Travelers Reveal Their Most Terrifying Hotel Experiences
It’s not so uncommon to have a subpar hotel experience at one point or another. Some hotels aren’t great when it come to services, amenities, or cleanliness, but others are downright scary. If you’ve ever had an experience in a sketchy hotel, you’ll know that those memories stick with you. And it turns out, you’re not alone.
The good people of Reddit have come together to share some of the most terrifying hotel experiences they’ve had. Whether it’s creepy hosts, people watching them, or unexpected critters, some of these are sure to encourage you to read those reviews a bit more carefully before making your next booking…
I once stayed at a hotel in Korea that was apparently close to a driving range. The range didn’t have a net, or at least a sufficiently expansive one. One night, my wife and I were lounging in bed watching TV, and a golf ball comes hurtling into our window…
Luckily it didn’t come through, but it freaked us out for sure. Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep that night. We requested a room change the next morning, and I’m almost sure that the hotel clerk was chuckling while processing our request. Reddit User: [Redacted]
Exterminators Coming Through
I was traveling in Burma once, and got a call from the front desk of my hotel asking me to switch rooms in the middle of the night. I was annoyed, but did it anyway. It turns out they were gassing every room on my floor to exterminate bed bugs. Another couple down the hall didn’t wake up when called, and ended up with serious lung injuries from the gas.
I can’t believe the hotel staff didn’t keep track of which rooms had guests in them. The bed bugs are bad enough, but gassing your guests is next-level crazy. I’m sure that hotel got sued for that. Reddit User: chiefkhump
While traveling with my brother, we used to watch scary movies at night. One time we watched the Shining, and halfway through the movie, we heard someone try to enter a keycard into our door. Then, we heard the handle jiggle, and someone started trying to force the door. We were truly terrified.
Turns out the front desk just gave some poor couple the wrong room number for their key. That was probably the best way to watch The Shining though. We were extra freaked out. Reddit User: helpicantchooseauser
Back in the 1990s, I visited Beijing for work. After a long day at the office, I took a long shower and laid out, naked, on my bed to air dry. The windows and curtains were closed, and the door was shut. I never anticipated an issue. Then, I heard the phone ring, and an anonymous voice politely asked me to put some clothes on.
Those crazy people were watching me. I guess I should’ve anticipated that there might be cameras in the room, given the time and the place. Nonetheless, I was pretty shook. I never went back to that hotel again, that’s for sure. Reddit User: takatori
While traveling in New England, I stayed at a cute little bed and breakfast run by a kind older woman. She made the best omelettes for breakfast. The only weird thing is that we seemed to run into her in the hallways and living rooms all the time. It was at the level where we assumed she might be keeping tabs on us to know when we left our rooms.
She also seemed to make shockingly pertinent conversation, even knowing what we talked about in private. Either the walls were super thin, or she was a ghost. That lady still creeps me out when I think about her. Reddit User: redraymus
A Smelly Surprise
I used to be in a punk rock band, and would stay in hotels when we traveled around the world. We always stayed in different hotels, and I always had my own room with my own key. We rarely had the same groupies on different tours.
Twice, in two different cities, separated by many years, I came back after a show and found a turd in my shower. I have no idea how the turd got there, who laid it, or what they meant by it. I never found out. Reddit User: whytakemyusername
The Tickle Monster
Back when I was 12, my family took me on a vacation to Europe. While we were in Italy, we stayed at a hotel with an absolutely lovely indoor pool. My mom was talking to some other parents, when an older gentleman came up to me, told me I was adorable, and just started tickling my feet.
I didn’t think anything of it, but when my mom saw, she flew into a rage and scared the man off. In retrospect, that experience was super weird. I guess I can appreciate the innocence of childhood, when I didn’t even know what “weird” meant. Reddit User: roseofhammerfell
When I was in my teens, I went to Vegas with my parents and younger brother. We got a lovely suite, and had a great time. One night, though, I fell asleep early, and when I woke up, I had somehow ended up in a hotel stairwell with no shoes or socks, and no memory of how I got there.
