“Penthouse Rooms are located at the top floor. The privilege of balconies make the rooms more attractive. You can relieve yourself with a great view of Sultanahmet, Blue Mosque, St. Sophia while having a drink on your private balcony.”—Ferman Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey (Thanks Mia!)
Nuovo Albergo has a typical Italian hotel website - like someone’s kid brother got a hold of a discarded HTML book from 1998, and is now treated like the Bill Gates of his village. And once again, the photos tells a story much different than “Come stay here.” We’ll call this one, “Mafia Mystery on Acid”:
Concetta Nunziata receives an ominous warning from the local Mafia. Whether it’s her son lying unconscious on the bed or the painting of an angry phoenix is anyone’s guess.
Alone and scared, she heads to a seating area decorated by her dead grandmother and sees a ghoulish painting of herself on the wall. Are the eyes… following her?
She hears music playing in her dead grandfather’s old study. Is someone in the hotel with her?
Ye olde telephone is ringing! The sofa’s missing an arm! And is someone going to be setting the whole thing aflame soon?
She runs from room to room, looking for anyone who can help her, becoming dizzy from the clashing patterns…
…and her fragile hold on sanity finally breaks when the bed covers speak: “You’re forever trapped in this prison of fugly!”
I don’t know where this picture fits into the story, but WTF random?
She hears the far-off laughter of her lost son… and awakes to find herself in her dead grandmother’s sitting room once again. “You were having a nightmare, dear,” her husband says as he tickles their son, who collapses into giggles. She, too laughs, but then stares off in the distance as she swears she hears a gramophone playing…
Now, I know this isn’t technically a hotel, but I had to include it here because, while their name charmingly means “Window on Rome,” the only view they decided to show us was of my favorite thing: Hallways. This looks like the establishing shot for a Law & Order scene.
I’m not sure what we’re supposed to be focusing on here.
Do I need to present my hall pass to whomever will be sitting in that chair?
I think I know what happened here. Someone in management told a lackey to take a picture of a hotel room for something called a website, which he knew nothing about. But, being the dutiful employee he is, he grabbed his camera and a key, opened the door, snapped this picture and left.
When the pimply-faced night clerk saw this on the website (no doubt while looking for porn), he called up a friend who happened to be a budding photographer. The photographer swore he could do better, and they hatched a plan for him to come over and take totally awesome shots of the place. “Just leave it to me, my man,” the budding photographer said. “It’s all in the details.”
"BP," as our pimply-faced night porter called his friend, the budding photographer, "This is a hotel, not a gift shop. We need pictures of the rooms!" "Not a problem, my man," old BP said. "I brought along my enormous, plug-in lights." Little did pimple-face know, BP was going to use these shots in his instructional booklet, "How To Light A Room."
And you see kids, that’s why there’s gear in every single room shot on their website.
Another reader submission! Keep them coming, gang! The Red Rose Hotel in Chaing Rai is from Jason, who says, "It was an old short-time hotel, where you would park your car next to your room and they’d pull a curtain shut behind it. Then no one could see that you were out for afternoon delight with your secretary. Nowadays the rooms have drastically changed. Like Toontown vomited."
Now, Jason, come on, it can’t be… HOLY CRAP.
Am I ready for something different? Uh… what did you have in mind? Because I’m not a coke addict with ADHD, so I’m not sure this is my kind of different.
Thank God it is Chang Rai’s only amusement hotel; I’m not sure the public could handle two of them.
Shall we move onto the rooms, hilariously placed in a template called TOON TV and surrounded by a fake rock graphic and a kind of clip art version of a safari party, with a late-night infommercial operator… who’s blonde? Yes. Yes, let’s move right on.
This room is called BAKERY, although on the pic name it’s BERKERY. I guess that means it’s a berzerk bakery. Or just a bread oven in hell. Also, I want to note that this room’s actual name is “507,604,” which I hope is not the number people have had panicky, furtive sex in this room. Oh, and the rooms come with: 2 cups of coffee and karaoke.
I shit you not.
Remember the Hungry Hungry Hippo game we had when we were kids? No?
Thanks to the Adventure Room, now you do.
I was wondering to what extent the room above, called LOCO, would be crazy. Then I saw the picture, and now I’m traumatized for life. This room should be called REGRESSIVE THERAPY or FLASHBACK or BAD TOUCHES.
This next room… well, I think it’s kinda cool, although I’m not sure how comfy that mattress is, or how much I’d injure myself sliding down off of it.
