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The Worst Hotel Stories of The Decade

December 31, 2009 at 12:35 PM | by | ()

It's what you've been waiting all year for--The 2009 HotelChatter Awards! We'll be bringing you the best and worst of the year (and the decade) all day today and part of tomorrow. Agree or disagree with our picks? Air your thoughts in comments below.

Yes, we're doing a Decade List. By now, you're probably sick of them but hey, ours is all about hotels--not just Britney Spears, George Bush and the iPhone.

And now, it's time for the Worst of the Decade. It's always easy to dwell on the negative and in these heady days of blogging, Twittering and Facebooking, everyone's a hotel critic. But these stories stood out as the worst for us. Don't forget to add your own "Worsts" in comments below.


· Denizen Debacle: Hilton Hotels tried to bring it with their own boutique brand. The only problem was the two Starwood execs they hired essentially stole trade secrets from their former employers. Starwood filed suit again Hilton, Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani and Denizen was dead in the water, after the release of only a few bewildering renderings. The lawsuit is still pending but the folks involved could face criminal charges.

· International Hotel WiFi Charges: While hotels stateside weren't exactly on the ball with the whole free Hotel WiFi trend, they weren't charging astronomical prices like the hotels in Europe were doing. Poor hotel guests were forced to cough up $30 and up, way up, just to check their email. Sadly, we think this trend may still continue into the next decade. But at least one UK government official is on our side.

· Las Ramblas: George Clooney tried to build a hotel in Las Vegas where folks "have to put on a jacket." It was to be called "Las Ramblas" and it was to open on 25 acres next to the Hard Rock. But the whole she-bang crapped out. In the boom years of Vegas!! It was later snapped up by W Las Vegas but that crapped out too. The lot remains empty today. Celebrities looking to open hotels: take note. Um, speaking of celebrities and hotels....

· Tori Spelling: Tori Spelling and her trophy husband, Dean McDermott, decided to film a reality show about them opening a B&B in Temecula, Calif. in 2007. The whole thing turned out to be a sham, as you could never really book a room there. We had to do episode recaps for two seasons of this shit and thus we spent a good part of '07 in a tequila-induced haze.

· Nicky O Hotels: Nicky Hilton, at the precocious age of 24, decided that she wanted to open two hotels--one in Miami and one in Chicago. But much like Las Ramblas, the whole thing was more of a publicity stunt than an actual operating hotel. However, there was some scandal involved with a corrupt hotel developer and a designer who got the shaft even though he came up with the design concept.

· Bed Bugs: EWWW. Bed bugs made a comeback in the first decade of the millennium. They also became the best way to trash a hotel's reputation, even if there was no evidence of bed bugs. Regretfully, we expect bed bugs to survive through the next decade.

· Condo-Hotels: When hotels began building properties with residences attached, it seemed wonderful. Imagine, an apartment with all the services of a hotel! And if this was a vacation home, you could rent it out to the hotel when you weren't there! Sounds amazing, right?!!? But the problem was, so many hotels were built with the promise that sales from the residences would fund the construction and operation. But when the mortgage crisis hit in 2008, hotels could not longer sell those residences. This is mainly why so many hotels are in danger of foreclosure right now. Ugh.

· Russell Crowe: It is one thing to wet the hotel bed, soaking through two mattresses before drunkenly punching a doctor, but it is quite another thing to throw a phone at a front desk clerk. Which is what Russell Crowe did in 2005 at The Mercer Hotel. We're guessing he didn't leave a tip for the housekeeper either.

· Greenwich Hotel Cancelled our Reservation: Yes, we've kissed and made up but it still stung at the time.

· The Duck Chomping Guest: People do pretty weird stuff when staying at hotels. That's a given. But the guest who bit the head off a duck at an Embassy Suites Hotel in St. Paul in 2007 shocked us all. We can't look at ducks swimming in a pond now without getting a little queasy.

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