How to REALLY Misbehave: Hotel Guest Horror Stories

Just hope that he’s not staying in the room next to you (Photo: Thinkstock)

Everyone has a story about “that person.” The one who can’t behave properly in public, whose shenanigans make your eyes roll, zombielike, to the back of your ocular orbit. As a travel writer I’ve encountered plenty of bad guest behavior — whether it was a boyfriend who liked to drape his wet swim trunks out the five-star hotel window to dry, or a couple at a Costa Rican resort nastily complaining to the manager about “all the noise those waves and birds are making!”

But perhaps nobody has more horror stories than the people who run hotels. Here’s a sampling that will leave even the most generous reader thinking, Oh no, he didn’t!

Cliffside diving


Cliffside, not the best place to stand when inebriated. (Thinkstock)

Set on a cliff along Seneca Lake in upstate New York, the 1900s Georgian Revival Belhurst Castle is an idyllic location for vacation. Except if your mother gets smashed. On a mother-daughter bonding getaway, after returning from an afternoon of tastings, the duo walked out to the bluff to drink in some views.

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“Our front desk manager, Nick, was keeping on eye on them,” explains Ellen Reeder, spa manager and wife of owner Kevin Reeder. “The mother kept inching closer and closer to the edge. When he looked back, after checking in a client, only the daughter was there!”

The mother? She toppled 70 feet down, landing in a pile. Nick sprang into action (luckily he is a trained rock climber). “Because the mother was so inebriated, she didn’t resist the fall and all was OK. Nick, on the other hand,” recalls Reeder, “contracted a horrific case of poison ivy.”

No good deed…

Boozers and streakers


When the coffee stops flowing, call the ambulance (Thinkstock)

At the Inn on the Lake, former manager David Lee had many duties, but none quite prepared him for a particular Alcoholics Anonymous conference. Step one was to make coffee. Step two: Keep tabs on the coffee. Step three: Replenish the coffee. Also required was regular interaction with the group-appointed Coffee Cop, in charge of managing the critical caffeine flow.

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“One evening the coffeemaker stopped working,” recounts Lee. “A few hours had passed, and by the time I found out it was too late. The Coffee Cop had fallen so far off the wagon he was wandering the halls, totally drunk.” The sudden caffeine shortage, combined with one of their members straying so visibly off course, caused another member to nearly have a heart attack. “An ambulance had to be called,” says Lee. “Twice!”

The only thing to possibly top that was the guest who streaked across the lobby. “He was prancing around naked at the front desk,” laughs Lee. “Every time we tried to cover him with a towel he grabbed it and threw it back at us!”

Holy cannoli!


Cannoli madness (Thinkstock)

The stunning Aurora Inn in New York, with its Cayuga Lake views and stone terraces, is tailor-made for weddings. Unfortunately, weddings often include mad mothers of the bride.

At a recent 200-person wedding spanning both the E.B. Morgan House and Aurora Inn, an Italian mama insisted on personally making hundreds of cannoli by hand. “Despite having a top-notch pastry chef on property,” explains front desk manager Alex Schloop, “she had to do it all herself.”

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“On the day of the wedding, while the staff prepped for hundreds of guests,” recalls Schloop, “massive bags of powdered sugar were being dragged up to the suites. She even took over the entire kitchen! It was nuts.”

Luckily everything turned out happily ever after.

Steak and potatoes — or else!


I want my steak dinner! (Thinkstock)

One particular New Year’s Eve at the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in Mexico, all the restaurants were closed for the annual party. “Except Fenicia, the Italian fine-dining venue,” recalls Pablo Elizondo, the hotel’s chief concierge. An airline pilot, possibly unhappy to be spending the night solo, arrived hell-bent on having steak.

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“The concierge explained all the restaurants — other than the one serving Italian — were closed.” The pilot was livid, demanding to speak with a manager, who was busy celebrating. The concierge ultimately worked with the chef to whip up a steak dinner in the hotel’s La Vista lobby bar.

Since then, the pilot has made plenty of return flights, pledging loyalty to the concierge who kept his cool amid the guest’s insatiable thirst for red meat.

A Case of Mistaken Identity


Gardner? Hotel Owner? Or both? (Thinkstock)

On the sleepy shores of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, the luxurious Cove Resort is an oasis of calm. Except when a guest goes mental. “I could see that this man was yelling at my general manager over something,” explains owner Sidney Torres. “At the time I was planting a palm tree.”

Despite being worth a small fortune, Torres is a down-to-earth, hands-on kind of guy.

“So when I heard the commotion, I started to walk over to them. When I got there, the guest demanded to know why the gardener was getting involved. The general manager said, calmly, ‘because he is also the owner.’ Let’s just say he was slightly embarrassed. The guest became my good friend after that.”

Ice Capades


Where’s my ice bucket? (Thinkstock)

Empire Hotel front desk employee “Ricky” (who didn’t want to reveal his real name) has seen it all. “It’s Manhattan, and people are fairly demanding — and always in a rush.” But what sends people over the edge just might surprise you. “The worst guest encounters,” insists Ricky, “always seem to be about one thing: ice.”

So how exactly does frozen water become the object of vitriolic exchanges?

“It usually goes like this,” says Ricky. “I called an hour ago! Sir, it has only been 10 minutes. Where is it? Sir if I don’t get off the phone I cannot follow up on where it is. Just get it here now!”

How does Ricky deal? “I taught everyone from 3-year-olds to high school students, so I’ve learned patience. Sometimes people need to vent and forget we’re human beings. I try not to take it personally.”

Attention deficit


Some men will stop at nothing to get a woman’s attention, including getting new teeth. (Thinkstock)

“One season a 60-year old tourist fell desperately in love with one of my girls at reception,” recounts Sandrine Vezien, owner of the dreamy, French-inspired Hotel Barca de Oro in Nicaragua. “She was young, pretty, professional and not at all interested in him.” But her disinterest only fueled the flames. “The guest booked a room for an entire month!”

He tried everything — new expensive outfits, flattery. Nothing worked.

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“Soon I began to notice him taking the bus to Leon,” recalls Vezien. “Each day he returned looking extremely pleased with himself but refused to say why.” On the last day of vacation he came in and sat at the table near her. “I asked if he wanted something, but he said no and just smiled, waiting for the girl’s attention. Two hours later he finally turned to me and said, “Have you not noticed something about me?’Well, I know you cut your hair recently — and your beard. But yes, you do look different. What is it?’ It turns out, just to get her attention, he had gotten all his teeth replaced!”

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