Their Classic room looks like an air mattress laid out on someone’s front porch. And, it doesn’t come with karaoke, just the 2 cups of coffee. RIP OFF.
Moby Dick Oceanfront Lodge, Nanaimo, British Columbia
(Note: This appeared on the original WP blog, and I got a death threat* for it! I was also told that it’s since changed ownership, which we can only hope indicates a change in the website as well.)
I’ve got a doozy for you, sent in by faithful reader David. Hold on to your hats, matey, because the Moby Dick Oceanfront Lodge is coming for YOU.
One of these has to be true:
1. The boats are tiny little playthings in a kiddie pool.
2. The lobby is inaccessible by land. Or, possibly, at all.
3. The hotel rooms are enormous - but the first floor is fully submerged.
4. Those people on the path are in fact small children playing unattended, which frankly should not be allowed.
5. The border between the grass and the path is emitting radioactive light, or there’s a light dusting of snow in this otherwise summery scene.
Moving on to the activities section of this hotel website alerts the viewer to some horrifying picture/text combinations:
The caption under this picture on the website is: Dinner anyone? Which is what a really mean uncle would say to a small child upon showing them this horrible site. I love a good crabcake as much as the next girl, but no one needs to see their dinner suffering like that.
This next one is going to give me nightmares. Caption: Have you always wanted to jump off a bridge?
I can only conclude from the funhouse-style hotel structure to the ghoulish meal and suicidal activity schedule that no one gets out of Moby Dick Oceanfront Lodge alive.
(*”Youguys have nothing but trying shittiest to pick on someone else’s business website and whatever youguys are doing is such a bad idea. I will find out who the fuck youguys are and hire some sort of vietnamese gangs to fuck anyone whoever are female in your fucking family. then I would love to see your fuckin’ head chopped off and have all kinds of shit down in your fuckin’ neck, alright? Don’t go around and do things like that and if I ever get to see this kind of shit once more then since I know who the fuck you are and you better be careful…Thanks for the co-operation…”)
This hotel’s website is unique in that not only are there four completely different websites for the five languages they offer; each one is absolutely atrocious. I feel like a kid at Christmas. I don’t even know where to start. I guess we’ll go by language.
Italian - I want to say that this one was made in about 1992 and then forgotten; but I just checked and it was updated four days ago. That’s right: Someone logged in; looked at it; thought to themselves, “OK, everything looks good;” and then logged out and probably went for an espresso. Note animated flags; menu buttons too small for the text; ye olde rates table template; and the pictures… oh my eyes, the pictures.
English - That’s not a mistake; your screen has in fact finished loading. You have to scroll down past the sidebar menu to get to the actual web page. Sigh. On this one, it’s the translation fun that stands out for me:
The hotels family run has blen recently restructured and room perfectly arranged are with private bath, TV color, air conditional, safe box. Parching and change are adjacent to the hotels in Rome.
French and German - Ah, here we see the artist coming of age. And, my favorite CCTV hallway shot makes a comeback. Seriously - hallways? Really? Is there anywhere in a hotel you spend less time?
Spanish - I’m tempted to say this is like the English page, except there is the strange yelllow screen at the top, and the .gif was added to this page where on the English it’s just one sad, lonely picture.
Now, this place is a one-star. And that’s OK. But could you have maybe skimped on the ridiculous, midlife-crisis plasma screen TVs and instead paid a halfway decent web designer to whack this crap into shape?
What is it about this picture on the Tour Hotel’s home page that reminds me of the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?
I’m not refuting that the hotel, the landscaping, the hot air balloon and the girl on the bike exist. I am, however, highly skeptical that they were all in frame at the same time. I’m also unsure why this otherwise bucolic, if entirely contrived, scene needed clip art of white birds arriving from behind that tree like the fricking Luftwaffe.
However, let us set aside questionable photography so that we may turn our attention to a source of endless amusement for me: English translations from French. Let’s take a look at some of these Gallic gems:
Two family rooms with bunk beds (90 cm). The bunk beds are disadvised to the teenagers of more than 50kg. It is imperative to communicate the age of the children at the time of your reservation.
…and apparently, their weight. Because you know the French will have no trouble telling your little princess she is too fat for ze boonk bed.
Two communicanting rooms COMFORT ** PRIVATIVE
I don’t know what communicanting is, but it seems that it’s important to do it in privativity and comfort.
two Triple rooms has three beds separated for adults and bateenagers
Verb agreement aside: Do bateenagers need beds?
