We asked Canoe.ca and Sun Media readers to tell us about their worst ever hotel experiences. Our readers spoke out, sharing tales of cockroach encounters, too-rude-to-be-true hotel employees and dirty rooms. These are 15 of the very worst experiences shared by readers:
"About 15 years ago we stayed at a hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico named the Hotel De Cima. We picked the hotel based on the modest 3 star rating it was given by AMA travel & the fact that it fit our budget.
We were young and looking for a good deal and didn’t really care about all the perks that go along with 4-5 star resorts; we simply wanted a clean hotel that was on the beach. By all indications the pictures that were portrayed in the travel magazine ensured us of these two things. My wife and I went ahead and booked the package and managed to talk six others into joining us for what was sure to be a great holiday at a bargain price.
The first thing we noticed when we arrived at the hotel was that it wasn’t actually located on the beach; instead it turned out to be located across from the beach on what was quite possibly the busiest road in all of Mazatlan. (When we returned home and looked at the pictures from the travel magazine we could see that the pictures of the hotel were taken from the beach side at an angle that completely cut out any indication that there was a road between the hotel & the beach.)
So, we checked in, got handed our room keys and were pointed towards the elevator. We got off on our floor and started looking for our room which was a feat in itself since the lights in the hallway were either burnt out or would rapidly flicker on and off making it next to impossible to see the room numbers on the door. We finally arrived in our room, which I had to admit would have been acceptable except for the fact that it was on the side of the hotel that faced the main road, so all day and night we’d get to listen to the constant traffic, the honking horns, the car alarms and of course the non-stop bass that would pound from the passing taxi cabs.
We decided to check out the swimming pool, which turned out to be a disaster, the water was so gray & murky that you couldn’t even see the bottom of the pool from the shallow end. Needless to say we spent the rest of our holiday sneaking into other hotels to use their pool facilities.
One night while we were getting ready to go out for dinner there happened to be a huge storm (it was August) and apparently the build up of rain on the roof caused part of the ceiling in our friends room to cave in. The wet, plastery substance that fell from the roof would have landed on the bed except for the fact that the ceiling fan was spinning, which caused the mess to spray all over the room, covering the bed, the walls and all the clothes that were laid out to be worn that night!"
"My worst experience by far was the Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa. After my wedding, me and my wife had the honeymoon suite booked with a confirmation number. Once the wedding was over, we went to the front desk at 2 a.m. and asked for our room key. The person working the front desk did not understand English very well, said we didn't have a room booked and had no reservation for us. As my wife was in her wedding dress, and myself in my tux, we tried in vain to explain our names, etc., all the while two other front desk employees just stood and stared and didn't offer us any help. After 30 minutes of almost losing my mind and my wife upset and crying they found our reservation and gave us our room key. I wrote the hotel a long letter, and to this day haven't heard anything from them. I will never go back."
"My worst experience was at the Puentarena in Varadero, Cuba in November 2010. First I was supposed to get ocean view but instead I got canal view with all the bad smell [...] There was some renovation being done to the hotel so we got tar smell coming from the roof, burning and welding smell coming from an adjacent floor, inside flower pots and railing were being redone so bad smell from paint and stain. Over seven nights of staying at that hotel, we were disturbed at least once a night by fire alarms and workers working nights. My kids repacked their luggage because they were scared. All dinning rooms were closed for renovation, only the large buffet dinning room was available and the food was so bad. The key cards worked one time out of five. It was faster using the stairs because only one elevator was working out of three. No service whats so ever, no entertainment at all, everything was at the sister hotel, the Playa Calata. Poolside was bad, washrooms next to the pool [were] way worse than a war zone, the beach was so dirty like you wouldn't believe."
"When my husband and I were dating we decided to get away for a weekend and decided to stay at a hotel we found online. Online it looked clean, very well decorated and looked, well... great! So we booked it, but when we got there we thought we had the wrong address because the hotel didn't look anything like it did on the website! It looked run down and dirty, like one of those hotels from a scary movie! My husband being the positive one said let's just see how it looks inside, it might be different [...] When we checked in the room smelled like wet dog and the bed sheets looked like they had not been cleaned in months! The bathroom was falling apart and leaking! (Not to mention we had some guests already staying: little black bugs crawling on the bathroom walls!) And to top it off the door didn't even lock! But we didn't care, we got out of there quick! Let's just say unless it is a well known hotel chain we will never book anything without seeing it in person first!"
