It has probably happened to everyone at least once: That charming B&B or upscale hotel turns out to be not quite as advertised when you see it in person. To avoid that kind of disappointment in the future, watch for these six warning signs that your hotel isn't quite what it seems.

The Pictures Are Heavily Photoshopped

Sure, the photos on the hotel's website look nice, but don't we all try to post only the most flattering pictures of ourselves? Filters, creative cropping, and Photoshop can make almost any place look like the Ritz. If the official pictures look too good to be true, that may be a warning sign that they are. Look for real images of your potential hotel on Oyster (a fellow TripAdvisor company), and check out Oyster's Photo Fakeout section to see just how sneaky some hotels can be.

The Website is Seriously Outdated

The Internet is an essential tool for travelers nowadays. If a hotel can't be bothered to update its website, what are the chances it has bothered to update its furnishing and fixtures and whatnot? We're not saying that the tiny B&B you found has to have a flashy website, exactly—just that you might want to independently verify what the property is really like with a few other trusty sources.

The Reviews on TripAdvisor Aren't Good

Look, TripAdvisor isn't just our parent company—it's also the number-one place on the Internet to learn about potential accommodations from people who've actually stayed there. Read the reviews (as many as you can possibly manage) before you book. You're looking for reviews from travelers with similar needs or likes to yours, and you're also paying attention to how the property's managers respond to complaints. Are they belligerent or helpful? Honest or dishonest? Chances are, if they're rude on the Internet, then they're probably not Miss Manners in person, either.

It's Hard to Reach a Real Person

If you can't get hotel management or reception to respond to your email or phone inquiries in a friendly, timely manner when they're trying to win your business, what makes you think they'll be helpful once you're actually staying there?

Google Maps Street View Tells a Different Story

If your hotel claims to be located right in the middle of all the best attractions, don't just take its word for it. Verify the property's central location by plugging the address into Google Maps. Better still, scope out the exterior on Google Maps Street View. If it looks dated, poorly maintained, or not exactly as front and center as it claims, then run—don't walk—back to your Internet browser and find a new hotel.

It's Listed on the Bedbug Registry

We're sorry we even have to mention this, but have you ever checked out the Bedbug Registry? You'd be surprised at just how many otherwise nice hotels wind up with these little critters running around between their sheets. That's why it's a good idea to check out your hotel on the registry before you check in. One or two isolated complaints shouldn't cause too much concern, but a number of recent listings ought to raise a red flag.

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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Six Warning Signs Your Hotel is Not What it Seems. Follow Caroline Morse on Google+ or email her at

(Lead Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

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