I wasn’t drunk, and I had never sleepwalked before. To this day, my parents don’t know that this happened, and I never got an explanation for it. Just wrote it off as the oddities of youth, I suppose. Reddit User: mcgrumpy_pants
I traveled to Nicaragua recently with some buddies. We picked a reasonably-priced and clean hotel, and figured there wouldn’t be any issues. Little did we know. When we got to the room, we found massive spiders everywhere. Apparently they weren’t poisonous, but the same was not true of the scorpions.
We tried to drink our terror away, but the final straw was when I felt a tickle on my neck, and it was a massive scorpion. We requested a move to the top floor and the problem got better, but there was no escaping them altogether. Reddit User: crow_man
I was staying on a high floor of a hotel one time, and had a great view of the parking lot. One evening, I saw someone going around from car to car with a clothes hanger, breaking in, and stealing radios. I immediately called the front desk to report it.
Then, I went to watch the hotel security guard chase the thief around the parking lot for 10 minutes. In the end, I’m sad to report the thief got away in his car with a big bag of radios. I wonder if the hotel ever reported the events to the actual cops. Reddit User: han-tyumi666
Beware Of Your Neighbors
I stayed in a pretty well-known hotel in London with my wife. It has a modern design, but one older aspect is that the rooms still have doors leading to the rooms next door (so that individual rooms can become suites). One night, I woke up and thought I saw a shadow moving around the room, but thought nothing of it.
Then, the next day, I woke up and realized that the room leading next door was ajar. I guess our neighbors had been walking around our room in the middle of the night. Nothing was missing from our room, but boy, talk about a creepy situation. Reddit User: jack3tp0tat0
A Comforting Thief
Once, I stayed in a youth hostel in Tel Aviv, and my wallet got stolen while I was asleep. I’ve had things stolen on other occasions, but this one was particularly weird. I remember being woken up by some rustling in the middle of the night, but a gentle, soothing voice told me not to worry, and to go back to sleep.
Being stupid and suggestible, I listened. The thief was so nice and soothing that I couldn’t help but listen. I suppose it’s better that I wasn’t awake to remember being robbed, but I do wish I’d had the chance to stop the thief. Reddit User: stirls4382
DIY Rat Murder
While staying at an Econolodge in Baltimore once, I noticed rat droppings in my room. I prayed and hoped that the dropper wouldn’t appear, but on my second night, I also saw a little snout and whiskers poking out from under my bed. I reported it to the front desk, and just got a long sigh over the phone. Later, I got a visit to my room from housekeeping with a box of rat poison and the instructions: “Sprinkle this if you want to kill them.”
I did sprinkle the poison, but I have little faith that it did anything. Rats are smart bastards, and I’m pretty sure they just survived, eating the room service leftovers people placed outside their doors. Hotels are pretty good food spots for rats, I suppose. Reddit User: yannoneyams
While on a cross-country road trip, I stayed in a simple highway hotel. As usual, I requested a non-smoking room. When I got into the room, I noticed a faint odor that I assumed was stale tobacco smoke. I was tired, so I went to sleep and decided to ask the front desk in the morning.
When I woke, I reached over to the phone and felt what I thought was a pen on the table. Turns out it was a pipe. And not just a normal tobacco pipe, it was a crack pipe. I ended up getting a full refund on the room, of course. Reddit User: The_King_slayah
Sometimes The Simplest Dilemma Is The worst
There are tons of bizarre hotel horror stories, but the truth is that bed bugs are simply the worst thing that can happen to you. The one time it happened to me, it was truly awful. My husband and I woke up with tiny red dots all over our upper arms and backs, and they itched like hell. The hotel staff refused to acknowledge anything was even wrong.
It took us months to get rid of the infestation, which naturally rode home with us on our clothes and bags. We had to heat treat our entire house, and throw out everything perishable. That hotel was terrible, and we never got refunded even a little bit. Reddit User: [Redacted]
Mysterious Hard Sheets
My wife and I checked in to a hotel once, and the bedsheets were literally stiff with dried bodily fluids. You could probably pick up the blanket at the foot of the bed and crack it in half over your knee. All I’m thankful for is that the room didn’t have any black lights or ways to see what we ultimately ended up sleeping on.
