Hotel Denied Stay to Couple Because of Where They Live

Work was being done in the home of a couple who lived in it for 15 years, so they decided to check into a hotel property located nearby for the night — only to be denied staying there solely because of where they live.

Hotel Denied Stay to Couple Because of Where They Live

After handing over their credit card and official government identification to the person behind the front desk, Anthony and Jeanette Davis of Kankakee were first shocked and then livid at being refused to stay at the Hampton Inn Bourbonnais Kankakee in Bradley last month — all because of a policy which restricts checking in guests who live in the local area and was reportedly implemented by the owner of the hotel property.

According to this article from WLS-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News in Chicago:

“She said, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t rent to you guys.’ I said, ‘Why?’ She goes, ‘Because of your address. You have a Kankakee address,’” Anthony Davis said.

They were shocked. The couple say they asked to speak with the owner, but were told the owner himself came up with that policy, no Kankakee guests in his hotel.

“Totally disrespected,” Jeannette Davis said. “I felt let down and I felt puzzled. Kankakee? What’s wrong with Kankakee residents?”

They said the receptionist told them that a while back a Kankakee resident pulled out a gun on another guest at the hotel.

“I told her, ‘What do I have to do with that? I don’t have anything to do with someone pulling a gun.’ At that point, she just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t rent to you,’” Anthony Davis said.

Here is the video of the news story.

The couple refused a purported offer by the owner of the property of $1,000.00 and a steak dinner on the condition that they stay away from the media — but they refused the offer, instead choosing to stand up for the people of Kankakee.

One of the hotel properties adjacent to the Hampton Inn Bourbonnais Kankakee is where the couple stayed instead.


The policy is reportedly no longer in effect at this hotel property as of last week.

When I was alerted to this story by a reader of The Gate, I was stunned that a hotel property would have such a ridiculous policy in place. I do not understand the practice of discriminating against anyone solely because of where he or she lives. Is his or her money not as good as any other guest?

No guest should ever have to experience a unnecessarily restrictive policy such as this one — nor should anyone unfairly be a victim of any sort of discrimination in general.

If you face a similar situation to Anthony and Jeanette Davis, document the incident. Stay at another hotel property if possible, as there is no point in staying where you are not wanted. Report the incident to both the local government and the lodging company which owns the hotel property. Contact the media if necessary so that others do not suffer from a similar experience.

I have never been to Kankakee — at least, I do not recall ever being there — which is located approximately 60 miles south southwest of Chicago in Illinois along the Kankakee River; and Interstate 57 runs mostly east of the city.

From my many experiences with Hilton — of which Hampton Inn is one of its 17 brands — both as a customer and meeting with many of its employees and executive team members in person, I know that the company would never tolerate a policy such as the one described in this article; and I am glad that Hilton stepped up to the plate and offered the couple two free nights to be used for a stay in the future.

In fact, the aforementioned policy of the hotel property directly contradicts the vision, mission and values of Hilton, which is as follows:

Since being founded in 1919, Hilton Worldwide has been a leader in the hospitality industry. Today, Hilton Worldwide remains a beacon of innovation, quality, and success. This continued leadership is the result of our staying true to our Vision, Mission, and Values.

Our Vision is to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.

Besides, our Mission is to be the first choice of guests, team members, and owners alike and see below our values.

Hospitality — We’re passionate about delivering exceptional guest experiences.

Integrity — We do the right thing, all the time.

Leadership — We’re leaders in our industry and in our communities.

Teamwork — We’re team players in everything we do.

Ownership — We’re the owners of our actions and decisions.

Now — We operate with a sense of urgency and discipline.

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.


16 thoughts on “Hotel Denied Stay to Couple Because of Where They Live”

  1. Bill says:

    That owner is a moron. I hope he gets the aggravation and media attention his stupidity deserves.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I was thinking that the owner probably should either step down from managing the hotel property or sell it altogether, Bill.

  2. Billy Bob says:

    $1000 and dinner NOT to stay at a Hampton Inn just to be Zen about it?

    If paid in cash, it’s a deal.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Even when your comments are directed against me, Billy Bob, I do enjoy reading them. I just wanted to let you know that…

      …and that is indeed a difficult offer to refuse.

  3. colleen says:

    More than once in SWFL area, typically as a result of drug issues. There’s a newspaper article about it every now and again. Here’s just one example (including a Hampton Inn reference, btw):

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I never realized that this problem is more prevalent than I realized, colleen.

      Thank you for sharing that article.

  4. ghostrider5408 says:

    Keep us posted

  5. DirtLawyer says:

    I live in this town, so I know the property. Some other hotels in the area also had this policy, although it wasn’t enforced against me when I needed a room for a few nights because of the odor from resurfacing our wood floors. The franchisors have all gone nuts when they learned of this policy and crack down on the owners immediately.

  6. Andy Hough says:

    When I lived in Las Vegas back in the 90s many hotels had a policy of not renting to locals. I have no idea if that is still the case.

  7. Jenny says:

    We had our house renovated, and, at a couple of the properties we stayed at locally, we had to sign an extensive “no party” disclosure. The staff said locals will rent a room and party to avoid trashing their own homes.

  8. Kurt says:

    I have heard of other Illinois hotels having a similar policy, but mostly low-end motels. It was implemented to prevent local teenagers from renting a room in which to drink and party, often causing extensive damages. Most hotels who did have the policy used discretion in enforcing it (i.e. only enforcing it on young people). That selective enforcement is even more discriminatory than the original policy! But, it may explain why you don’t hear about this more in the media.

  9. Dustin says:

    I would have taken the dinner and still went to the media. Hopefully they get a crap ton of Hilton points. I’ve seen this policy at prostitute motels before. Don’t know if it’s very widespread now. Suprising this would happen at a Hilton

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Please refer to this article I wrote back in March, Dustin, which involved another hotel property which is part of the Hilton portfolio:

      The female friend of a guest was reportedly charged a visitor fee of $60.00 because she might have been a prostitute.

      1. colleen says:

        You’d think the hotel would be charged with pimping for taking some of her anticipated proceeds.

        Guess the whole story is a bit anticlimactic.

  10. Anthony says:

    I am not a person it happened to a guy need to be checked it is discrimination all day My neighbor happen to be a white man and he got a Room there any time he decided to So what’s wrong with that picture

  11. Anthony says:

    I am not a person it happened to a guy need to be checked it is discrimination all day My neighbor happen to be a white man and he got a Room there any time he decided to So what’s wrong with that picture

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