Is every hotel at the mercy of disgruntled guests these days? Once upon a time, their ravings rarely got beyond reception. But in the digital era, just one person can create an online PR disaster. But before we blame TripAdvisor or Facebook for the hilarious, strange and downright awful reviews that follow, it’s probably fair to say that most of these venues had it coming. Basil Fawlty eat your heart out…
An electrifyingly bad experience
Inevitably, some hotels fare worse than others for cleanliness and other common hotel complaints. But what is the worst that could happen during your stay? Well, being rocked by a massive electrical charge isn’t great news unless you’re Frankenstein’s Monster. But this was a real risk at the former Morville Hotel in Wales, once dubbed as the “worst hotel in the UK”.
Predictably awful comments included “a slum” and “disgusting beyond belief” while safety concerns included “fire alarms blocked off with beer mats” and “trailing wires across doorway”. The authorities were so worried about safety they forced closure. The fact that over three quarters of reviews were 1* or “terrible” tells its own story.
A little cramped?
Space, or lack of it, is quite often a cause for witty or withering hotel reviews. But a certain Jim M took the whole medium of the hotel review to new levels in his takedown of a London hotel with famously decrepit, cramped rooms. “Bits of this building will literally come away in your hands, leaving you clutching a shard of sharpened wood or metal” he writes. “Probably very handy if the place was overrun by zombies, but otherwise just a touch concerning.”
But the best is saved for the facilities: “The bathroom itself resembled a dirty cupboard deisgned by the inventor of Tetris- everything was jammed in at bizarre angles to make it fit. One would need to be a most practiced contortionist to use the sink or the shower”. Best Trip Advisor hotel review of all time?
Some hotels have the worst luck when it comes to punters. Being located right in the heart of a seaside resort infested with stag parties probably doesn’t help; but then again, you could at least pick up the mess. “Guests next door fighting” and “blood stained carpet” are not a great start, but “human teeth found on floor” is an entirely different level of wrong.
Talking of hotel rooms fit for a horror film, one of the rarest complaints has to be about a ghost. “I saw the ghost … over my 4 yr boy” says the incredulous customer at a Saudi hotel. Having screamed and ran, the guest then complains that nobody believed them. What are staff supposed to do though, perform an exorcism?
Here’s the thing though; perhaps the hotel could drum up extra business if they backed up the story? After all, quite a few hotels and inns actually get bookings off the back of their ghostly credentials. Haunted places to stay can be lucrative and there is even a Haunted Rooms UK site for those who like the odd blood curdling scream along with their luxury accommodation.
Best response ever?
Another of the all time worst hotel reviews in the “completely unreasonable customer” category starts “Looks like a building from Chernobyl” ...
If the review itself is an example of exaggeration, however, the manager’s response shows quite beautiful poise. “Unfortunately when a review starts by comparing the hotel to one of the greatest man made disasters and loss of innocent life of the twentieth century I am unsure as to how my efforts to find a resolution would have proceeded” says the hotel manager. Well played, Sir.
A Cautionary Tail
Fancy a Birthday surprise in your hotel room? This is exactly what one poor traveler got while staying at a hotel ranked as one of the worst in Amsterdam. As if the grimy conditions were not bad enough, our reviewer has the ultimate horror on their big day. “We were settling down to sleep and we could hear a ruffle” recalls the horrified guest. “When we sat up and moved the pillow, there was a huge rat or mouse IN THE BED WITH US”.
Falling to bits
“Historic charm” says the brochure; “falling to bits” says the reviewer. It can cost a fortune to update a large hotel; but it can be even costlier not to do anything if the comments are anything to go by. But there are flaky hotels and those that are off the scale.
“Is this a hotel or a nursing home?” begins the mother of all such reviews. “Damp in all rooms. Smell of moth balls… windows rotten” it continues. “Cracked tiles”, “wallpaper peeling” and “itchy blankets” don’t help matters, but the biggest shock is yet to come: “looks like asbestos in the ceiling?”. The property in question is no longer available, unless you’re a dust mite.
“I slept like a corpse”
Sorry, that should have read “I slept with a corpse”. Actually, this one’s a bit of a cheat because other than the odd comment about the room smelling funny at a Mexican hotel, potential reviewers were not even aware of the grisly truth. Unbeknown to guests, a murdered body had been wrapped in a bag and dumped under the bed. Luckily for the venue, cleaners found it before any visitors cottoned on!
"Needs a little more work"?
For a complete catalogue of errors, the internet is littered with creative reviews. However, special credit must go to reviewers of this one hotel, whose write ups are among the world’s most damning hotel reviews for all the right (or wrong?) reasons.
“RUDE to a fault” staff and overpricing are just the start. “Mentally ill woman walks around the hall ways screaming and rambling at any time of night” isn’t a great endorsement.Other guests continue with everything you can think of, and quite a lot you couldn’t make up, from “no sheets on the bed” to “drunk approached us”, “roaches in the drawers” and so many reports of people drinking/ vomiting/ fighting (delete as applicable) in the early hours that you wonder if you're reading a list of reviews or a police journal.
But perhaps the best is left for last, with that rarest of all breeds: the incredibly charitable reviewer. “They are trying” he says, “but needs a little more work.” And perhaps they have a point, because when you look at the rankings there are FOUR hotels in the same town that are rated worse! What on earth are those places like?
So, wherever you stay next, please be fair with your reviews and be grateful you're not staying in one of the above...
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