people encounter in their hotels, and how do we sort of "sterilize" the rooms to protect ourselves?
This is what you do, in order, from the moment you enter your hotel room:
CLEAN THE TV REMOTE AND PHONE: You may not realize what the SINGLE DIRTIEST item in your hotel room is but -- go directly to the one item in the bedroom that has the highest levels of bacteria, the TV remote control unit. Wipe it off thoroughly. Next up, the telephone handset, especially the mouthpiece.
CHUCK THE BEDSPREAD: Walk over to the bedspread, lift it off the bed, throw it in the corner, never touch it again. Many hotels still only clean those bedspreads intermittently.
RINSE OUT THE GLASSES: Go into the bathroom -- and the culprit here is not what you think. It's not the sink, or the toilet or the bathtub. It's the -- water glasses! Here's how this is a problem: Most hotel maids are tasked with cleaning up to 15 or 16 rooms in any given eight-hour shift. That's a lot of rooms. And usually, by the time they get to the 12th room, they're short on time and some of them start cutting corners. And what happens? They get to those glasses and don't replace them. Instead, they quickly run them under cold water and replace them. Can you say eeeeeeeeeesh? My solution? Simple: Without hesitation, whenever you walk into a hotel bathroom, the first thing you do is take the water glasses and run them under hot water for two minutes, and you'll be OK
CHECK THE MATTRESS: Lift up the mattress and search between the mattress and the box spring. If you see little brown streaks, that means there are - bed bugs. Move.
If you walk into a hotel room, and it is gross, what do you do? Is there a group to report it to? To ensure you get refunded or that no one else books that room?
Easy answer: Always pay with a credit card. Remember: If you don't receive the goods or services you contracted for, you can always dispute the charges. Trip Advisor is also a great forum, and you could write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll investigate, as well.