Executive Inn in Belleville, IL: not a nice place to stay, evidently

The Belleville, IL Executive Inn sounds like one of the worst hotels in the world, judging from the TripAdvisor reviews. Incredibly, it's rated 8/10 for the city, which means that there are two worse hotels in town. Here's cpratt:

Oh sweet lord where do I begin :( first the room was filthy, they never cleaned in the two weeks I stayed there. The supposedly free wifi don't work, the tub, toilet and sinks were all clogged and backed up constantly. The water smelled like rotten fish, the ice machine was broke, there was a hooker that lived upstairs and did her job in front of her child! The management never cleaned the hotel, the residents do that! It smells and the pool don't work, and the management is rude. There are drug deals being done constantly, prostitution is ramped and there is black mold growing everywhere. I have the hospital papers to prove the black mold made me ill ! Heck I was in St. Elizabeth's for a week. If you value your health I would recommend you don't stay here. Hell the health department needs to shut the place down until the owners, who live and stay in California by the way, fix the hell hole up!

Some highlights from “Bring some bleach. And a weapon," by an anonymous reviewer:

The room, although massive, appeared to be the room that the hotel "forgot about". It didn't look like anyone had cleaned it in years. Honestly. The window was broken, the carpet was stained to the point that it almost looked like old flannel, the beds were broken and crooked... the bathroom would have been too gross for an uncensored HBO special, I think that the walls in the actual room were made from cardboard - I don't even know if the TV worked because we turned around immediately and asked for another room.

She understood, and gave us a key to a room upstairs. As we walked upstairs and through the hall, we were "greeted" by a man who burst out of his hotel room and looked a lot like a haggard BB King, fresh after a shot of "mace" directly to the eyes. After asking each one of us (there were 4 of us) if we had any cigarettes or anything to smoke, he let us go, but not before watching us take every last step into our 2nd room...

I would recommend visiting this place if you don't have any children to care for and want to shoot a documentary on the inner-workings of a drug ring.

Executive Inn (via Reddit)


  1. It’s 8/10 because two hotels have no rating at all.  I’m amazed by how many reviewers were horrified by the outside of the hotel and still got a room there. I’m also entertained by the creative grammar and spelling in many of the reviews.

    1.  “I’m amazed by how many reviewers were horrified by the outside of the hotel and still got a room there”

      Books and covers and judgement and all of that. Just goes to show you, sometimes all that folk wisdom will get you is a nice lukewarm glass of fish water.

    2. My boss is a notorious travel cheapskate–being an ex-punk and still trying to convince the rest of us that flophouses and crashpads are totally cool, man for an early-30s business traveler also means you save on hotels–and once booked me a hotel like this because “There’s no way it could be that bad, those people are totally exaggerating.” And they weren’t. And he was not happy when I charged the agency with the bill for a legitimate hotel I wouldn’t get murdered at. I just showed him pictures of the used needles on the floor of my room until he finally relented.

        1. The official pictures included the burglar bars on the first floor windows. THE OFFICIAL PICTURES INCLUDED THE BURGLAR BARS. 

    3.  It’s not just that it looked a bit rough or old, there were plenty of reviews citing trash, bullet holes, blood, fights, people asking for drugs, and people making sexual comments to women staying there. A bit shabby I can easily deal with, potential wake up from the SWAT team or the neighborhood rapist… not so much.

  2. It’s always fun to go to TripAdvisor and sort the listings in reverse order of goodness.  The worst place in Toronto has defects such as no ceilings in the rooms: the drop ceiling tiles are gone and the room walls don’t go all the way up to the roof.

  3. Funny, I hired a web developer from Belleville, sent him $500 and he never delivered.  $500 through paypal,  that was last November. In May I decided to pursue it and wrote a Yelp review that got his attention and he threatened to sue me. So, I filed complaints with PayPal, Craigslist, the Illinois AG, the FBI’s fraud.org and another Internet fraud tracking site. He finally  threw himself on my mercy, claimed the business was dissolved but he was still advertising on Craigslist in a half dozen markets so I went for the jugular. And his mea culpa was too late, it was a week after I ratted him out to the authorities.

    I may not get the money back but I think I totally destroyed him. And then I felt bad for being so vengeful.

    I hired him by; I emailed a few web developers, interviewed some on the phone, emailed specifics, sent multiple emails, set up wordpress on a server, registered the domains, I thought I was good to go. Live and learn I always say.

  4. I stayed in motel in Manassas VA and the AC unit didn’t cool, carpet was damp and smelly underneath it and next door a couple of guys started fighting and carried it out into the hall.  I was really glad to get out of that joint.