I think I showered for over an hour once I got home. It was an absolute nightmare, and I’m so happy it never happened to me again. I will absolutely never go back to that hotel. I feel like that kind of service should be illegal. Reddit User: GodsMistress
The Lord Doesn’t Want You To Sleep
I stayed at a hostel in Italy right next to the town center in the little village I was visiting. I figured it would be the perfect location–within walking distance from all the main sights. Unfortunately, it was also right next to the town’s church, and the bell tolled literally every single hour, all night.
I am pretty sure some heavenly power didn’t want us to sleep that night. And, as is usually the case for heavenly powers, it got what it wanted. I don’t understand how other locals are able to sleep next to churches all over the place. Reddit User: -Dastardly-
Ants In The Sink
When you’re using a new sink in an unfamiliar bathroom, it’s nice to assume that the drain only goes in one direction. You don’t want anything to come out, and if it does, you certainly don’t want to see it. That wasn’t the case at one hotel I visited.
I was brushing my teeth in the sink and when I turned the water on, a stream of large ants flooded out of the drain to escape the deluge. I screamed and ran out of the room in boxers and a bathrobe. We immediately packed our bags and checked out. It was awful. Reddit User: Meganebahia
I traveled to Mumbai for a work trip once, and stayed in a luxurious, but low-rise hotel in the north of the city. Every single morning, a small monkey would hop onto my windowsill and bang on the glass with its fists until I woke up and stood up from the bed. I think it thought it was a game, and a particularly fun one at that.
Honestly, in retrospect, it was pretty cute (and I got some great photos out of it), but boy was it annoying at the time. It was like that little monkey had it out for me for some reason. Reddit User: ooo-ooo-oooyea
I Couldn’t Belize It
I had a wild hotel experience in Belize. We checked into our hotel, and everything seemed totally reasonable. The area was nice, the front desk was accommodating, the room was clean, and there was no excessive noise. Then, we got downstairs the next day, and it was a crime scene. The night manager had been murdered.
I was so shocked. I didn’t believe what had happened at first. We immediately checked out and found a different spot a few miles away. I guess that’s a risk you take when traveling to Belize. It is a beautiful country though. Reddit User: brazillion
That One Blessed Traveler
Unlike everyone else on this list, my story is abnormal because it’s so normal. I’ve traveled for my entire life and have been to every continent except Antarctica. The fascinating thing is that I’ve never had a truly horrifying or awful hotel experience. Nothing terrible has happened to me, nobody has robbed me, and I’ve never even been mistreated by the staff.
I think even telling you this story is probably a bad idea–it’s going to jinx me for sure. I’m pretty sure my next trip is going to be the worst. I wonder where it’ll be. I’ll have to check up on my travel bucket list. Reddit User: CantLookUp
Don’t Trust The Gondolier
In general, I’ve found that when you get to a port of call–whether for a boat, car, bus, or plane–you need to beware of the people who come up and aggressively try to take you places. When I was visiting Venice, I fell for a classic scam. A gondolier promised to take me to my hotel but took me to another one run by his family instead.
When they tried to charge me double the rate I had been promised, I realized what was going on, and hired another water taxi to my destination. It still ended up costing me some money and a wasted afternoon. Sneaky gondolier. Reddit User: mikefromchile
Attempted Murder In Montreal
I visited Montreal with some buddies back when we were in college, and everyone agreed to stay at a cheap hostel far away from the main tourist center. We got back late from a night out on the town, and were just about to sneak quietly into our room, when someone realized that the desk clerk had been stabbed.
Apparently, while we were out, an argument had gone awry just before we arrived. Luckily, the poor fellow was still breathing when we got back. We called the EMTs and everything turned out okay. But talk about scary. Reddit User: 16semesters
When I was traveling in Europe in the mid 2000s, I quickly realized that people have (or at least had) wildly different standards about what constitutes acceptable smoking practices. We made sure to book a hostel in Munich that had a “no-smoking-indoors” policy, only to realize that the courtyard was a massive smoke den and had windows opening onto every room.
