LIFE

Hotels From Hell: 15 Hotel Guest Horror Stories

10 Stories from Hotel guests sharing their worst experiences

We’ve looked previously at hotel workers and their most shocking moments from years of working in the hospitality industry but this time we are looking at stories from the guests themselves.

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There are certain expectations you have when going to stay in a hotel and we adjust this based on the quality and cost of the hotel. 

Staying at a four or five star hotel, you’d expect certain luxuries like a nice pair of those white slippers, some fancy toiletries and perhaps some complimentary snacks and drinks for the room. If you opt for a more budget-friendly stay, you adjust your expectations accordingly for your no-frills accommodation. But wherever you are staying, there are some things you would certainly never expect to happen.

AskReddit asked travellers to share their stories from their worst hotel stays and its safe to say they delivered. Here’s 15 best of the worst hotel experiences:

1. The Travelling Creep

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My mom was traveling for work and sat next to a man (fellow business traveler) on the plane. They had a casual conversation and exchanged business cards.

Later that evening she’s in her hotel watching TV and gets a phone call from the front desk that her husband is here and they want to know if they can give him a key to the room. Turns out the creep on the plane was pretending to be her husband to try to get into her room.

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That could have turned out very differently if the hotel desk staff hadn’t called to check with the woman and had simply given the man a key. There’s been a few unfortunate examples where hotel staff haven’t been as diligent; such was the case at the Embassy Suites hotel in Iowa earlier this year when they gave a rapist the key to a woman’s room and even disabled the safety latch for him.

2. Don’t Tell Them You’re Alone

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I was traveling out of the country right after finishing up a huge 5-day work event where I had about 10 hours of sleep total during the 5 days.

I got to the motel, which is kinda run down and the carpet and blankets are damp but I’m so exhausted I don’t even really think about it.

I fall asleep pretty much immediately at like 8PM local time.

At maybe 11pm or so, I get a call from the motel phone saying there’s been a complaint about noise. I tell them that’s impossible, I’ve been sleeping. They ask me if maybe it’s someone else in the room and I tell them nope, I’m here alone so there’s definitely no one else making noise. They ask me again if I’m sure I’m by myself and not causing any noise. I say yes again. Fall back asleep immediately.

When I woke up and thought about it some more, I realize how weird the entire interaction was. There was absolutely no noise I could hear anywhere nearby and I don’t know why the motel staff would need to clarify so many times that I was alone.

Apparently they never called. So I assume it must’ve been someone calling the different rooms to see who was in the rooms and how many people. I’ve never been so glad to always always use the extra latch chain lock.

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Another story that could have ended up with a very different outcome. If anyone ever asks you if you’re alone in your hotel room, there might be a sinister reason for it so it might be best to make something up to avoid any unwelcome visitors. 

3. Maintenance Mix Up

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Found a hotel in Yangon (Burma) the day we got there for pretty cheap. They mentioned the rates were low because maintenance was being done on several floors. We sleep fine, wake up and head to breakfast.

At breakfast we met some Germans who had also stayed the night in our hotel. They said they had not slept well because during the middle of the night someone woke them up to move them from the floor they were on. We (us and the Germans) found out later that they had been moved because they were on one of the levels reserved for maintenance, and part of the maintenance included gassing the rooms for bugs.

During the middle of the night they were just going around the rooms shoving the gas nozzle or whatever under the doors and letting them run; wound up killing the two people next to the Germans before they realized they’d accidentally booked people on that floor. We weren’t on that floor thankfully but it has always stuck with me how seemingly easy it could’ve been to have gotten mixed up in that.

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How hard would it have been to check inside the rooms before blasting them with bug gas? Totally avoidable deaths due to pure negligence, lucky that the German guests were moved before meeting the same fate. 

4. Your Friendly Neighbourhood Bikers

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When I was 12, I was staying in a motel with my mom on a road trip. We were in the middle of nowhere in Texas at a motel that had a decent rating in our guidebook and was really cheap, so we went for it. In the middle of the night, the owner knocked on the door and told us we had to leave because he wanted the room for someone else (!!!) My mom was outside arguing with him while I was gathering our things, and I was terrified because I heard him start yelling.

I looked out the window and saw about half a dozen bikers in vests appear out of nowhere (maybe a nearby room?) and start confronting the owner. My mom came inside quickly and we watched them start harassing the guy, things like “she’s paid to be here. You’re gonna let her stay tonight! We don’t want to ever hear shit like this from you again!” And the owner was saying things like “I don’t want any trouble!”

Everybody left fairly quickly and we didn’t ever hear anything about it the next day at checkout. We weren’t able to sleep very well because we were so shook up, but it was better than getting in the car again.

