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This is a question Hotel Splendido

Enzyme writes, "what about awful hotels, B&Bs, or friends' houses where you've had no choice but to stay the night?"

What, the place in Oxford that had the mattresses encased in plastic (crinkly noises all night), the place in Blackpool where the night manager would drum to the music on his ipod on the corridor walls as he did his rounds, or the place in Lancaster where the two single beds(!) collapsed through metal fatigue?

Add your crappy hotel experiences to our list.

(, Thu 17 Jan 2008, 16:05)
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Floody French
A few years ago I went on a cheap camping holiday with some friends in France. The first few days were excellent as we basked in the sun and drank numerous beers.

However, one morning we awoke to find our camp site had turned into a lake during the previous evening’s thunderstorm. To this day I have no idea how none of us woke up on what must have been a howling night. We were all sleeping on those camp beds that are about 1-2 ft off the ground and this is where the water had risen. Everything was sodden… absolutely everything. We abandoned the tent and set off through the water in no particular direction. It was an absolute nightmare and we didn’t know where to go. The local town was in a complete mess as the river had burst its banks and poured into the streets. All local transport had shut down so we headed off to higher ground.

It took us a good few hours but we eventually stumbled upon a small town. It felt like we had been transported from a comfortable/modern European/internationalised 21st century/ cultural exchange trip into rural medieval France. The sky was a dark grey and the summer heat had been replaced by a harsh wind. As we trekked along the cobble streets we noticed that everything was bolted closed. Eventually we came across a small hotel… and here comes the relevant part.

Did you ever see ‘Allo’Allo? No, me neither. Anyway, do you remember the old grandmother that used to live upstairs? (If not, imagine an 85 year old bat shit crazy French woman). This was the owner of the hotel… which was basically her very old house. Most people in the world would have looked at us with moderate sympathy… like four young kittens that had just escaped drowning. The old woman took an immediate dislike to these dirty English youths and sneered at us. I tried to explain to her in French that we weren’t English (we were Scottish – auld alliance my arse) but she ignored us.

“Only 1 room.” (in French)
“Err ok we’ll take it “
“Only double”
“Err ok we’ll take it”
“No men together”
“Only 1 person can have the room”

Two people had lost all their money so we were going to need to share anyway. This wasn’t a problem for us but she was making it quite clear only one of us was getting in that room. We were sly bastards though so one of us booked the room and the others disappeared for an hour before breaking in through the back window.

The ‘hotel’ itself was something I’d imagine was near the front line trenches of WW1: No towels, no bath/shower, one sink with a dripping tap, no curtains, no carpet, no bed sheet… no bed. It was a hollow excuse for a room with an empty bed frame and two wooden chairs. We changed into some partially dry clothes and jumped out the window to get some alcohol.

The evening made the day bearable as we wound up in an old pub and drank our sorrows away. With a few beers in us we crept back into the rustic charm of our hotel and drifted off to sleep. The next morning I woke up hearing two sets of raised voices. One belonged to my friend and the other to the hotel owner. She had unlocked the door at 6am and came into our room whilst we were still asleep. She then proceeded to wake up my friend by poking him in the balls with her cane. She then started shouting at us in some of the most horrific sounds I’ve ever heard in my life. When she began to throw stuff at us we all made a quick exit out the window and ran out of the town never to return.

It remains one of my most favourite stories to tell. When keeping in contact with that particular group we always wonder two things. “Did we actually go back in time?” and “Do you think she would have provided a breakfast?”

The cane was bigger than her.
(, Wed 23 Jan 2008, 6:25, Reply)

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