Tales from the Dark Side: The Worst Hotel Horror Stories

I'll never be able to un-live this moment of hotel failure: Sleeping peacefully, I was slowly being lulled out of a dream by an intruder. She was disrobed and in the bed on top of me, suggesting in a quiet but sensual, Kathleen Turner-style voice that we "do it." I whispered that I was a gay man and "sorry, but it just won't work, believe me, no … no … NO."

Boom. I jolted awake. To my horror, it wasn't some weird dream — it was 100 percent reality. There was a woman on top of me who I'd met at a party earlier (and who knew my orientation). Long after I left, she came to my hotel, told the front desk she was my secretary, and they gave her a copy of my key!

It could have turned out much worse. I was twice her size and she was so intoxicated she passed out (I called her a cab when she came to). But one little lie connecting with one inept front desk person could have meant being robbed clean or, as my mother pointed out, death.

It's hard to believe — not giving out guests' keys to random people might sound like the most obvious responsibility of a hotel. But as you'll see in the stories that follow, that hotel (a well known brand in Portland, Oregon) isn't the only establishment with a big #fail in its book.

And there's so. Much. More. The hospitality industry is filled with tales of blunders — from ceilings that leak with questionable liquids to sheets speckled with stains of indeterminate origin, and everything you just can't make up in between. We've gathered some of the worst of the worst. The people I interviewed only agreed to have their story published anonymously. Because that prevents me from verifying details with the hotels, I cannot fairly name the hotels. But for those of you who love the thrill of a terrifying tale, sit back, enjoy, and be thankful none of these people were you.