In "The Shining," Jack Nicholson portrays a caretaker at an isolated hotel -- a situation that would make one prefer rats and cockroaches.
If you're lucky, the worst problem you'll have at a hotel will be relatively minor: not enough pillows, weak water pressure in the shower, a less-than-impressive parking lot view.
Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. We asked our readers to write about their all-time worst hotel experiences, and they sent in spine-chilling tales of stays fraught with filth, unfriendly staff and unwanted furry friends. Read on to see the worst of the bunch.
The less bonny side of Scotland
"The Dunollie in Broadford, Isle of Skye, is a dirty, dilapidated misery of a hotel. Our room, #225, had a filthy brown stain in the toilet bowl, only one bedside lamp that worked and a musty smell in the bathroom. The dining room serving staff were surly, ill-mannered and rigid about opening times. It is completely unacceptable for a male staff member to scream, 'only soup or salad, not both!' to tour members at the buffet, especially since the food itself at the Dunollie was a tasteless mass of boiled bits of undistinguishable matter. Finally, in contravention of fire regulations, the front door was locked overnight and could not be opened from either the inside or outside."
The definition of a roach motel
"Worst hotel stay: multiple large cockroaches on walls, floor and bed, plus tap-on-wall for shower in a non-tourist-class hotel in Bhutan. By tap-on-wall, I mean there was no shower or sink, just a faucet on the wall and a roach-filled drain on the floor. I did not sleep."
-- Anonymous on Twitter
Big problems in the Big Apple
"At the St. James Hotel in NYC: dirty room, filthy carpet, overlooking a shaft, ceiling in bathroom had recently been plastered and every time the heat came on, it wiggled the pipe in the bathroom and pieces of ceiling fell off. The blanket on the shelf in the closet was stuck together in its folded-up state. It would not pull apart! When asked about a hair dryer, we were told that somebody else had already checked it out for the night! One hair dryer in the entire hotel, apparently! We slept (lay awake, listening to the fighting in the hall and other rooms) on top of the sheets with our clothes and shoes on! No way was I getting undressed! We laugh about it now, but at the time I swore I'd never let my husband make reservations again. Even if a hotel doesn't meet our expectations now, we always remind ourselves -- 'It's not as bad as the St. James!!'"
-- Debbie B.T. on Facebook
We smell a rat
"Finding a rat curled up on my bed. Worse -- this was three days into the trip and they found out later that he had been living in that room, the one above and the one below for more than a few days!"
-- Michelle M. on Facebook
"Years ago my husband and I checked into probably the last motel room available in Paso Robles, Calif. It was very, very late and we were tired after a long day on the road. When we got to the room and turned on the light, the bed was sloppily made and it looked as if the sheets and pillowcases hadn't been changed. Inspecting the bathroom we discovered red spots on the wall, which looked like blood. The screen was off an open window. We thought about sleeping in our truck, but decided if we kept the lights off and didn't think about too much we could survive until daylight. The first sign of light and we were out of there!"
-- Kristen M. on Facebook
"A hooker had the room above us and we could hear every sound!!!"
-- Gloria G.L.M on Facebook
To catch a thief
"The absolute worst happened in Dominica, when I woke up at 4 a.m. to see an intruder climbing out the window right next to my side of the bed. He had taken a ladder and broken into our second-floor room while we were sleeping. He must have been in the room for a little while because he had walked all the way around our bed and rooted through our clothes until he found SO's wallet. Beyond the annoyance of losing money and credit cards, it was a really scary, unsettling experience to have on the first night of a trip; we were jumpy for the rest of the vacation."
Get me some ear plugs, stat!
"Laundry room next door, dryers/washers began at 6 a.m. AND staff watched loud TV all day, too. Argh."
-- Erin Kirkland, AKontheGO.com
"The Water Club by Borgata! Checked out two days early and came back home. Horrible service, threats by staff, just awful! [The final threat] was that the bar manager was going to beat me up for not tipping on their poor service."
Adding insult to illness
"Being kept up all night by traveler's diarrhea, no AC and a loud family at a sketchy hotel on the south side of Brussels."
A series of unfortunate events
"When I checked in I noticed plaster had fallen from the ceiling onto the bed and the floor, so they moved me to a new room. One evening I came and and found my door wide open, no housekeepers around. My gold necklace and laptop computer were out in plain sight on the desk. A colleague saw a mouse in her room. The air-conditioning could not keep up with the heat so they turned off the air in public spaces like lobbies and hallways, which meant that the doors swelled from the humidity and had to be forced open. The final straw was when I picked up the third quarter of my club sandwich and found a dead cockroach on my plate. This was all in one week at one hotel in Virginia!"
-- Kristina D. on Facebook
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