I have sensitive lungs and could barely breathe all night, but there was nothing we could do. I certainly wasn’t going to ruin everyone’s fun. So we still stayed there, despite my resistance. When in Rome (or Munich, I suppose). Reddit User: kinnikinnick321
The Price Of A Cockroach
I stayed at a Sheraton in Philadelphia once, and found two cockroaches in my room. I despise roaches, but when I saw them, it was already past midnight, and too late to change hotels. I reported the sighting to the front desk, of course.
The wild thing is, instead of even offering to move my room, they offered me 2,000 Sheraton points. I was impressed. I wonder how they decided a cockroach was worth 2,000 Sheraton points. That seems a bit low, to be honest. Reddit User: [Redacted]
Wild Kids In Iceland
I was traveling in Iceland way back in the day, and there were some wild Australians staying in the same hostel as us. They were up late, and their antics ended up keeping us up as well, spilling over into our room. And I mean that literally. One of them was doing somersaults in their room and kicked a massive hole in our wall.
We complained to the manager at the front desk, and he gave us free lunch the next day. Honestly, that was enough for us. We thought it was pretty funny at the time. But we definitely won’t be going back to that hostel. Reddit User: michaelisnotginger
A Long Check-In
Has anyone else realized how ridiculously-long it takes to check into most hotels? I mean, no other purchase I make takes this long, with the possible exception of opening a new line of credit at a bank. I was in Louisville once, and it took an hour for them to get me the key to my room.
I must have signed five separate sheets of paper. It wasn’t just all the paper either; the desk clerk had to manually type in my answer to every question, and only used his index fingers when typing. Talk about slow. Reddit User: Creek0512
Sometimes, when the options are an overpriced room or sleeping on the street, you choose the overpriced room. My boyfriend and I took a bus from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Hatien in Haiti, and the bus stop was a few kilometers out of town. We got on in the middle of the night, and there was only one hotel close to the bus stop.
We ended up paying $80 for a room the size of a tiny efficiency closet with a twin bed (for two people). Sometimes you just have no other choices. Luckily, we made it work. We cuddled all night long, not that we had a choice. Reddit User: xTheJim
This is not exactly a story about a hotel, but rather about the guests who stayed there. More specifically, it’s about my dog, and how ridiculous he can be. One time we were staying at a simple motel on the side of the highway. When we got into the room, the dog would not stop licking the bedspread, and I ended up having to lock him in the bathroom.
Part of me was worried that he was going to ruin the bedspread, but another part of me was a bit worried about what was on the bedspread that made him want to lick it in the first place. I never figured out what was on that bed. And I probably don’t want to know. Reddit User: onlythefunny
Once, my husband and I were on a long road trip, and we decided to stop at a simple motel on the side of the road. The sign didn’t even have a brand, it just said “Hotel.” When we got to the room, we realized that everything had been bolted to the floor. I say “had,” because roughly half of it had already been pried up and stolen.
The TV, the fridge, and what I assume was a safe in the closet had all been pried off and removed. What’s funny is, the people who owned the hotel didn’t even bother to replace the furniture. Nothing happened to us, but it sure was freaky. Reddit User: slamdancer
Once, I was traveling in Scotland with my wife, and we stayed at the cutest little bed and breakfast. Sure, I wasn’t expecting a particularly high level of service, but I sure was surprised when I tried to check my email around midnight, and found that I couldn’t connect to the wifi.
I called the front desk, and apparently they just turned off the internet at night. I don’t know how they managed to technically enforce the rule, besides just unplugging the router every evening. I’m all for reducing radiation, but a heads up would have been nice. Suffice to say, they didn’t get a five star review. Reddit User: commonvanilla
Once, I took the family to Vegas for a fun (and surprisingly wholesome) getaway. We booked a suite on an upper floor of one of the more tame resorts, and were ready to relax. The first night, our entire room flooded. We were super confused, since the maintenance seemed up to snuff and the hotel was spotless.
It turns out what happened was that the man staying in the room directly above us passed out in his bathtub with the water running. He blocked the drain and ended up flooding half of his floor and half of ours before the night was over. Reddit User: [Redacted]
Thievery In Plain Sight
I was staying in a four-star hotel in Thailand once, and literally found stolen goods in our room. It was a ground floor spot with a “balcony” (how one has a balcony on the ground floor is still beyond me). Anyway, we were chilling on the patio one day, and looked up. Turns out there were three stolen wallets duct taped to the bottom of the balcony above us.
