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When is a Holiday Inn not a Holiday Inn? When it’s the Holiday Inn Sarajevo.
Its story makes a sad little Flashback Friday. The Holiday Inn is perhaps one of the most iconic buildings in the Bosnian capital; not just because of its
fugly outlandish yellow design, but also because it gained a certain kind of notoriety during the siege of Sarajevo (which, at 1245 days, was the longest siege of a capital city anywhere in the world).
This is where the journalists stayed during the war, so there were a lot of pictures of the hotel published. Also, despite being smack on Sniper Alley (the main route to the airport, where the surrounding Serbian army liked to focus its attacks), the Holiday Inn survived the war relatively unscathed. It was bombed, of course – the mortar scars are horrific. But compared to the complete destruction of other buildings on that same road, it did pretty well.
HotelChatter 2014 Awards / Hotel Hell / Hotel Emergencies / Hurricane Odile / Cabo Hotels / Cabo San Lucas Hotels / Mexico Hotels / → All Tags
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
There could really only be one choice for worst hotel hell this year: the number Hurricane Odile did on the resorts of Cabo San Lucas.
Odile came and went in September, with social media giving us updates from the frontline. Many resorts closed for weeks, if not months, and some are still closed as we write this. Then there was that legal battle that followed for Capella too.
There are WiFi charges, and then there are WiFi charges. And then, well beyond that, there are WiFi charges – utterly obscene, the like of which we’ve never heard of before. This comes under the latter.
WiFi at the hotel starts at €9 for “low speed”, rockets up to €200 for “medium speed” and then goes utterly insane at €300 for high speed. That’s almost twice the cost of their lowest rooms, which cost from €163.
OpenThread / Hotel Service / Hotel Hell / Hotel Afternoon Tea / Maybourne Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / Luxury Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
Afternoon tea at Claridge’s is a London institution. Afternoon tea at Claridge’s in the run-up to Christmas is a global institution. Seats are like gold dust: even when we stayed overnight a couple of years ago in December – in a posh suite, for goodness’ sake! Costing over a thousand pounds! – there was no room for us for tea.
So when Louise Burns turned up for tea with her mother, sister and newborn baby, it was obviously a long planned, much longed for treat.
But then it soured when she started breastfeeding and the hotel brought over a napkin and asked her to cover up.
Throwback Monday to… a time when Aleppo was a popular tourist destination.
The Baron Hotel was one of the finest hotels in Syria when it opened in 1911. Charles de Gaulle stayed here. So did Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express in room 203. “Hotel Baron, the only first-class hotel in Aleppo” says a poster from the 1930s strung up in reception. It’s the oldest hotel in Syria.
Or, rather, it was until last week, when its owner revealed he’s closed it.
“It's been nearly four years since the war began and I see nothing that inspires any optimism in me, quite the contrary,” Armen Mazloumian told AP. “Honestly, the hotel will never go back to how it was.”
Look. We're not stupid. We know that several, many, maybe hundreds of people have stayed in a hotel room before we got there. We know this.
Which is why we always throw the comforter or top blanket on the bed to the floor and why we avoid touching the remote control and never drink out of the bathroom glasses. But just when we think we had mastered the germs in hotel rooms, here's come another new report just reminding us how filthy hotel rooms can be, even after housekeeping has come by.
A new study from The Rossen Reports team went into hotel rooms at five major hotel chains after housekeepers finished cleaning the rooms and began conducting bacteria tests. They also waved the trusty old backlight over the room. Bacteria was found in the in-room telephones (Ew) and suspicious stains were found throughout the room (Ew but also, eh). However, the remote control proved once again to be the filthiest object in the room.
In August, we were completely pissed off that a hotel outside New York City posted a note on their website about how they would charge guests $500 for leaving a bad review of the place on any online review website. After the policy made national news, the owner backed down saying, "it was just a joke." Of course, we don't believe it was a joke but regardless, the terrible policy has inspired another hotel to do the same thing.
The Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England actually charged two guests 100 pounds for writing a negative review of the hotel online where they called the place a "dirty rotten stinking hovel run by Muppets." (Hey now, no need to involve our beloved Muppets.)
Unbeknownst to the guests, the hotel included their "No bad reviews" policy in the booking documents. Here's what it says:
"Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. "For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review."
Man. This hotel must be raking in money. Go to TripAdvisor and check out all the terrible reviews of the place. It really is a dirty rotten stinking hovel. Following up on this, The Daily Mail pulled some photos from TripAdvisor to further show off the hovel and they are frightening. Doesn't the hotel have health standards it needs to abide by?
