The thing about booking hotels based on information that you obtain online is that it’s a hit-or-miss thing. At times, the hotel will actually measure up to the amount of good reviews it has. Other times, multiple sites would say that it’s a fantastic hotel and it might turn out to be really bad. Some hotels might be so uncomfortable that you want to leave immediately or move to a different hotel. However, what makes a hotel so bad to stay in that moving out to another hotel as soon as possible is such a necessary thing?
A couple of months ago I stayed in what was easily the shadiest, creepiest hotel I’ve ever stayed in – and I’ve stayed in a lot of shady and creepy hotels throughout my school years thanks to the school budget. This hotel (let’s call it Hotel R) is known to be an old four-star hotel located right at the heart of Kuta and its restaurant is kind of famous. Based on my experience at this hotel, you should definitely switch hotels as soon as possible if…
… they ask you to pay a deposit fee when you checked in and said that they would return it more than a day after your check-out
Upon checking in, the first thing Hotel R did was ask us to pay an additional IDR200.000 for “security and deposit fees” using our credit card which they claim “will be returned two weeks after our stay.” This was an incredibly sketchy thing to ask from a guest and no other hotel in Bali has ever asked us to pay any fee like this. The weirdest thing was the “returned two weeks after our stay” catch. Why couldn’t they return the money when we checked out? They were a bit insistent about it too so that was weird. Two weeks later, guess whose money was never returned.
I read up a bit about this and found out that some hotels may charge you with a refundable deposit fee as you check in to cover for anything you might consume from the in-room fridge. However, this fee should be returned upon check-out, not anywhere longer than that. So if a hotel asks you to do something Hotel R did, it’s advisable for you not to check in to the hotel at all. That’s just shady.
… your room’s door is open when you arrived and the staff didn’t do anything about it
After checking in, we were shown to the rooms by a staff. When we got to my room, we discovered that the door was open. Literally open. The hotel staff didn’t do anything about it. They just said “oh no, it’s alright, the room’s okay” and turned on the lights. Oh, how I felt so safe knowing that this is the room I would sleep in that night. I found out later on TripAdvisor that someone got their shopping bags stolen from their room at this hotel.
Hotels should have their rooms locked before a new guest gets shown their room for the first time. An open door to your hotel room really suggests that there’s a security issue and changing hotels is advisable.
… your hotel is located in a crowded area and your room key is unreliable
I had a hard time locking my own room the first couple of times I went out at this hotel. The fact that it only locks the door once instead of twice like most door keys do and that my hotel is incredibly exposed in one of the crowded areas in Bali was a bit worrisome.
Seriously, if your room key is unreliable, try asking the receptionist for a different key. If they don’t have another one, it’s time to ship out.
… there are weird stains and hair on your bed sheets and the hotel staff doesn’t change them
That time I stayed at Hotel R, the bed sheets had a blood stain on it and hair on the velcro of its pillowcase. I decided to leave it exposed the next morning so that the hotel staff will change it (because there’s no door hanger that asks the staff to clean your room), but that night, I came back, found my bed made but the sheets and pillowcase to still be the same one from the day before.
If your bed sheets are stained and the staff does nothing about it then you should be wary about the hotel’s hygiene. I mean, this is a blood stain for crying out loud. Who knows where that stain might come from (and nope, I don’t want to know) and how it got there.
… there are sketchy people hanging around the hotel area doing sketchy things
During breakfast, I saw this guy asking the waitress to be let into the breakfast area seemingly without a room key. At first, I thought he was simply flirting with the waitress or something. But then it looked sketchy when he looked left and right and sneaked into the breakfast area from the poolside, never taking off his sunglasses even though the area was a shade the entire time. He sat in an area out of the security guard’s sight the entire time. The waitress spotted him later on and didn’t do anything about it but just sighed. She didn’t call security or whatever. If he forgot his room key, he could have picked it up from his room so what was the sneaking in all about?
Maybe I was judgmental about it or maybe he was a sketchy guy, but hotels shouldn’t tolerate people sneaking into parts of the hotel like that. If you spot people doing this at your hotel or do sketchier things, by all means, move.
… the hotel is not well-lit at nighttime
There’s a difference between romantic lighting and just plain creepy. When it comes to hotels, especially ones with huge buildings, having an entire section of the hotel not lit at all just because there were no guests is just wrong. The entire section of Hotel R across from mine was entirely dark. It had no lights on its walls or anything lit up even though there is a swimming pool and a bar in front of that section.
When there are no guests, having none of the lights in rooms of a hotel section is very much reasonable. But not having any lights on in an entire section seems a bit weird. I mean, they could have at least had the lights outside on so the pool would be well-lit. It kind of raises concerns for your own security when they do that.
There were actually other things about Hotel R that made me hate it, but they’re not enough reason to move out of that hotel compared to the reasons I mentioned above. For one, the room had a box of condoms and liquor bottles on its desk. Then there was the crappy and creepy lighting of the rooms which was straight out of a Criminal Minds episode. There was also the weird pungent smell of the room. Seriously, I would never return to this hotel again.
Anyway, you should seriously consider moving to a different hotel if a hotel you’ve booked or are staying at fulfills the criteria above – especially the security issues like an open door and weird policies regarding money. Again, this is based on my experience at Hotel R and what I consider bad might not be what you consider bad (or maybe you’ve experienced worse? Please share in the comments section below!) Just remember that you honestly feel incredibly uncomfortable or unsafe at a hotel, changing hotels and complaining is your right as a guest but should be done in a way that makes a hotel grow.
(ps: looking at how I loathed Hotel R, I’m honestly questioning how I managed to stay two nights there with all its concerns and issues. But hey, sticking it out here gives you this post so that’s some sort of positive takeaway from this experience. And yes, I will be posting a review on their TripAdvisor later on.)