4 Hotel Horror Stories

Tales of woe that will make you appreciate well-designed hospitality spaces even more


hotel horror stories

We're still cracking up over Editor in Chief Robert Nieminen's Las Vegas experience and stay at the Imperial Palace hotel in his editorial for the April hospitality issue. So we brought the question to you to share the humor, and asked what your hotel horror stories are. Because time heals all wounds. As long as you could look back and laugh now that’s all that matters…right? Enjoy these four stories of less-than-desirable hospitality experiences:

From Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance:

Several days ago, I arrived in Bangkok, Thailand for a few days of rest and relaxation. It is a wonderful place to vacation, and among the most cheap international destinations in the world - and have never had a problem with any hotel or resort.

I did some research and selected a three-star hotel. It was middle-of-the-road, price-wise, and all the reviews I read said that the rooms were clean.

Upon check-in, the staff was very friendly, and at first glance my room seemed clean. It was about 5 pm. by the time I checked in, and the temperature in the room was scalding hot (it had been close to 100 degrees that day). I immediately tried to turn on the air conditioning, and could tell right away something was wrong. It made an odd noise, and the air slowly streaming out was not very cool. I decided to take a shower, but this ended up being very brief, as the water started coming out of the tap with a brown tinge.

I was becoming quite irritated, and as I opened the door from the bathroom to my room I saw several roaches running for cover. I also noticed that the A/C unit had completely stopped. Looking closer throughout the room, I noticed bugs, ants, and mosquitos as well, including insects I didn't recognize. Rather than calling room service, I went straight to the front desk.

What I was able to discern from the combination of broken English and Thai spoken by the staff was that the hotel had just begun a renovation project, which was the cause of all the problems. I asked if I could be moved to a room away from the renovation. They said this was possible, but could not guarantee that the new room would be free of issues. I was not interested in this offer.

The staff remained friendly throughout the ordeal, and finally agreed to help me find a room at a nearby hotel. I was very grateful, as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do this on my own.

Later, when I had a chance, I looked at the dates of the online reviews that I had read about my first hotel, and most of them were from years ago!

From Karen, travel blogger at http://fabgrandma.com:

Several years ago my husband and I were driving to Kentucky. We had no reservation but didn't think there would be a problem getting a room. When
we got to Lexington, there was a baseball tournament going on, and no rooms were available.

We finally found a room at around 3 a.m. at the Ramada Inn. Just about the time I turned down the bedcovers and discovered pubic hairs in the bed, my husband called to me from the bathroom where he found more of the same on the toilet seat. And when I picked up the phone to call to tell the front
desk the room was not acceptable, it was sticky!

The night manager found us another room, but in that room, both faucets in the shower produced hot water. It was truly a nightmare stay for us!

From Shereen Rayle of ShereenTravelsCheap.com:

I love a good terrible hotel room story, even if it happened to me. Here's one that sticks in my head as one of the worst overnight experiences I've had.

When taking a weekend shopping trip to Phoenix, we hadn’t realized we were going the same day as a major sporting event and all the hotels were booked solid. To keep from driving all the way back to Tucson, we found a hotel (Sunland Inn) with a vacancy in Casa Grande. The price was right, but the room was all wrong. It felt like a place that would be crawling with bugs, but considering we’d already paid, we decided to stay. While we didn’t see any roaches trying to make off with our luggage – perhaps they were scared off by the last coin-operated vibrating bed in America – we did find a used hypodermic needle and a shower stall full of hair that we had to clean before we could even use. Everyone kept their shoes on, too, as the shag carpet had that greasy feeling of hair that has been washed, but then not rinsed properly. While it wasn’t a fun experience at the time, we can laugh about it now and it has set the bar for for how bad a hotel room can be. After that, we definitely made the point to make reservations anywhere we went!

Corinne McDermott, founder of http://havebabywilltravel.com:

At our small resort in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba last year, my then-four-year-old daughter yelled from the bathroom that there was a "hand" stuck to the toilet paper roll. Sure enough, there did appear to be a tiny hand stuck to the toilet paper, coming out of the holder that covered most of the roll.

As my husband investigated, we saw the tiny hand belonged to a fairly good-sized gecko who jumped at us causing screams all-round! After a little
finagling, we managed to get "Gecky" to freedom outside our door, only to have a bird swoop down and try to take off with Gecky in his mouth. Luckily
our protests startled the bird into dropping Gecky into the bushes, where we say him scramble away to safety.

It was the most exciting first ten minutes in a hotel room for us, and I'm sure for Gecky as well.

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