  5. Advice for cpratt: 1) Check Tripadvisor reviews before booking your stay. 2) You don’t have to stay 2 weeks when you realise it’s a dump – not worth risking your health over $48 per day.

  6. ugh, check out that pool.  putting the poo in pool. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=executive+inn&hl=en&ll=38.50298,-90.002804&spn=0.000538,0.000755&sll=38.52005,-89.983994&sspn=0.194744,0.386581&t=h&gl=us&z=21

    1. …and the roofs, I can almost hear then leaking.  Very strange location, not on any main street, and I would comb the surrounding wooded area with cadaver dogs….very spooky. If you pull back and look at the entire town, this hotel was nothing but a gamble, it never should have been built there. Only a few blocks away, on the other side of the highway, stands this amazing beauty: http://goo.gl/maps/BVVUo

      1. Damn that is one hell of an above ground pool they have there.  Clean and as blue as it can be.  Must be nice to be able to afford such luxuries in life.

      1. it’s not even the off-season– the deciduous trees have green leaves on them. based on the vegetation in the fields it looks to be august or 
        september. also — everyone else with a pool seems to have an active, clean one (without a cover and showing no floating debris)

        1. They must use it year round for that then.  Obviously they are using it that way to help keep the prices down for the guests…

  7. Since I’m a lifelong southern Illinois resident, and have been in and through Belleville several times, I had to look it up.  It’s about as far from the business end of town as you can get, on IL Route 15 mere minutes from East St. Louis, right next to the Public Aid office.  Yep…stay far, far away.

    1. Before I knew the reputation of East St. Louis I stopped at a hotel there one night ten years ago. The fact that their sign advertised “color TV” made me decide to keep going.

  8. We have a few of these places in Seattle that exist entirely for drug trades and prostitution. One couple owns a few of them. The city passed some laws having to do with safety and building condition, and managed, I think, to shut them down. Funnily enough, only dangerous: not that dirty, as I recall hearing.

    1. My wife and I stayed in one of those for a weekend once. It was awesome… they had huge sunken tubs with infinite hot water. Would Stay Again.

  9. On the flip side I’ve found some pretty decent places I never would have stayed at just by the look of them on the side.  One was an old motel in Virgina Beach.  Probably built 50 years ago it looked alright from the outside, but certainly didn’t look modern.  But for the less than $100 a night, ocean front view and a clean room with decent enough amenities, it was well worth it. 

    On that trip we actually stayed at a more expensive place as well.  While it was newer there were aspects that for the price should have been better.  In terms of value I think the first place won out, but in terms of vacation (ie, nice) places to stay the second won out.

    1. totally agree.  I prefer a smaller cheaper hotel so long as it is clean and safe.  I’d much rather throw my travel money away on booze and shopping than the hotel!!

    2. There’s a hotel in Ocean City, MD that from the outside looks a touch dodgy, but is actually very nice.  Most of the rooms have a kitchenette built in, it’s minutes from the beach, and they have a huge newly opened indoor pool with a water slide and tons of activities for the kids.  Sometimes you just have to chance it.  Since we discovered it, we’ve been back several times, and have never been disappointed.

  10. ” there was a hooker that lived upstairs and did her job in front of her child!” how would you even know this? sounds like bs

  11. A shit hotel – In BELLEVILLE ?

    Inconceivable. Why, Belleville is Gotham City to East St. Louis’ Metropolis. Nuthin’ but happy flowers ‘n’ sunshine on that beat.

      1. East St. Louis is the city right across the river from St. Louis.  When I was a kid, both ESL and downtown STL were shit areas, with ESL being worse.  Scenes from Escape from New York were filmed on both sides of the river, with the big fight scene being filmed in Union Station.  

        St. Louis has since recovered–iirc the room they filmed the big fight scene has a nice restaurant now–but East St. Louis hasn’t yet.  There are signs of life, some nicer neighborhoods being built where there used to be derelicts, but it’s got a long way to go.

        It was so shitty at one point that Belleville actually built gates on some streets, to keep the people from East St. Louis out.

  12. I grew up close to Belleville and that is not a nice part of town. The rooms have to be dirt cheap and attractive to people who still think a hotel shouldn’t cost more than $40 a night. 

  13. This thread got me thinking – is there a Tripadvisor or Yelp aimed at people with OCD? If not, there should be – a good review on a site like that would be a golden ticket for any establisment.

    1.  It would have to be a very specific few kinds of OCD to have the intended effect. Otherwise, some reviews might just be tallies of flowers on the bed spread, screws in the room, and buttons on the remote while others complain about the slightly nonsensical room numbering system. Though, come to think of it, the latter would be somewhat helpful.

      1.  How about black and white tiled floors, numbered stairs, faucets that pour automatically when you put your hands under them, patterned ceilings, doors that need to be shut repeatedly before they lock, etc?