We reported it to the front desk, and hoped that the staff used the IDs in the wallets to find their owners. They probably just re-stole the wallets to be honest. I wonder how long those wallets had been taped there. I’ll never know, I suppose. Oh well. Reddit User: Whacked_Bear
Hot Tub Hair Trap
Back when I was seven or eight years old, I had two long braided pigtails. Once, my family took me out on a ski vacation to some alpine resort in the West. We decided to all go to the hot tub and escape the cold weather for one night. The only issue was that my beautiful hair got caught in the hot tub filter, and nobody could get it unstuck.
We called the maintenance workers, but they couldn’t figure out a way to help me either. In the end, we had to cut the pigtails off, and I ended up having short hair for the next year. I was mortified, but it’s a funny story in hindsight. I ended up loving my short hair, and have had it since. Reddit User: dabokii
Almost A TV Star
Turns out my worst hotel experience was also a number of other people’s worst as well. It had everything, from inattentive staff, to filthy sheets, to Yelp reports of bugs in other rooms (luckily, not mine). In all, it was a pretty scary hotel.
The other thing I learned from Yelp was that the very same weekend that I stayed there, the hotel had been the subject of an episode of Hotel Impossible. I wish they had interviewed me. I could’ve been an awesome reality TV star if given the chance. Reddit User: cactuswhiskers
I’m a long-haul trucker by profession, and sometimes you really just want to escape the cramped, chilly bunk above your rig. The sad part is, the escape doesn’t always work out the way you planned. One time, I was on a week-long assignment in the middle of the winter and was craving warmth, so I checked into a motel.
The problem was, I got a room with a giant hole in the wall. I asked to be transferred to another room, and they put me in the only other available one. That one had a broken window. Seriously? I froze all night long. Reddit User: [Redacted]
I was traveling with my ex in Hawaii, and had a very expensive reservation at a tasting menu restaurant on our last night. We were staying at a pretty nice hotel too. I went into the bathroom to freshen up and put on some perfume, and when I went to open the door, I couldn’t get it to budge.
I had accidentally locked myself in. It, of course, took hours for the locksmith to come, and we naturally missed our reservation. At least I had my phone for entertainment in there. And drinking water from the tap. I could’ve survive for a little while if worse came to worst. Reddit User: vesnapukanic
This is more a story of me being absurd than the hotel being absurd. I traveled to New York for a relatively routine surgery on my brain (albeit, one that is known to have some temporary neurological side effects). My first night out of the hospital, my wife and I got a swanky hotel. I woke up in the middle of the night and had quite an adventure.
Apparently, I wandered around the hotel on a mission to hunt down some aliens that my half-asleep brain had concocted. I was also apparently stark naked the entire time. Luckily, nobody pressed charges. I didn’t remember a thing the next morning, but the hotel staff sure did. Reddit User: [Redacted]
That’s Not Water
I was vacationing in Aspen with my family one year, and stayed at a pretty regular ski lodge. After a long day on the slopes, I was exhausted, and jumped into the shower to warm up. About halfway through washing myself, the water started to change color. I jumped out immediately, just as the water went fully brown.
From the smell that followed, I deduced that there was indeed fecal matter coming out of the tap. I’m just glad I got out in time to avoid full coverage. I was so grossed out. As soon as we got to another hotel, I showered for so long. Reddit User: RiverHorsez
A Good Deal Turned Sour
I found what I thought was the perfect hotel. It was fairly-priced, had a huge room, and included a beautiful view of the surrounding town (Brighton). There was a pool and a fantastic restaurant on the roof. Then, night fell, and we realized that our fairly-priced first-floor room had paper thin walls and was located directly above a night club.
It all made sense in retrospect. The hotel tried to disguise this little fact by making everything else look really nice and organized. We didn’t sleep a wink any of the three days that we were there. Never going to that hotel again. Reddit User: Natrapx