However, there will be happy ending. Word is the couple will have their money refunded and the hotel will stop enacting the policy. Now, all it needs is a renovation and for someone to remove those dirty socks from the nightstand drawer.
How do you know when not to stay at a hotel? Check out the celebrity guestlist. And if you’ve got Kerry Katona, Danielle O’Hara and one of the Black Eyed Peas, you have your answer.
The hotel is a five star, all inclusive resort, with 1251 “units” (rooms, apartments and villas). According to the Daily Mail, there’s an acre of pool-age, a fitness center and spa, five restaurants and – the telling bit if you’re wondering who they’re going for – 14 bars. By the looks of the photos, they also have (or had, for the opening party), staff dressed as mermaids and Jack Sparrow.
Charges for keeping your own stuff in the hotel minibar – that’s so Vegas. Our sister site VegasChatter spotted a $50 “restocking fee” at MGM Grand last year, and the story went round again last month at MGM’s sister property Mandalay Bay.
But a “corkage fee” for merely having a bottle of water in your room? Now that’s a new one.
This was a note we saw in the info book at the Fairmont Monte Carlo when we stayed earlier this year. The Fairmont is one of Monaco’s iconic hotels, right on the Mediterranean. At check in, we were impressed that staff went out of their way to tell us that we should sign up for the President’s Club in order to get free WiFi (if you can’t be bothered to do it now, do it at some point during your stay and we’ll take the charge off at check out, they said, which was awesome).
And then we stumbled upon this note. This penny-pinching, parsimonious note. “A corkage fee will be charged on an item purchased outside and consumed at the hotel”, it said. €15 for champagne and spirits. €10 for wine. €5 for soft drinks and water – water! Not bottles illicitly stored in the minibar, remember – bottles merely kept in the room.
There are so many problems with this. For starters, the sign wasn’t prominent – it was buried in the info guide, which is only read properly by geeks like us. Not a peep on the minibar, not a squeak on the bedside table.
For another, how can the hotel distinguish between drinks consumed in-room and bottles from drinks you bought earlier and didn’t bother to throw away? Chuck out that empty bottle of water in your bag you’ve been carrying around all day, and suddenly it’s chargeable.
In the spirit of both Monday, October 13th and Halloween, here are 13 Hotel Trends We Wish Would Die.
1. FRIENDING: We blame the Millennials for this one. To all the new hotels out there, and all the hotels considering a rebrand, we don't want to be friends. Yes, we like friendly faces at check-in and peppy voices answering the phone, but we don't need to be reminded constantly to "Friend" you on social media or tag our photos with a ridiculous hashtag that you made up.
2. ANNOUNCING OUR ROOM # AT CHECK-IN: Yup, we've griped about this one before but seriously, STOP DOING THIS.
3. MINIBAR SENSORS: Nothing says "Relax! Enjoy our hotel" like a minibar security sensor just waiting for you to touch an item in the minibar so it can ring up a $8 bill for Pringles on your folio.
4. PEEK-A-BOO BATHROOMS: How many more times do we have to say this? No one wants to watch someone else go to the bathroom. If that were true, then we'd just stand outside of the Meadowlands watching people who've been tailgating too long pee into a bottle instead of spending money on a hotel room.
In two days time, Scotland will go to the polls to decide whether it wants to become an independent state or remain part of the United Kingdom. Politicians and business people are tussling over what would be better for the country.
In the meantime, Scotland’s most expensive hotel ever – the first to charge £1000 a night – has quietly closed its doors.
The Atholl, in the West End of the city, opened in 2012 after a £5m conversion project. And now, according to owner Alison Davies (and the Daily Mail), it’s closed for good. No more Hermes wallpaper, no more Albert Roux restaurant, no more “award-winning garden”. The hotel will be converted into apartments.
Surrounded by two hectares of grounds in the modern Palmeraie district. A beautiful hammam. Eight beautiful suites, including some freestanding ones in their own pavilions. Like the Pavillon à la Rotonde, which is “romantic and secluded”, “ideal for an intimate getaway” with its “private garden and jacuzzi”. How glorious! Until you come to the booking page, and it describes it as “Poo Suite: Rotonde”.
Yes, of course this is an extremely juvenile thing to be giggling over. But it’s also a serious reminder to hotels to check through every page of your websites, and to keep names uniform across the site – because even if it said “Pool Suite: Rotonde”, we’d be wondering whether that was in fact the Pavillon à la Rotonde we’d so wanted to book.