The worst hotel ever

I honestly can say this was the worst hotel I have ever stayed at. I could not believe it. I had read reports on TripAdvisor – real horror show reports about gungy hotels and bad service but this took the cake. I could not believe how I, with 25 years of travel experience, could end up in a dump like this. How did this happen?

I should have known when we had to drive up the twisty drive way which was full of leaves – nobody had bothered to sweep them. When the hotel itself came into sight – well that was a disappointment with a capital D. The website had described it as “cozy”. I should have known right away – a ephemism for old and decrepit. And yes it was.

Who in their right minds today still has shag carpet? In the reception area? It was tacky and grubby and looked like someone had taken a shag on it – ‘scuse my French. I should have turned on my heel right then but it was late. Behind the reception desk stood a tall man with glasses who was busy punching numbers into an adding machine – one of those old ones with the paper roll sticking out the end. We stood there patiently while he ignored us. Finally I coughed politely to get his attention.

His head whipped up. “Oh” he said with a sneer “You have a cough. Well maybe you shouldn’t be out in public. Are you sure you don’t have COVID?”

“I don’t have COVID or anything else” I said, annoyed. “Just trying to get some service here if it is not too much trouble”.

“Oh I beg your pardon madam” he said, his voice rich with sarcasm. He pushed away all the books and the adding machine and stood there with a false smile on his face. “What can I do to help?” It went downhill from there. I told him we had a booking for the night and he took 15 minutes to search down a list of names in his book. Where the hell was the computer? Finally he found our names and with a flourish checked them off the list and then passed over the key to the room – a massive heavy old fashioned key attached to a miniature bucket and spade adorned with the words “I love Bogstown by the Sea”. It was so large and cumbersome I could not even fit it into my purse. He sniggered. “You would be surprised how many people go home with the key by mistake and it costs us a fortune to get the locksmith in.”

I was committed now – for better or worse. And how much more worse could it get. Oh Lesley – don’t tempt the fates.

The bedroom was awful! Who uses candlewick bedspreads any more? And where was the bathroom? What the hell? A shared bathroom down the hall. Bloody hell. This was just getting worse and worse. We had to have something to eat as it was too far to get back into town and we were starving. Silly fools.

We made our way to the dining room and found that there was only one other couple having dinner and they must have been 110 in the shade. And lo and behold the waiter was the same man who checked us in. By all accounts he was a Jack of All Trades (and master of none). He passed us a menu and then proceeded to tell us that they were out of everything on the menu with the exception of Tripe and Onions. Seriously? Who eats tripe and onions these days? Yuck. So we settled for the soup of the day which was a strangely coloured slightly lumpy liquid with an indistinguishable taste. I couldn’t do it anymore. Just needed to go to bed and get out of this dump as soon as possible in the morning.

Good luck sleeping in this bed I thought as I sat on the side of the bed and then instantly fell into the sagging hole in the middle of the very old mattress. “Oh I don’t think I can do this” I said. But it was too late to go anywhere else. So I lay down in the hollow and then started to look at the ceiling. In each corner there was a cobweb filled with the spider’s dinner. A motley array of little creepy crawlies. There were also odd shaped coloured blobs on the ceiling which seemed to indicate a leak of some sort from the room above. The mind boggles.

Then I noticed the mice …. cheeky little buggers running around the room, darting out from under the dresser. I hate mice. What kind of place was this? But it got worse … because then I spotted the cockroaches and that was it! I absolutely could not stay here. I started to panic and I could feel the scream climbing up my throat. I couldn’t contain it any more and just opened my mouth and let out a blood curdling yell while ripping off the disgusting bedspread at the same time. I just had to get away.

I sat up and looked around the room. I was at home, in my bed. It was all just a dream. A horrible COVID dream. A horrible COVID nightmare that is. You see – this pandemic is driving me round the bend!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. I loved the story Leslie. All I could think of was where is this place. Never never going there. Thankfully it was just a dream. Keep up the good work. Love your stories.


  2. LOL! You got me! We have definitely stayed in horrible places in our travels – one in Australia (cockroaches!), one in Yugoslavia (we slept on top of the bed fully clothed and did our business outside – it was cleaner) and one on Vancouver Island (not sure she had cleaned in months). Oh the stories we have to tell!


  3. At least the bellhop could’ve made it entertaining for you. From the sounds of it, he was one set of fishnets and garters from Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you’re going to be creepy, at least have the decency to do the Time Warp for your guests.


  4. Leslie. Where the hell was this? Stayed in one of those when I was 20, but was likely too drunk to remember.

    Oh poop. Just read the last paragraph.


  5. As we try to describe our worst hotels or worst dreams, I actually stayed in a hotel in Ipoh, Malaysia about 40 years ago which had an ‘intrusion’ of cockroaches in the bathroom. The only way to deal with it at night was to turn on the light and give them a chance to vanish before using the bathroom. Quite a shock after staying in the Hilton in KL on the way there. Still, I supposed that this might be expected in a tropical 2nd or 3rd world country. 20 years later, I made sure that my agreement provided for suitable accommodation (not 5 star) in Mumbai with an expense account to match.


    1. I have actually experienced that – it is like a horror film. You switch on the light and they scatter. I can remember my sister experiencing something like this in Johannesburg. She saw one cockroach behind the hot water tank in the bathroom so stood on a stool, closed her eyes and sprayed Doom behind the water heater. When she opened her eyes the ceiling, walls and floor were just a seething mass of cockroaches. She is still damaged!


  6. That was fabulous. But it reminded me of a Gite in France. We had booked the room the night before. My friend and I were cycling from Annecy to Avignon. I can’t remember the hamlet, it was at the top of a steep hill. It was late – 9:30 – when we got there. When we looked at the room we were horrified. There was a mattress with dirty sheets on a concrete floor in a bare room. We immediately got on our bikes and rolled down as fast as we could to the larger town 5 km away before hotels closed their doors at 10:00 pm. We got there too late and ended up getting a room above the bar in a 1 star hotel. It was a great room, and it wasn’t noisy as we feared it would be. We were so lucky.


  7. Good one Lesley, you had me too. Itโ€™s all coming back to me now! A road trip with my husband to Manitoba when we were in our 20โ€™s. My husband preferred to drive well into the night โ€œLight trafficโ€. So we were stuck once we had a motel key. Too late, the gas station lights were out and the next town many hours away..
    I can laugh now!


  8. Oh my gosh Lesley …… you had me going, too. While I was reading it, I thought to myself “this must be the most horrible disgusting place” if even you couldn’t find one positive thing to say about it. You had some fun with this one! Love it!! Sweet Dreams!


  9. My wife & I sleep on the deck of a boat going to an island off coast Thiland a guy accross the way offered me wiskey and the bathroom was a squat


  10. Love it!
    We had a similar, and very real experience when we stayed at a supposed class 4 hotel!
    I must say, we were accompanying our Grandson on a hockey tour, we had mouldy rooms with pee peed mattresses and no air conditioning, the coach and his cronies stayed in air conditioned rooms!
    That coach will never put me as a team player after reciting the exact words from our reservation with assured us of decent accommodations.
    I did not offer to bail him and his cohorts out of jail after a bar fightโ€ฆwe were caring for the kids that their families left behind to enjoy the bar!
    Lol, the kids loved that Nana and Papa took care of them!


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