"My wife and I were lucky enough to win a contest on Breakfast Television in July of 2010. It was the day before our wedding! We won a weekend stay at the Ottawa Westin, right downtown, and some passes to some great attractions. We booked the trip for Thanksgiving weekend that fall. Having just gotten married, and having been off work a lot that year due to a serious illness, money was very, very tight. When we arrived at the hotel, it was beautiful. But, when we tried to check in, we were then told a deposit of $500 cash was required. That was more than we had for the weekend! After about an hour of being talked down to, embarrassed and made to feel like a charity case, we were 'allowed' to have a smaller room than was originally promised, for a smaller deposit. At the end of the weekend, upon checkout, we had a member of hotel security come up to our room, inspect it, then escort us to the lobby to check out. I have never been so ashamed in my life. Westin Hotels only responded to my email saying that it was [standard practice] to verify the state of the room upon checkout when a cash deposit is used. NEVER again will I, or my wife, stay at a Westin property! But thanks just the same to BT, very generous prize!"
- Glen Osatchuk
"Stayed at a motor inn just outside of Melbourne two years ago and woke up at 6 a.m. to find three spiders roughly the size of hockey pucks on our bed."
"Our worst experience happened at a full service Holiday Inn in Memphis, Tenn. When we arrived, the hotel did not have our reserved room, so they gave us a suite. This seemed to be great, until the next night, when we returned to our suite we could hear a loud party going on in our room! All we could think of was what happened to all our opened luggage, clothing and personal effects? Were these people in this room with all our personal property? After angrily going to the front desk with two crying children in tow, we found that hotel staff had taken it upon themselves to handle our personal effects and place them back in our luggage and moved us to a regular room without informing us in the morning or when we checked in that this would be happening!!!! Imagine the hotel staff handling our personal clothing items! The nerve!! They forgot to take our diet sodas from the fridge. It took the staff approximately an hour to send staff out of the hotel to retrieve our specific kind of diet sodas from a local 7-11. Needless to say, we ended up with three free nights and a huge apology from head office when they heard about this one!"
"Stayed in a hotel in Shreveport, La. a year back. There was some construction going on in the various areas of the hotel, including outside, so instead of the room I had actually booked, I was moved into a smoking room on the first floor in the back of the hotel. Due to the construction, the hotel was surrounded by mud and you couldn't access the hotel without dragging huge piles of mud and dirt in with you. The first night there I woke up in the middle of the night being eaten by red ants that had been churned up by all the earth movement, but when I went to the desk in the morning and complained, they basically looked at me like I was BS-ing them and making something out of nothing. I had bite marks on me from my ankles to my waist and threatened in a REALLY LOUD VOICE to drop my pants right there in the lobby so they could see for themselves that I had been bit to crap by all the ants in my bed. I even took some of the ones I had killed so they could see what they were and invited everyone in the lobby and bar area to my room so they could see for themselves. After that, they most graciously "found" an available room on the third floor for me, and I continued my stay with no problem. I complained to head office when I got back home here, even had photos, and they basically said, tough luck, sue us. Needless to say, I'll never stay with that particular 'Inn' again and they lost a customer for life."
"This one will take the cake. Last summer my wife and I along with 2 other couples decided to go on a weekend motor bike trip to Dansville, N.Y. We toured through the Grand Canyon of the East. Beautiful park. After riding all day we made for our resting destination to the Dansville Inn. Reviews online were very highly recommended by everyone. So we had made arrangements online to stay for one night. We arrived at the Inn to find it was only an eight to 10 room motel, [of] which one of the rooms was the office. By the looks of the place it was not open. We knocked on the door for about eight minutes until we heard someone unlocking the door. It was the owner/concierge. Wasted, hammered, drunker than a skunk. Could barely hold himself up at his desk to check us in. The office stunk so bad, we couldn't identify of what, but hoping that our individual rooms would be fine. Were we up for a surprise. Here is what we walked into: a carpet so stained it looked like they parked cars in the room after they had been oiled/rust proofed for the Ontario winters; [...] rusted baseboard heaters; one measly 60 watt bulb in a lamp for the entire room; electricity outlets with covers missing; air conditioner coated with a layer of spider webs; layer of dust on floating shelf over head board; dripping shower head; pink stains on white pillow cases; stained bed sheets; black hair on the pillow cases; burn holes in sheets and comforter; only one night stand that didn't have a Bible in it but someones left over marijuana leaves; small area rug inside the room by the door that when my boot snagged the edge we saw that the carpet underneath was completely worn through to the plywood sub floor with a half inch nail sticking up; bathroom ceiling so filthy with cob webs and dust; water taps reversed; hot water changed back and forth from hot to cold while taking a 10 minute shower; bathroom window caked with who knows how many years of moisture gunk; curtains several inches too small for window. [...] We decided to look for anther motel/inn or some other place to stay and forfeit our cost for the Dansville Inn, but there was nothing around for 40 miles and all booked. We couldn't get a hold of the owners so we had not much other choice but to stay. We slept with our clothes on, on top of the covers and covered ourselves with our coats [and] had the ancient air conditioner that sounded like an remote controlled air plane running all night to drown out the constant dripping of the shower head. The only thing that kept us in the right mind set was the thought that Jesus was born in a manger so we could put up for one night. When the sun rays blasted through the short curtains we were up and out."