  14. Anyone notice that the top motel there was a Shrine/Freemason hotel??  I smell a conspiracy coming!!!!
    Don’t you all see what’s going on???  They make the other places look like horrible places to stay so that you’ll stay the night at their Freemason hotel and get brainwashed while you sleep!!  Wake up people wake up!!!!
    Oh who the hell am I kidding, the place sucks monkey balls and a mile of chicken butt!!

  15. 16 miles away is St Louis with 4 star hotels, why the hell would anyone not be willing to drive 16 miles ?  LOL  Belleville, IL ,  looks like the set from a B minus horror film, HAHHAHA

  16. I live in Belleville, and know the Exec Inn well… It is primarily used as a long term motel that its rate gets cheaper for longer stays. Most people rent by the week/month, cause they cant/wont get a regular apartment or home. Everything that was described is absolutely true. The Exec Inn has now become a harbinger of drug users, dealers and prostitutes. The whole place is a shit hole. The Pool hasn’t worked in years and even if it did I would never get in it. There is an entire wing that is not used and appears to be stripped of everything. None of the exterior doors lock anymore, and even when they did they were propped open. The funny thing is, is that its not the only hotel/motel in the area that is like this. From a few places in Belleville, all the way to the MS river is all shit. Belleville used to be a nice place, atleast somewhat decent considering its neighboring towns. Now ESL is spreading to all outlying cities, Centreville, Alorton, Washington Park, Fairmont City, and more… And now Belleville. So, as soon as I can, my family is moving out of Belleville. Hell, if anyone is interested, I can go take pictures just so that you know its real…

    1.  ESL?

      Also I’m sorry but I’d get vigilante and set fire to the place* if I couldn’t get the govt to do something. A rotten apple like that just exacerbates problems. The people there need help not enablers.

      *and nothing of value was lost.

      1. And will the tenants just freeze on the street after that, Mr. Arsonist, or did you have a plan for housing them?

      2. In 1971 Buckminster Fuller proposed building a geodesic “Buckydome” over the entirety of East St. Louis. By 1987 my father was telling me the plan was to build the dome, then back a pickup truck up to the dome to pump in exhaust gas. How quickly that place fell apart!

  17. The safest hotel I ever stayed in was similar to this place.  Allow me to explain.

    It used to be a Travelodge outside Detroit.  It was clearly rundown but not too bad looking from the street.  The homeless people sleeping in the lobby when I parked to check in should have clued me in but I ignored it.  I was dead tired from the trip and I didn’t care how bad the place was, I could change accommodations tomorrow.  When I pulled around back to park, the parking lot was littered with half-empty 40s.  The layout of the place was such that nothing in the parking lot was visible from the surrounding area, an important point.  The hallways smelled and were dirty but the bed clothes were clean and the rest of the room was only mildly toxic.  The place was close to empty with the few guests looking really dodgy.  I determined to move the next morning.

    I changed my mind that night.  In the middle of the night, the local PD, ICE, DEA, and who-knows-else moved in and set up a processing station for drug sweeps.  There were a couple of those mobile command stations set up in the parking lot.  They spent the entire week I was there bringing in arrestees, doing initial processing, and doing whatever other business is involved in such operations.  It seems they kicked out all the guests but me; I guess it helped that I worked for a US Fed TLA.

    For the next week that I was there, the motel was noisy but probably the safest place in the entire Detroit metro area.  I actually had some fun shooting the breeze with some of the temporary residents.

    Won’t stay there again, though…

      1. You make a legitimate point that I understood at the time.  I didn’t want to gross anybody out in my initial post but, given the replies received, there’s no longer any harm in full disclosure.

        To wit – That thought occurred to me.  I investigated.  The nearby comment by Dlo Burns the Pessimist is accurate.

    1. Me reading: “Wait, he felt SAFER around police and DEAgents? … ‘I guess it helped that I worked for a US Fed TLA.’ Ohhhh.”

  18. Belleville is in the devastation zone of East St. Louis, but rural America is full of places like this. 

    Go for hotels managed by immigrant families, with the whole family living on the premises. It’s the only way to find a safe room in large parts of the country. 

  19. At first I thought this was Belleville Ontario Canada and reckon’d this motel seemed about right for one there.

  20. We got bumped to a crappy motel after our reservation was denied because the Hotel was ‘overbooked’. I had called ahead for 6pm arrival to confirm they had my CC etc.

    But they still bumped us and moved us to a place that was 20 yards from a rail road track, with a view of dumpster with rats, a used condom in the drawer,  and the bed smelled like pussy–I think.

