Most hotel stays are uneventful and that’s a good thing. Occasionally you’ll have a memorable stay at a really nice place and other times you’ll endure a night somewhere that “did not live up to expectations” and that’s life.
Sometimes you win and find a hotel like Chambers Park Place in Leeds, UK.
Other times you end up staying at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum in London, UK – look at that modern telly, the spacious beds and the 12″ of space between the two. At least the TV worked during our second stay. Yes, we stayed there more than once. Totally not our fault – it was part of a package arrangement when we sang at the Royal Albert Hall.
However, there can also be the hotel you remember for the ONE thing that made it different or unique or just flat out weird. I’m not talking about cultural differences like a bidet or tea kettle. I’m talking about things you’ve never seen before.
With some contributions from people we’ve traveled with, here are some of the things we’ve found in hotel rooms that, to this day, make us scratch our heads in bewilderment.
Where’s the bathroom? – Taiseikan – Hakone, Japan
This was our first stay at a Ryokan in Japan. The room was huge and we arrived very late and very tired. We found the toilet room but we never could find the shower/bathroom (like, where’s the sink to brush our teeth). This picture is the hallway towards the backside of our room.
We even resorted to walking outside our room and seeing a room that looked like a bathroom with frosted windows that appeared to be connected to our room, but we couldn’t find a way to get into it. This lasted for the better part of a day.
One of us finally figured it out.
The sliding “lock” of the door was disguised as one of the wooden slats. The extra wear on this one should have been a clue, but who looks for a sliding wooden slat as a lock? To this day, it continues to be one of our most embarrassing hotel moments (Note From Sharon: Well, maybe it’s yours. This one is mine).
What’s with the orange dog? – Andaz West Hollywood – West Hollywood, CA
Welcoming you to every room in the Andaz West Hollywood is an orange dog sculpture. It’s actually a real sculpture by Finnish designer Eero Aamio, called Magis Puppy. The hotel will sell you one for $250 but you can also go online and buy one here for $89.
While we left the puppy where it was, other guests have been more imaginative. After seeing some of the pictures people have taken with the puppy, I’m glad we left it alone.
Who let the child into my room? – Ibis Styles London Kensington – London, UK.
A Facebook post from a friend of ours was the inspiration for this article.
I agree with them that this was an odd design choice for the entry door’s interior side to your room. I get that hotels want to be different and unique but that’s just weird, even for London. Considering that the rest of the room decor appears to be rather plain, this stands out as a focal point. I have to wonder if every room has the same picture or not? We may never know.
You had me at hammock – Eden House – Key West, FL.
One of our favorite places to stay in Key West is the Eden House. It’s got a relaxed vibe and staying there gets you into the spirit of the city. On one of our stays, we split a two-bedroom with one of our friends. Besides having a living room and a real kitchen, this was the most exciting thing about the room.
We had a sitting area outside the room with our own hammock. Sharon spent the better part of an afternoon sitting there reading (and napping). There were (and still are!) hammocks spread throughout the property but this one was special because it was in the shade, with a fan and it was ALL OURS!
You can’t refuse the offer to eat at this hotel restaurant – Village Hotel Swindon – Swindon, UK.
This one also comes from a friend. Apparently, this was the way the bedroom was prepared as he checked in.
When our friend told me about this picture, I asked to clarify why this was in their bed? At the time, the hotel had recently opened a Buca Di Beppo restaurant on the property and they really wanted you to eat there. For those of you not familiar with this restaurant chain in the US, it usually has a room for large parties, with a round table featuring a bust of the Pope. The chain changed the theming in the UK and instead of featuring the Pope (because you remember that thing back in the 1530s with Henry VIII and the Pope?) they have a Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) statue on the table. This makes the obvious reference to The Godfather movie clearer, but not any more comfortable.
Tacky sheik – Villa Montes Hotel – San Bruno, CA
There are many choices that a hotel makes when figuring out the design. I give the Villa Montes Hotel credit for making so many BOLD ones along the way.
Why yes, that is a fur (fake, thank goodness) bed runner. This was just one of many elements that make this hotel stand out from every other place we’ve ever stayed. From the lantern light fixtures with orange flickering bulbs in the hallway to the Buddhist-inspired indoor spa, this place (which has since gotten a refurb) was one of a kind. We stayed here for one night when we arrived because it’s close to San Francisco Airport. We needed a hotel to stay the night before our flight home (on the same trip) and you better believe we stayed here again. 🙂
The disco in the closet – Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa – Key West, FL
As we said in our review, we never did figure out why there was a color-changing party light in the walk-in closet of our hotel room, but there it was! Cats and boots and cats and boots and cats and boots and cats and boots!
I’m sure that’s safe – All of Cuba
I don’t want to call out a whole country, but we found more “questionable” wiring in this one room than I’ve otherwise seen in my whole life. I’m sure a licensed electrician did all of this work and it’s all up to code. Still, I wasn’t getting in that shower.
What does that lamp look like to you? – Doubletree Suites Times Square – New York, NY
I’m going to finish off this post with a question. What does this lamp remind you of? I’m not going to post what Sharon and I (in addition to several of our friends) think it looks like.
That’s my list, for better or worse. I had a blast writing this article. It’s the unique personal experiences that you get that make travel worthwhile.
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it’s really fun. I run hotel for years in Vietnam but all of the amenities must be followed the western standards.
the top pic in article is from Poconos resort fyi!!!.
That lamp looks like anal beads
And not ones for first-timers.
Seriously, you needed to mention that?….. not at all funny. Bathroom humor that 14-year-olds do.
You might want to look into those bathroom windows at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. They have slats in them and open into the room. As they let people in the room watch/hear/smell all your business, be sure to travel there with very close friends. There are lots of mentions of that design mistake on the Internet.
Three spring to mind, two on my stays and one in the news. One was in the Four Points Sheraton in Bentonville, Arkansas where there was a pair of very brightly colored child’s glasses on the white bed… which was freaky. The second was at a hotel I don’t recall the name of in Skopje Macedonia where, after being forced to climb 7 flights of stairs with a heavy case as the elevator didn’t work, I found a large stack of porn magazines on the bedside table. The third was the worst of all and fortunately didn’t actually happen to me, but happened at the motel opposite the building where I was working in Memphis. It happened at a motel where the going rate was $35/night or $105/week where, after a cold winter, housekeeping discovered a body in a boxspring!
The showers in some rooms at the Crowne Plaza Madrid Airport are smack in the middle of the room. Anyone in there is on display to anyone else in the room. The DoubleTree in Fuengirola in Spain used wooden blocks and other chunks of various materials as furniture, and the toilet was out in the hallway. It was so bad we checked out early and stayed somewhere else.