Got $180mm? The Dirtiest Hotel in America is For Sale (and How to Actually Benefit from TripAdvisor Reviews)

The ‘dirtiest hotel in America’ is for sale. It’s expected to fetch $180 million.

The Hotel Carter is on West 43rd St off Times Square.

“It’s the dirtiest, and best located hotel in New York City,” Lawrence Wolfe, who has been handling the sale for the seller, said Tuesday. “It was under-managed and neglected.”

The 1930s property was voted nation’s dirtiest in poll TripAdvisor discontinued in 2012.

    Hotel Carter For Sale

I don’t put much stock in TripAdvisor surveys. I think TripAdvisor is great for:

  1. User photos to get a real visual sense for a property, although I don’t put too much stock in a single photo of a problem (I want to see the same problem recur before I write off a hotel).
  2. Patterns in reviews. I don’t want to know how many people loved a hotel, I want specific facts reported consistently across reviews like mold, peeling wallpaper, dirty sheets, etc. When I see the issue recur I give it weight.

Having so many people on a site, offering first-hand experiences, there’s value if you know how to mine the data.

I wouldn’t ever stay somewhere because TripAdvisor members liked it best, on average their members’ tastes may not mirror my own. I often see luxury properties knocked down in score due to high cost of room service, often guests aren’t judging hotels for what they are but based on their priors — which in a given instance may or may not match those of the person looking for guidance in reviews.

Towards that end I would not actually declare a single hotel the dirtiest based on votes on that site. I’d be confident it isn’t the cleanest, however.

Nonetheless, such a reputation and operating condition no doubt drags down the value of the property. Whomever has $180 million for the hotel had better have a whole lot more for capital improvements!

(HT: Alan H.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I have really lost faith in Trip Advisor reviews. I once wrote a really detailed bad, but true, review about a property and Trip Advisor refused to publish it. I wonder how often this occurs?

  2. Its highest and best use is hotel, not residential.

    The rooms have been under renovation for the last couple years. As of about a year and a half ago, about 30% of the rooms were renovated. They actually weren’t too terrible–and current management does a much better job than the former owner, Tran Dinh Truong, who died in 2012.

  3. Another issue at TripAdvisor is the reviewers may have paid retail prices for the hotel, which I never pay…

  4. Yes, we know tripadvisor reviews may reflect the users own bias. Just like, oh maybe your views might do. Maybe we should discount your opinions as too based on that bias, lets boycott view from the wing on the basis its biased. Fortunately I don’t hold that view!

    A poll on being the dirtiest may not be scientifically correct but I’m pretty sure if a number of people have singled it out to vote down its somewhere I probably don’t want to stay!

  5. @Steve, I agree and say so in the post, it may not be the ‘actual’ dirtiest but it probably isn’t the cleanest!

    And no doubt i have preferences that influence my reviews — what I think is important, what stands out to me to be worth commenting on. I agree it is important to understand where a reviewer is coming from, and ideally find reviewers whose preferences speak to your own when possible.

  6. Tripadvisor reviews are a good starting point. Ones that are overly positive or negative, one should ignore. But many times the lists of best hotels in city, have the same hotels that are the favorites of Boarding Area bloggers. The info provided here and on Tripadvisor is very different. There aren’t lists of restaurants, attractions, tour operators, etc. on Boarding Area. Obscure places are Tripadvisor’s best info. Some places have no mention anywhere, but there are reviews on Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor also has a tie-in with American Express. The Amex logo is on the reviews which supposedly means that it is a “verified review”. But, Tripadvisor reviews are just like yours here, someone’s opinion.

  7. If you had even 1/10th of the money in 2009, you could have bought a starwood hotel in NYC that went bankrupt and was foreclosed upon.
    That was a killing!

  8. With TripAdvisor you get used to knowing what to look for in terms of comments made on things that are priorities to you too, and letting slide observations (good or bad) on things that don’t matter much to you. I seldom use a hotel’s bar, for instance, but I know it matters a lot to some. It’s just one source of information, and a helpful one if used within its limitations. I find I don’t share my own reviews much, though I realize I should, especially when I’ve been treated really well somewhere.

  9. As a long time user and reviewer on Trip Advisor I think it is a wonderful resource. No, it’s not perfect but between that and, I’ve been able to find a lot of great hotels and restaurants in some off the beat places in the world. I thank ever person on there who spends their time to give an honest review. Fake reviews are pretty easy to spot.
    When I review something, I let the reader (and the business) know what I liked and what I didn’t and I try to give specifics — was it clean, was there mold in the bathroom, was the bed hard or comfortable, was the restaurant cold or noisy… My reviews are not beautifully written, but I’ve got a lot of helpful votes from them so hopefully I’m doing some good for my fellow travelers.

  10. @marsha good points. I will be writing some reviews about my stays last week in some SPG properties in Vienna, AU. Because the manager did some things for me I am torn about writing certain things I did not like. And I was at that same property twice in the last 8 months. I tend to be pretty fair with my reviews. I like Gary’s hotel reviews!

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