You will find yourself wandering freely on foot
…and you will have no idea why.
a meeting room for up to 15 people, with a flip chart.
Oh my God, Martha! They have a flip chart! You can stop working on that PowerPoint presentation.
So that you can relax completely and forget your day to day worries, the hotel is entirely non-smoking
For smokers? Not so relaxing; not so worry-free. My friend Matt had another take on it: “Do they mean the hotel isn’t currently smoking, as in it isn’t actively on fire? Because that would indeed keep my day-to-day worries about dying in a hotel fire at bay.”
room of 15 m2 TV channel + sat Tnt Wifi Gratuit Phones room of bath in very rooms Toilet Séche hair
Is the Tour Hotel website some sort of conduit for coded messages between spies? Because if they are, I am totally booking a room.
(I know I’ve been hating on French hotel websites recently. Just so you know… that’s probably not going to stop anytime soon.)
There is some right, but so much wrong with this website; and yet, if I were booking a trip to Budapest, I must confess I would be tempted to stay here. And do you know why? Because they use people in their pictures - lots and lots of people - and every single one of them is having the time of their lives:
There are couples! Families! An astonishingly pale emo kid! Everyone’s a winner at Hotel Oswaldo. Just leave your dark blue rubber sandals at the steps and come right in! (But beware of sketchy pedos with the kiddie inner tubes.)
While there are many people in this picture, I’m not sure why they’re all hiding in the back of the room. Are they planning a surprise for that little boy? Do women have to eat in the corner? Have all sensible people fled the terrifying, and possibly alive, dining room decorations? (If you’ll recall, this seems to be a trend in Budapest.)
Although the hotel claims to be
In the center of Budapest,South Pest XX. district.close to XIX. Kispest, XXIII. Soroksár, XXI.Csepel, XVIII. Pestszentlorinc,Pestszentimre
It also claims to be
half-way from the airport to the downtown
As well as a
familiar, garden suburb atmosphere
Which, while terribly confusing, is why I am assuming this picture of what appears to be a 70s-era housing development outside San Diego appears on their website:
Quick, hide the pot! Dad’s home early!
It might also explain why this room, while unsuitable for a hotel, would be AWESOME as the bedroom of a 16-year-old girl:
"Ever since I got this sweet setup in the basement, I can have friends over whenever I want."
With a name like that, you know I had to check it out. And, just as I suspected, SuperHotel’s website did not disappoint. I have so many items to cover, I actually needed to make a list.
1. The words FEDERAL HOTEL appear much larger than the actual hotel’s name, which was confusing. Further research determined that FEDERAL HOTEL is a site that books hotels throughout France - and no doubt will be the source of many, many more Unfortunate Hotels.
2. This also means FEDERAL HOTEL is to blame for the nausea-indusing green color scheme of the SuperHotel’s site.
3. I don’t care how fast you drive - you cannot, as the site insists, get to “Roissy-Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport in 2 minutes on the ringroad via Porte de Bagnolet.” Nor is the 20th arrondissement “very conveniently located.” However, there is a “car-park with secutity (sic) guards 50 yards aways (sic).” It is not specified whether the car park is 50 yards aways, or the secutity guards are 50 yards aways.
4. The hotel owner went to Reno in 1974, and LOVED IT.
Oooooh, we have another tricky one here, as compared to prior entrants their website looks positively sublime - non-jarring flash photo sequences, muted colors, navigable menu. Even the pictures are well-produced.
What’s in the pictures, however, tells another story - and this is why their website makes the Eur Suite Hotel an Unfortunate Hotel.
If you’re not familiar with Eur, it’s a neighborhood in Rome that was entirely built by Mussolini in a style I like to refer to as “Early Fascist.” Therefore, I wasn’t expecting the exterior to be any great shakes - and it turns out I was right. So, why highlight it?
The perpetual night of a fascist regime… or Pittsburgh.
Next up, an extremely flattering picture of a tiny, tiny room that shows an example of a disturbing trend I’ve noticed - the eternally wrinkled bedspread. Also, I’m not sure what kind of work you’re supposed to do at that desk back there.
So tiny, they had to show part of another room just to fit it into the template.
Not everything is so Plain Jane at this hotel, however. Do you notice the recurring theme in these photos?
Renaldo’s House of Patterned Fabric! Free Oriental rug with every 1,000 meters sold.
Sorry, the dining room is full. Would you care to eat in the lobby? By yourself?