Thank you, anonymous biker gang.

sweetrhymepurereason

Surprisingly wholesome story with a happy ending, except maybe for the owner if he got himself into the bikers’ bad books. Would be pretty scary being a kid and being bustled out of your hotel room in the middle of the night by an aggressive hotel owner and it’s a good thing those bikers came to the mother’s rescue.

5. I Spy

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In 1996 while air-drying naked after a shower lying on my hotel bed in Beijing with the curtains drawn, I received a call demanding I put on clothes.

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This is both funny and terrifying at the same time. I’d have turned that place upside down looking for hidden cameras. Very creepy.

6. The Persistent Pervert

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So mine takes place in a London hostel a few weeks ago. I have 2 friends with me that are both male, and we’re staying in a 9 bed mixed dorm. There’s 3 sets of 3 tier bunk beds. I’m in the bottom bed of the right bunk, friend 1 in the top of my bunk, friend 2 in bottom bed of middle bunk.

So, we get in at 2am and all just quietly get in our beds, after a few minutes of lying there trying to sleep I hear rustling behind me (I’m lying on my side facing the wall). So I think it is just someone going through their bag and ignore it.

Then I feel a hand on my hip over the cover, I turn round and it’s a random guy telling me to move over and trying to pull at my cover. I initially thought he was drunk and wasn’t sure which bed to be in so I tell him to go find his own bed, and then he shuffles away to bottom bed of left bunk.

Then he comes back again, i again tell him to go back to his own bed and he shuffles back to his own again. This happens another couple of times, with me gradually speaking louder and getting less polite telling him to fuck off.

So I’m shaking cause the situation is making me nervous, and message my mate that’s on the top bunk, saying I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep that night. He messages back casually thinking it’s cause of someone’s snoring. This is when I find out both my mates have ear plugs in and although they’ve heard me speaking, they each thought I was speaking to the other friend. So I tell him the situation and he starts keeping an eye out.

I hear the guy go to the bathroom that is en suite, but I can tell from the light he left the bathroom door open whilst doing so and refused to look. My mate fills me in that the guy was walking round with his pants down and deliberately left the door open to get me to look, but either way the guy goes back to his bed after and we think the situation is finally over.

Then it happens again, my mate keeping an eye out shines his phone light on the floor and shouts for the guy to fuck off. Apparently he was crawling across the floor again towards me.

The guy suddenly takes offence at my mates light shining on him and starts actually climbing the bunk ladder like King Kong to get to my mate on the top and was trying to take his phone. They wrestle for a while with my mate actually kicking the guy in the neck to try and keep him away, only for the guy to swing backwards and come straight back at him again.

I use this time to run for security, who find the guy still hanging on the bed when they get there, then call the police and have the guy taken away in a riot van and banned from the building.

Whilst the police had dragged him outside waiting for the riot van, the guy even head butted the brick wall several times.

No idea what that guy was on cause it wasn’t alcohol, but definitely on something to take a kick to the neck and still act like nothing happened afterwards.

The guy kept trying to blame my mate when security came as well, saying things in broken English like “come up here and see how violent this guy is”.

My other mate that had slept through the whole incident kept saying the next day that he couldn’t believe how friendly everyone in London is.

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This would be horrendously unnerving with a guy effectively stalking you in the same room and acting totally batshit crazy and unstable. It’s a good thing their friends eventually cottoned on to what was going on below them and were able to help fend the lunatic off.

7. Just Ignore The Fire

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I arrive at a secluded, coastal hotel south of Marmaris Turkey around 2 AM. It had been a long day in Istanbul followed by a flight and long bus ride into Marmaris where I haggled with non-English-speaking taxi drivers… who were not even aware that this small resort exists.

When the taxi pulls up to the hotel… it’s on fire. When the owner, standing out front sees us he opens the taxi door excitedly, “You come. I have nice room for you!” I point out that the hotel is on fire but he simply gestures and says “Small fire. No problem. You come.” I. Am. Utterly. Exhausted.

I find myself following the owner into the hotel, stepping over fire hoses, waving away smoke, passing fire fighters as they run up and down a very nice staircase. We pause at the second floor landing and the owner tells me, “See. Fire only on this side of hotel. This side no fire. You come.” My exhaustion removes every ounce of common sense and I follow him to a room down the hall.

