Wednesday, December 2, 2015   

When it comes to hotels from hell, simply check out Asia

Monday, November 26, 2012


Calling all travelers! Which is the world's worst hotel? The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel of Amsterdam is claiming the title - but I think hotels in Asia are WAY worse.

The Dutch hotel has launched a cutesy marketing campaign pointing out that its guests have no access to a pool or spa. Well, I've stayed in hotels in Asia where the rooms don't have WALLS.

The Hans Brinker says its air- conditioning system has only two choices: window open and window closed. In some Japanese hotels, you have to pay extra for air, as the only breathable stuff is US$10 (HK$78) a portion at the nearby oxygen store (not a joke).

I once spent a night at a hotel in Delhi where they didn't change the sheets between guests unless you asked. You'd have to go down to the receptionist and say: "The previous inhabitant left curly hairs and stains of various colors on the bedsheets, the origins of which I don't want to even think about."

The receptionist would sigh theatrically to indicate that you were being outrageously fussy, before getting his revenge: "You can switch to room 6A where they probably changed the sheets after the ebola outbreak in 2009."

While I was staying at the Old Astor in Shanghai some years ago, the government launched a new tourist attraction called "The Park of Giant Insects." In the breakfast room, all inmates made the same joke: "So they've re-classified this hotel as a theme park now?"

Then there was the Macau hotel I stayed at which had real live gangsters battling at the entrance, after which one became a real dead gangster.

No, when it comes to bad hotels, this frequent traveler stakes our claim: Asia is NUMBER ONE.

*** Two thousand volunteers gathered in Seoul last week to soak 140 tonnes of cabbage in sour fish sauce and lethal chopped chilis. The smelly, pungent, eye-watering material will be fired into North Korea to cause widespread panic. No, wait. It's being distributed to the poor in South Korea as a dinnertime treat. This is Asia.

*** I recently discovered the undulating escalator at the international airport in Bangkok. Instead of separate stairs, the moving track takes you on a downward slope with wavy bits. I stepped on and marveled at the creative design. Then my bag took off. Wheeee! Whoever designed the thing clearly forgot that suitcases have wheels these days.

The woman behind me laughed - and then her bags did the same. Next time you visit Bangkok, bring a super-heavy metal suitcase with oiled wheels that will fly down the sloped walkway scattering other passengers like bowling pins.*Note start required*

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