Ladies’ night - sit in a red chair and your next drink is free! And from my friend Matt: “Maybe you drag your chair up to the bar, sit there and tip your head back so the bartender can just pour the drink into your mouth.”
While I’ve never stayed in the Hotel Sonya, I am familiar with its location in Rome. That’s why I find their website a bit misleading - it’s not, as you would think, a photo of the hotel on their home page; rather it is a picture of the view from the hotel, of the Teatro Nazionale and its palm-filled piazza.
Despite this bit of hocus-pocus and the fact that their website looks a little like your browser has not yet fully uploaded the page, I must say that the pictures are not that bad. So, why include it among our collection of Unfortuante Hotels, you ask? Well, as always, there are a couple of things. First up is the price list:
Those are some pretty different numbers we’re seeing there. And their use of the word “could” in their explanation is hilarious:
By way of example the month of January is a period of low season during that period we could apply the minimum rates; on the month of May, considered highest seasonwe could apply the higher rates.
Oh, I’m sure you could - but will you? Or maybe the pricing is more about which room could be available to you at the time of reservation. We have this, a mixture of sleek and stately:
And the hotel room version of the red-headed stepchild, here:
Now, I like their honesty - but really. If you see the first room on the website and you arrive to find the second room, you know you’re going to march straight down to the desk with your laptop screen open, pointing to the first picture and doing the universally recognized “WTF?” shrug until you get your way.
The thing I do love about these photos, however, is the lesson it could teach to the less savvy hotel owners of the world. If you take a moment, you’ll notice that these two rooms are almost identical. But while the first picture makes the room seem large with a tasteful, muted color scheme, the second serves only to highlight the taco-shell mattresses, the cramped quarters and the nauseating green of the bed covers. Interesting, no?
I still think you should go down to the desk with your laptop, though. In your pajamas. After emptying the entire contents minibar. Hotel employees love that.
The Albergo del Golfo’s website is actually quite nice. The photos don’t make me queasy or give me a seizure, the color scheme is lovely, and the article ain’t half bad for an SEO piece, either. But, as always, the truth is in the photo gallery. Sigh.
Buckets of blood, second floor. Again with The Shining. What is it with hotels trying to scare me with their haunting photos? Also, has anyone in the history of travel ever chosen a hotel based on a photo of a hallway? Third, STRAIGHTEN YOUR PICTURES.
Let’s move into the dining ro—WHOA:
I’ve seen this kind of interior design before - in social clubs designed by South Philly Italian grandmothers. It could be such a wondeful room, with the dramatic lighting, soaring arch and stately window - but, as is the custom in southern Italy, their thinking is a bit intensely focused on DON’T SPILL. My friend Matt says: “How many children’s umbrellas from the 1970s had to die to make those?”
TURN EVERYTHING ON AND PLUG EVERYTHING IN RIGHT NOW. Switches and plugs everywhere! And what is that on the desk, an adapter that’s trying to get away? I’m not sure what one would do with a plug immediately inside the doorway, but I’m sure it will be put to good use somehow.
Perhaps my eye was drawn to all these little wall critters because of the utter lack of art in the room.
No, you know what, it’s just a weird room. You’ve got some serious lighting and crown molding going on, and what seems to be beautiful if busy and possibly cold flooring, maybe marble. Why not run with that drama theme instead of depriving a monastery of its furniture?
The lack of art was not the only thing that drew me to the following photo, however:
The railing on the back wall is:
1. Left over from when it was a dance studio.
2. To help the olde folke get another whiskey soda.
3. Absolutely necessary, since the room seems to be on a sinking ship.
The Mitre Suites Hotel home page is… well, it’s kind of cute, actually. Simple, but not anonymous. There’s a bit of flair going on. And it’s OK that I click on “English” and am given Spanish. I’m down with that.
But little did I know that by clicking on the photo gallery, I would be taken to a CCTV feed of a room awaiting its next kidnapping victim. I can only assume that’s what it is, since the gallery appears to be still-frame footage taken in 10-second intervals, thus repeating the startling images over and over again.
Bread and water will be served through a slit in the door. The TV is showing the kidnappers making their demands. Or perhaps he is brainwashing his captives with dogma. And I’m not sure what that tiny, lonesome picture is doing all the way up by the ceiling. Is it covering a vent, or perhaps a recording device?
Soon we will be free of our captors.
The only thing I can say about this room is that at least the tiny painting is centered above the nightstand. I’m not sure what the person who would sit in the chair behind the TV table could possibly accomplish by doing so, unless maybe it is not a TV, just a box with a screen, and the person has to fake being a TV program to make the children forget they’re hostages in an international crisis. There’s probably not a lot of entertainment in captivity.