"In January 1971 I was driving from Alberta to Ontario through the U.S. I stopped at an average looking motel in Bagley, Minn. and paid $11 for my room. About midnight I awoke because my room was so cold. The heat was off and the thermostat non-functioning. No one answered the phone at the office, in fact it was completely dark inside. So I put all my clothes back on. That didn't help, so I put on my parka, touque and winter boots and got back into bed. I did get to sleep, sort of. The heat did come back on in the a.m., but I had to skip my shower and shave because the water pipes were still semi-frozen. I reported my experience to the lady at the front desk, who didn't seem to care what all the fuss was about. She suggested I could use the shower in the adjacent unit, as the occupant had just checked out. I went into the unit. Whoever spent the night there had the smelliest, rotten feet known to humankind, so I took a pass. I gathered my stuff and hit the road. If I had driven a further 20 miles or so I could have stayed in a number of decent looking places in the small city of Bemidji. My next stop was northern Michigan and my first words to the desk clerk were 'Do you have heat in the units?' She looked puzzled to say the least."
- Grandpa Pedro
"Our worst experience was in Jasper, New Year's Eve 2006 -- our wedding night -- in a $450/night exclusive cabin at Jasper's most famous and expensive 'Lodge.'
It was about -35 C with a wind and the heat failed in the whole facility. After ascertaining that there was not another room available in Jasper, we hurried into town and bought the last two baseboard heaters in the store, in what was at that point almost a survival situation.
The rest of our wedding night was spent jamming wood into the very decorative but largely ineffective fireplace and stuffing rolled up towels against the doors and window sills, both of which boasted 1/8" gaps.
Of course we cut our stay short, and while checking out at daybreak to go simply anywhere that had heat, the desk clerk said "Yeah, everybody's checking out." No mention of reimbursement or even a slip for a free breakfast. The breakfast buffet, incidentally, was priced at $50/plate. We didn't partake. And I'll sooner sleep on a Jasper Park Bench than a Jasper Park Lodge bed ever again."
"Last April I stayed at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Edmonton. Around midnight I woke up when someone tried to open my door. They kept inserting their key and of course the door would not open. I fell back to sleep and figured they probably had the wrong room. I was incorrect, about 10 minutes later someone is trying my room again, good thing I had the door latched because this time the door opens. At this point I tell them that the room is already occupied. I figure that would be it, but no! About five minutes after they leave my phone rings. The person at the front desk starts questioning me: what is my name, when did I check in, what is the name of the person who checked me in. Finally after about 10 minutes I get to try and go back to sleep. I awake in the morning, go for breakfast, back to my room and now the key does not work. Back down to the front desk to get the key working. I tell them the story, get my key working finally. I couldn't wait to check out and won't return to that property again."
"My worst hotel experience was in Hawaii in Waikiki at a beachfront hotel. We checked in, went up to our room and there were cockroaches everywhere: in the bed, on the walls, in the bathroom. We asked for another room and found the same experience in that room. This was a four star hotel. We ran to the nearby Sheraton and enjoyed a bug free holiday. No apology from the first hotel, nothing."
"Last fall, my boyfriend and I stayed at a hotel in Niagara Falls, Canada. It is right in the middle of things across from the Fallsview Casino. We've stayed here previously and had no problems, until this one stay. We waited to check in for more than 20 minutes. Finally, after a lengthy check-in process with a concierge who appeared to be using a computer for the first time, we got in our room. My boyfriend was just about to head into the bathroom for a shower when another couple walked in --thankfully, he was dressed -- but nonetheless the four of us were shocked. The couple was kind enough to go back to the front desk to get everything cleared up. I went with them to make sure everything was OK. We thought everything was fine until we went to check out the next day and we were charged for parking (although we didn't use the hotel lot) and an in-room movie, which we never rented. As soon as we got home, I contacted the general manager of the hotel who offered us a free night, but I don't think we'll be going back there again."
"Nothing like a beautiful drive through the mountains in B.C. in the summer for a relaxing trip. My wife and I decided to stay in Revelstoke at the Best Western there, rather than continue through the night as I was tired.
Great, they had one room left, we checked in and went to our room, looking for a nice rest. Upon pulling the sheets back I found a VERY unwelcome stain on the sheets. The kind that is referred to as a bacon strip. The hotel said they had no maids/staff to help and then offered us only 50% back on our room. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE!!!! Needless to say, we continued our drive."
The above comments are the readers' own opinions and do not reflect the views or opinions of Sun Media.