There was the Hotel Gambetta in Dieppe, France, (which I'm sure must translate to "Bates Hotel" in French). We'd just missed, literally, by seconds, the very last room at a perfectly respectable hotel down the block. The woman behind the desk actually apologized profusely when she sent us to the Gambetta. Once we got there, we understood why. We slept with the door locked and dead-bolted all night, and then abandoned the complimentary breakfast to get away as quickly as possible the following morning, prefering to return to the first hotel and pay for breakfast instead.
Then there was the hotel in a certain northern Israeli city many years ago where the staff was lovely, really friendly and helpful, albeit a bit surprised to have actual guests as opposed to the long-stay Romanian construction workers that were filling up the rest of the rooms, when they weren't busy filling up the lounge drinking bottle after bottle of cheap booze. Oh, and the bathrooms were down the hall, too.
There was the Hotel Metropol in Ankara, Turkey, where the heat only worked a few hours a day, in January, with temperatures well below freezing. I was there for
The hotel that stands out the most for sheer incompetence though has to have been a little inn I used to stay in when I went to Surrey (England) on business. My company's regional headquarters are for some obscure historical reason located outside of a fairly small village several miles past the middle of nowhere. The only lodging option was the rather grandly named Inn on the Lake, known locally as the Pub on the Pond. The Inn was everything you'd want in a quaint country inn - fairly quiet, period (facsimile) furniture, an attached pub that served halfway decent food... What it was not, however, was a business hotel. I once received a critically important fax printed on pink paper. Ok, pink, fine, whatever, but that paper was from their pile of SCRAP paper! The one side was my Very Important Document, and the other contained random pages from their employee handbook - things like the importance of smiling at the guests and cleaning the toilets on the proper schedule! Another time I stopped by the desk to check for messages and was told I had none. I happened to notice a message for a "Mr. Robbins" (my name is Robin, remember) in Room 11 from a Mr. B_ H_. I told the clerk that I believed the message was in fact for me. "Oh no ma'am, that is for Mr. Robbins." I then had to explain that unless my room had a ghost, I was in fact the only occupant of Room 11, and furthermore I was fairly confident that I was the only person Mr. B_ H_ knew within 600 miles of that hotel. Perhaps the message was meant for me, ROBIN, rather than some fictional Mr. Robbins? (They never did concede that one, but I went ahead and called him back anyway - from the pay phone in the hall, because in those pre-cellphone days my British room phone would not accept my British Telecom phone card!). Then of course there were my wakeup calls, which would only occasionally come during the same hour I'd requested them. The Inn was a nightmare for a traveler in need of a basic level of business services, but it was worth its weight in gold as future blog fodder.
I can't even tell you how glad I am that we stayed here for two nights this week instead.