Food poisoning, lost limbs and mental breakdowns are just some of the added "extras" you're warned about at the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam, the self-proclaimed worst hotel in the world.
Its reverse-psychology advertising campaign includes slogans such as "It can't get any worse. But we'll do our best", and its website triumphs: "It's a cheap, dirty, cold, poorly lit youth hostel in Amsterdam.... It has been disappointing travellers for 40 years. Boasting levels of comfort comparable to a minimum-security prison"
The hotel, which claims to be a "cheap, dirty cold" youth hostel offering "mediocre, cheap accommodation" says it has "spectacularly un-spacious suites, each of which does not feature a flat screen TV, a double bed or free access to our non-existent swimming pool an spa area."
Anyone in search of eco-friendly hotels in the city would do well to choose it, as it saves a bundle on washing. There aren't any towels; instead, guests are advised to use the curtains to dry off. And the fact that the lift is permanently broken means that lots of energy is saved there, too.
Critical acclaim on the site includes:
"What can I say? It was cheap. But not that cheap. I mean, a bus shelter offers the same facilities."
– Charlotte, Texas.
"What is that smell? I demand to know what that smell is."
- Lisa, Oklahoma.
Amazingly, it looks like this "honest" approach works. The hotel says business is booming, with a high percentage of the hotel's 511 beds in 127 rooms occupied year-round...
Have you stayed in this hotel, or are you thinking of booking in? Tell us your opinions below!
- Charlie Sheen is in the room next door
Worse still, a hell-raiser like Charlie Sheen on the same floor could cause you a sleepless night. At a 2010 visit to the Plaza Hotel, he hit the headlines for going on a drink-and-drug fuelled rampage involving a porn star and a trashed hotel room... Nice.</p>
- There's screaming in the corridors
For some of us (especially those of us escaping from our children), a night in a hotel is the only chance we get for a good night's sleep, so it's annoying enough to be disturbed by any noise, but when you're being kept awake by sounds of screaming and/or gunshots, it's definitely time for an early check-out. One hapless traveller staying in a US hotel was woken by the sound of voices screaming 'Open that exit! Open that exit!'. She gathered her things and fled, only to find a class of flight attendants practising emergency drills in the corridor.</p>
- The other guests are Not of This World
Organised murder mystery weekends at country house hotels are one thing, but when you turn up at a remote hotel and the manager proudly tells you about the famous ghost that haunts the premises, you might want to pack your bags. Although, according to <a href="http://www.paranormaldatabase.com/" target="_blank">paranormal </a><a href="http://www.paranormaldatabase.com/" target="_blank"><span class="s1">database.com</span></a> (and we'll leave it to you to decide how reliable a source of information that is), there's a hotel in Amersham in Buckinghamshire where the ghost of an old maid will actually pack your bags for you...</p>
- The brand new hotel you've booked is so new that it's still being built
Ah, the wonders of Photoshop... Many an innocent traveller has been lured into booking in to a stunning new hotel based on pictures that have conveniently erased all traces of the cranes and diggers which still surround it. One such guest recently stayed at the Ganjeli Plaza Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan (of recent Eurovision fame) to find it 'still being built, complete with drilling at odd hours' and 'terrifying electrics'. Our top tip? Check out Google Earth to see how it <i>really</i> looks.</p>
- There are other people's body parts in your room
Obviously, we don't mean actual limbs (although this would, without doubt, be an indicator of a bad hotel), but when you can tell the previous guest's hair colour, nail length and type of contact lens from physical clues left in the room, leave. And don't get us started on hair. There are things that are meant to be hairy: cute dogs, Tom Jones' chest, Highland cows... and then there are things that just shouldn't. The bar of soap in your hotel bathroom is one of them.</p>
- You're not the only living things in the room
I once stayed in a five star hotel in India to find a massive (small dog-sized) rat crouching behind my pillow. The fact that the complimentary fruit and chocolates had been nibbled by someone other than me should have been a warning. Eventually, housekeeping caught the gigantic rodent, but it didn't make for a great night's sleep.</p>
- The kettle/TV is nailed to the table so you can't nick it
It tells you a lot about a hotel's clientele when the establishment has obviously learnt by experience that anything not nailed down will be nicked. Like that they're probably more used to the environs of a prison cell than a hotel room. But even the best hotels are susceptible to the klepto customers - The Scotsman in Edinburgh reports clocks off the wall and coffee makers going walkabout...</p>
- There's a large group of women in pink cowboy hats in reception
Hen and stag dos are great when you're actually on them, but for innocent bystanders caught in the vortex, they can be a living nightmare. A guest at the Andalucia Plaza hotel in Marbella described on TripAdvisor 'drunk men, shouting, swearing and shameful behaviour. The security guard dragged one male away after he was waving his little friend around at the pool side cafe.' It's enough to put you off your chorizo boccadillo. Avoid.</p>
- A celebrity checks in
Staying in the same hotel as both Rihanna and Justin Beiber (who recently stayed in the same hotel in Sydney) may sound like a pretty thrilling prospect if you're a teenage girl or boy, but for the average guest sharing a roof with a huge celebrity, it just means manic security, hassled staff, crowds of screaming press and pre-pubescents - and the certain knowledge that someone else has bagged the best rooms.</p>
- They charge by the hour
When you arrive and the leering receptionist asks you how many hours you'd like the room for, you can be pretty sure it's not the classiest hotel in the area.</p>