The room is indeed fire-free. I quickly scan the in-case-of-fire message on the back of the door, checked the window escape, and promptly pass out with my gear and boots on. In the morning I awake [alive] wondering if I dreamt the entire thing. I go down the smokey stairs past the charred other side of the hotel. The owner is so happy to see me [still alive] that he eats breakfast with me.

neverpennyless

Another funny and almost wholesome story with the owner eating breakfast with them in the morning. My mom would kick my ass if I told her I’d gone to sleep in a hotel that was literally on fire. Worrying to think what would have happened if they hadn’t been able to contain it and it had spread to the other half of the hotel…

8. Swimming Pool Predator

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When I was 12, my family took a vacation to Europe. At our hotel in Rome, there was this amazing indoor pool…and being a child of my age, I would have spent the entire vacation there if I could.

During one such swimming excursion, some random gentleman, I think probably around 40-something, comes over to me and starts tickling my feet. My mother is with me, but is preoccupied with one of my other siblings.

He speaks English as well and starts teasing me for being ticklish and telling me how I’m “simply adorable.” Through my giggles, I keep shyly asking him to stop. He doesn’t, and just keeps teasing me and touching my feet and lower legs. This went on for maybe 2 minutes tops before my mom sees what’s happening and goes into super protective mode and tells him to back the fuck off.

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This one gives me the uber creeps. Good thing their mom noticed what was going down and went into mother bear mode on the dude. Hopefully they reported this guy too to stop him pestering other children.

9. What Lurks In The Bed

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We were on a school trip to Washington, D.C. We were horsing around the hotel (we were all around 14) and decided to prank another kid by flipping his mattress (with him asleep on it) upside down and all jumping on top of it so he couldn’t get out from the box spring. So we do this; he wakes up and starts screaming “What the f***!” and then he goes silent and starts screaming bloody murder and begging for us to let time out.

We all get off the mattress and he comes bolting up and runs out of the room. Stuffed in the box spring were probably close to a dozen or two bath towels absolutely saturated in blood. They were as hard as bricks since they had probably been in there a while.

We told the security guard and the room’s occupants were given another room (and we got yelled at for being out of our rooms after hours.) I never found out what had happened; I put my money on back-alley abortion.

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So so gross. Imagine being not only trapped under a bed, but pressed against old blood-caked towels. Absolutely vile.

10. Room Under Construction

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I arrived late at a hotel for a business trip. Flight had a malfunction so we had to land. They fixed it on the tarmac & we never deplaned. Room already paid for, confirmation number in hand, etc. I got there about 5 hours after I was supposed to be there. Of course, they gave away my room. I already wasn’t happy from all the delays & I wasn’t going anywhere.

The event I was there for was in their hotel. I wanted my room. I was polite but resolutely firm. They did some scrambling and asked if I would consider a damaged room under construction. “As long as the sheets are clean so I can go to bed, I don’t care.” was my reply. Mistake.

The room they gave me was literally a crime scene. The case had been closed so there was no legal issue to contend with but someone had been killed (or nearly killed – not 100% sure) in that room. They had primed over the blood stains on the walls & ceiling but had only taped down semi-clear plastic over the pooled blood on the carpets. Multiple small holes in the walls had obviously been patched & sanded but they were MULTIPLE SMALL HOLES IN THE WALLS.

They gave me a completely new bed and TV from on-site inventory so I was comfortable but, man, it was creepy as fuck.

The creepiest part was the priming job. It was so obviously blood splatter. You could see where the person had been hit & where they fell. You could also see how they had tried to get up & where they had finally collapsed.

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When you book a hotel room, whether this is prepaid or not, you have entered into a contract and the hotel should provide you with another room or if the hotel is at 100% occupancy, they should pay for you to stay elsewhere in a room of the same or greater value and also pay for your transport there. It’s a ball ache if they don’t honour this though and all you can do then is sue them for breach of contract. Always try and get them to sort you out with alternative accommodation should this happen, but perhaps not a rank murder room with blood all over the place. I would have noped right outta there.

11. Don’t Ignore The Tickle On Your Neck

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Was in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua last year. Massive spiders all over the room. Even woke up with a couple of little scorpions in my bed the first morning.

Next night I’m sitting at the bar, drinking and chatting with a mate – feel a tickle on the back of my neck and think it’s a mosquito or something. Brush the back of my neck and another motherfucking scorpion, this time wayy bigger, plops on the ground at my feet. Stared at it for a moment in shock, squealed like a girl, squashed it and kept drinking.

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I guess creepy crawlies come with the territory in Nicaragua but a scorpion on your neck is enough to give anyone the heebie jeebies.

12. A Bad Feeling

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My family drove to Yosemite, and it was a long drive for us (three kids all under the age of seven plus two adults and a fuckton of mountains will do that). By the time we arrived at the motel, it was late, we were all cranky, and we couldn’t wait to get out. But the moment we pulled in, something set my moms teeth on edge and she insisted that we left and found another hotel, reservation or not.

