What are the worst hotel experiences you’ve had?

Written by admin on March 10, 2009 – 8:41 pm -

Hotel horror stories abound but some are definitely worse than others. At the moment, they may feel horrible and catastrophic. Later, you might view them with a touch of humor. You can always hope.

The following are a few hair-raising hotel sagas I’ve heard over the years.

Bumped by a convention
A group of people assigned to an on-going business project always stayed in the same hotel. They would arrive on Sunday or Monday and check out on Friday. One would think it would be good business for the hotel and that these clients would be given A+ service? Well not precisely.

Upon arriving one Sunday, they were informed there were no rooms available. Their standing reservations weren’t going to be honored since there was a convention taking place. But they shouldn’t worry since alternative reservations had been made. The group was bused to a hotel approximately 45 minutes away in a rather seedy area of the city. Some rooms were clearly being rented by the hour.

When one person complained that his room had no phone (this was pre-cell phone days), the manager unplugged his phone on the front desk and gave it to him. The group survived the night but never returned to the original upscale hotel. Not only did they nix that city’s hotel but also they decided to sever its relationship with the chain.

Even dead bugs like classy places
Another not-so-funny hotel story but certainly creepy and memorable, it told about an upscale establishment. A woman decided to splurge and booked a room in a luxury boutique hotel that cost nearly $400 per night and promoted itself as the cream of the crop.

After a grueling workday, she was looking forward to relaxing in the hotel’s whirlpool. Before she took the plunge, she cleaned the hair littering the tub. After filling the tub, she discovered the whirlpool jets weren’t working but decided to use the tub anyway. As she looked up at the light over the tub, she was horrified to be greeted by generations of dead bugs. That clinched it. She put on her clothes and checked out of the hotel ASAP.

Can we get the windows opened?
Sometimes the hotel problems are caused by previous clients. This story about maintaining the heating, or cooling, system seems humorous in hindsight.

Now that so many hotels have gone the no-smoking route, the room’s windows are often bolted shut. I guess this is probably to maintain the sanctity of its no-smoking designation. Some clever client had managed to pry open the window just enough so the room felt as if it were being overtaken by howling gale winds. The next hotel guest had to turn up the heat full blast to stay warm. The end of the room with the pried-open window was frigid while the other end was roasting. Happily, the bed was in the middle of the room. The hotel gave him a 50 percent rebate when he checked out that morning. Thank goodness he didn’t contract pneumonia along with his discount.

It meets corporate criteria, but …
A businessman was booked into a hotel by the personnel manager’s secretary. The criteria were that the hotel should be near the conference venue as well as near the train station. The company quality standard specified four-star accommodations. When he arrived, there weren’t any taxis. After eventually finding one, he was driven to the hotel that was on very impressive grounds and looked as though it had once been a very grand country house.

He thought there might have been an old-folks convention taking place based on the number of wheelchairs and walkers not to mention the median age of the guests. After checking in, he asked for directions to the bar. The receptionist shot him a strange look and informed him Quakers owned the hotel and no liquor was permitted on the premises.

In addition, part of the hotel was a retirement home causing the ambiance to be something less than cheerful. The receptionist took pity on him and directed him to the closest village. It had a pub, served meals and he hung out there until closing time when he returned to his long-term-care facility.

I still can’t figure out what kind of convention he was attending and why his secretary booked him there.

I’ve been collecting these stories and could go on and on. But rather than continue rambling on, let’s hear your accounts. Some of them must be zingers. And the real questions are: Did you find them amusing at the time? Are you laughing about them now?

Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis.

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