  21. I entered the address into Google Maps and went immediately to Street View. Didn’t look that bad from the road. Only now do I realize that i was looking at the building in front of the Executive Inn … the Convention Centre. Christ, how’d you like to book into a convention and get that as the preferred accommodation?

    1. It says it’s a “Convention Centre” but I don’t think there’s been any kind of proper convention there in at least 7-10 years.

  22. Stayed at a hotel like that in Watertown, NY. Was driving back to Canada, and Parents thought it was a good idea to just keep going past Lake Placid. Eventually we had to stop someplace so I was looking up places on the GPS, and calling them on my Cell. Everyplace was booked, nothing was available, and we had been driving for a very long time. Anyway we eventaully found one. Looking at Trip Adviser now, it might have been the “Budget Inn”. It certainly was cheap I’ll give them that.

    However just going into the front office was bad, as it smelled of pee (possibly cat). Eventually got to room. Bed was so stained, dirty, and discusting, that I kept all my clothing on, pillow was so dirty, I used a folded up jacket instead. The whole evening, all you could hear were a pupetual party outside, along with drug deals and the like. I didn’t get much sleep as I was actually concerned about safty. It did seem most of the people there were living there full time.

    Anyway never in my life had I such a horrible experiance with a hotel, and I have stayed a a few bad ones in my time. I think if I were faced with the same situation again, I would just try and pull over someplace and try and sleeo in the car.

  23.  This hotel is obviously being used to make meth…almost every review said how much the room smelled….also,

    WHY WOULD YOU NOT GO TO ST. LOUIS? Or even just down 55  into South County to find cheap deals out of the city?  Hell, you could actually go to a South County motel, get your meth, AND have a clean room!

    1. Well, obviously, the downside of the South St. Louis County (Missouri side) motel is that while meth may be abundant and easily-sourced, hookers are not. The East Side is also a mecca for strip clubs, which at the lower end of the scale are thinly-disguised whorehouses. What’s a week-long meth bender without whores?

      It’s been 20 years since I moved away (almost 10,000 miles away!) from St. Louis, though. Maybe South County has deteriorated more than I know. Certainly I hope not. West County was an idyllic place to grow up.

  24. This is the worst motel I’ve ever stayed at: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g37161-d250262-Reviews-Red_Carpet_Inn_Fantasuites-Greenwood_Indiana.html#REVIEWS

    If you have the unfortunate opportunity to drive through Greenwood, Indiana, keep on driving! All the bad reviews are countered with convoluted back-stories about the reviewer’s lack of character. Entertaining!!

  25. Don’t worry yourself exclusively with The Executive Inn. If you are traveling to St Louis do your best to avoid Belleville, East St Louis and the surrounding areas all together. Unless you are looking for the scene originally described, if so then you have found you Mecca.

    Historically this was a very industrious area rich in manufacturing, mining, brewing, distilling, rail and many other forms of industry. Side note as a lover of jelly beans, The Jelly Belly Candy Company was stared by two brothers in downtown Belleville. In the 50s ESTL was a thriving metropolis of well over 80,000 entrenched in manufacturing and the rial system. It was even known of as the home town of Beaver’s mother, June Cleaver in Leave It To Beaver, a TV show of the time glorify family values and clean living. But then the scene started to side. As noted above ESTL has actually been used in many movies to represent post apocalyptic war zones. It was spoofed in one of the National Lampoon movies when the family stopped in ESTL to ask for directions and then have their hubcaps stolen. Also as noted above Belleville at one time did install gates between itself and ESTL. This was actually a focus on the American TV news show 60 Minutes multiple times. At least one set of these gates still exist but are no longer used. A large majority of the ESTL historic architecture is now rubble. Neighborhoodscout.com rates ESTL a 0 out of 100 on its crime index and safer than 0% of other US cities. Chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in ESTL is 1 in 16 and of becoming a victim of property crime is 1 in 10. Most have fled the destruction and the population as of the last census was in the low 20,000. In the state there is an average is 32 crimes per mile and 39.3 nationally. This number jumps to 215 in an are that is almost now uninhabited. As the inhabitants of ESTL flee they move to the surrounding areas, one of which is Belleville. And this is what you saw at your stay at The Executive Inn. But it isn’t just this hotel it is the area in general.

    I have family that immigrated to ESTL, started business in and eventually fled ESTL and Belleville. My family left ESTL for Belleville in the 50s and then got them out of Belleville in the 90s. My last trip through this area was a short time back researching family genealogy. If your are into strip clubs, brothels or are looking for hard street drugs this is your area, you should feel right at home. If you are just traveling through the St Louis area I would recommend handling Belleville/East St Louis the same way the majority of its previous inhabitance have. Create lots of space between yourself and the east side of the river. Happy and adventurous travels.

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