My mom has always had this like sixth sense and her gut has actually saved us a couple of times but my dad was tired and convinced her to ignore her gut and stay for just the night and the next morning we’d leave. I can remember my mom actually refusing to let go of our hands, making us stay right by her side as she kept looking around while checking in.

To try and get her to relax, my dad suggested we go to the pool, thinking it would calm her down. Well, when we got there, there were no towels so my mom called the front desk. The moment the man delivering towels arrived, my mom immediately grabbed us out of the water and rushed us back to the room. The man gave her the absolute creeps and she says there was just this feeling of pure evil when he looked at us.

That night my mom and dad pushed the dresser in front of the door and had us all sleep in the same bed. The next morning, we left to go to another hotel but my mom couldn’t stop talking about how evil that motel was.

About two months later, she and my dad were up late watching the news when they started reporting on a man who had murdered a woman and two young girls in Yosemite. Just as my mom began to say “I bet it was at that motel” they showed Cary Stayners face and said it occurred at the Cedar Lodge motel. Cary Stayner was the man who brought us our towels at the pool. We’ve never gone back to Yosemite and my mom is always insistent that we listen to our gut feeling and when every bone in your body is telling you something is wrong, gtfo.

Peachiepenguin

Some people seem to have that sixth sense of being able to tell when something is off and in this case the mom was right on the money. Chilling to think they came face to face with a serial killer but kudos to the mom’s instincts and for getting them out of there.

13. A Bizarre Sight

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I once stayed in a B&B which had a shared bathroom. The first night I got up at probably like 2am and I was bursting for a pee. The bathroom was down the hallway, not too far but seemed like such an effort in my tired state.

I get to the bathroom and open the door and there was this guy just standing in the bathroom, dressed head to toe in a mime costume. Face painted and everything. He was squatted down on the floor but his trousers were still up. I looked at him for a second, he gave me a wave with a smile and began just silently pushing.

I just ran back to my room, locked the door and decided to pee in a bottle. I’m still not sure if I was just really tired and seeing things or something, it’s seriously the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.

Jam-Polo

This is both funny and extremely creepy. The only saving grace is that it was a shared bathroom as it would have been way creepier if the mime had been in a private bathroom in their room. Was probably someone just fucking with them but would still freak you out a treat.

14. Insane Colleague

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My parents owned a company when I was a kid. For a few years, the company would take all the employees on a business retreat to a hotel in the mountains for Christmas. After a company party, one of the employees told a security guard that he got locked out of his room.

He proved he was an employee of the business that paid for the room, but the guard didn’t check (or didn’t know) which names were on which rooms. Guard ended up letting him into another employee’s room, where he stabbed the guy at least a dozen times then fled. They found the body in the morning after neither of them showed up. Police were able to catch the murderer, but I believe he was declared insane and did his time in an asylum.

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Your reminder that your seemingly harmless colleague could be harbouring murderous thoughts ready to go postal when you’re at your most vulnerable.

15. Breathe Easy

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Stayed at a Motel 6 in Marina, CA. I wasn’t expecting 5-star accommodations because, hey, it’s a Motel 6, right? Other than being a little noisy, we slept okay. The next morning, I started packing my stuff. I’m a lung cancer survivor and need special equipment (CPAP) to help me breathe at night.

I unplugged my unit and went to disassemble it to be packed away. When I opened it up, it was chock full of roaches. Instead of breathing clean, filtered air, I had been breathing air filtered through roach leg hair. They were even in the tubing and mask.

I cannot even begin to describe the horror of lifting that lid and seeing those little bastards scurry out of – and deep into the inner workings of – my equipment. Of course, they were in our bed sheets, too, and our luggage. We emptied every single article from our luggage, killed the roaches that were hiding in the liner, then carefully shook everything out and repacked. 

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This makes my skin crawl. Horrifying on so many levels and the fact they were also in the mask itself, pure nightmare fuel. You’d be haunted by the fact you could have had roaches crawling on your face whilst you sleep without even knowing it. Just rank.

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It’s amazing how some of these hotels are even in business as murder scenes, bug infestations and dangerous guests are not on the usual holiday wishlists and you’d think a lot of these places would be shut down immediately yet most remain open.

Luckily due to the beauty of the internet, most of these situations can be avoided by researching the hotel beforehand for reviews. But no matter what you do to scope out your potential digs, you never know who else might be staying in the room next to you…

To read tales from the other side of the transaction, check out the stories shared by hotel workers. It’s not just the guests who have a hard time.

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