Because I’m classy, I’m not going to mention the bathroom wall. I’ll leave that to you, faithful readers. And if you wanted to tackle the stained grout on the floor, I won’t stop you.
First, we need a scorecard to tally up the famous cities in the name of this hotel. The Hotel Liège Strasbourg is not, as you would think, either in Liège or in Strasbourg; it’s near the Gare de l’Est in FRICKING PARIS. Second - nice website, right? Well then, let’s take a look at what… the hell… is that an OLD MINITEL?
This is where the Internet was invented.
And don’t blink, because you’ll miss the bar:
"I’m sorry, I couldn’t see you past this ENORMOUS BOUQUET OF FLOWERS. Did you want a cocktail?" Holy mismatched furniture holding what appears to be the most random assortment of beverages in Paris. And how thirsty would you have to be to sit directly underneath the bartender, blowing smoke up into his face as you try to have a private conversation?
But wait, there’s more:
Buy three, get the fourth bed free! Who on earth would stay in this room other than The Waltons? Goodnight, John Boy!
They fished their site out of the bottom of a Cracker Jacks box. And at any moment, I’m expecting the twins from The Shining to come through these doors:
"Come play with us, Danny…" Seriously, how terrifying are those doors? You can put all the rattan chairs and house plants in front of it that you want, but there’s no way I’m going through those doors.
Oh, Hotel Agumar. You try so hard with your professional looking, tiny tiny website. Perhaps you thought the peephole size of your pictures could shield the potential guest from THIS!
First off, there is happy, brilliant sunlight knocking on heaven’s door there behind those curtains. Why not let it in?
Secondly, the doctor will see you now. I can only assume this is in fact a hospice, and the website got lost in translation. I’ll give you the tip-off - the two chairs in visitor formation, and the apparent PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF A SOUL TRAPPED FOR ALL ETERNITY in this room. Do you see it there, hovering just next to the nightstand? It’s a SOUL.
Oh, and this is a four-star hotel. I weep for the traveler.
With the KRIS Tribuna, we have yet another egregious hotel website featuring stock photos for what appears to be either a New York Times subscription pitch or a corporate mergers and acquisitions firm. Perhaps the lack of space in the rooms shown on the site is simply a ploy to get you to visit one of their 866 dining areas:
This one is for breakfast only, as it surely doubles as an airport waiting lounge later in the day.
No time for decorations! You’ve got to move to the next room for dinner!
Those aren’t paintings; they’re portholes to other dining rooms you’ll be eating in tomorrow.
The Hotel Benczúr has a pretty classy website. Sure, it’s a little bit busy; but I’ve definitely seen worse. However, I hit paydirt with the photo gallery:
Not even sunlight can penetrate the event horizon of sadness. This photo is particularly disturbing to me, as I am an ardent supporter of “sunlight on the bed” photos on hotel websites. But here the sunlight only serves to highlight the lumpy, taco-shaped mattresses and unappealing nicotine-blue highlights of the room.
"Only the finest coat liner for your duvet, madame." Oh, my. I’m not sure what happened here. Perhaps they were going for jewel tones, what with the teal carpet and cherry red chair (that you just know becomes a bed).
The Hotel Gambetta actually looks pretty decent. They’ve gone some nice work in the common areas. But I’d like to call your attention to 1) the alarming slope of this room’s ceiling; 2) the sad, sad state of that curtain; 3) the feeling that no amount of Bordeaux’s finest could make you feel at home in this cold, cold room.
The website might fool you at first - beautiful color scheme, high-end photos, flash galore. The dining room is fit for a wedding reception, and the lobby has obviously had a makeover in the last decade. But not even the fade-in on the artfully cropped photos can save these sad, sad rooms. Perhaps the hotel should have spent less on a web designer, and more on basic room refurbishment? Just a thought.
Paper-thin bed cover, now in baby spew green
My kingdom for a staple gun. And what’s that lump on the far pillow?
This room has a lot of features, but a bed is not one of them
This is the photo that pushed me over the edge and led me to start this blog:
From their website, which looks like an ad for an as-yet-unapproved pharmaceutical:
Located in an exclusive and quiet neighborhood of Sanremo, peral of the Italian Riviera, the 4-star Nyala Suite Hotel offers an elegant and functional accomodations with first class service in a highly relaxing atmosphere.