A survey released this week by travel website Travel+Leisure ranked Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana as the world’s best hotel in 2014. The survey ranks the tops 500 places to stay across the globe, and was compiled based on the opinions of the website’s ‘experts’ and thousands of readers. The winner was the Triple Creek Ranch in Darby where a bed for the night will set you back US$1,400 – and that’s their ‘basic’ room. Second place went to the Nayara Springs in La Fortuna, Costa Rica (US$845 a night) and in the third spot was the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest (US$750 a night). Australia gone a guernsey with the Southern Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island (US$1,300 – $2,700 a night) coming in 4th, and the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island (up to US$3,247 a night) rounded out the top five.
Yes, but do they get the true experience of travelling. You can’t have truly experienced Costa Rica unless you’ve slept in a bed covered with giants ants or got the real taste of India without stained sheets that smell like vindaloo. So, I’ve decided to make my own list. This is my Top 5 World’s Worst Hotels:
Wisma Tirta Yatra – Penelokan, Bali (US$4.20 a night)
Okay, I could put up with the smelly, stained sheets and the fan that didn’t work and the barking dogs all night right next to my window and the bucket shower with somewhat rancid water, but the toilet was so scary I couldn’t go anywhere near it. I couldn’t go anywhere near it because it was totally covered in giant ants feasting on the ’stains’ around the hole. And that’s not much fun when you’re busting for the loo.
Happylands – Dahab, Egypt (US$2 a night)
I was happy to leave Happylands. I had a sleepless night because the sheets were so disgusting I couldn’t even touch them. God only knows what the horrific stains were on the bed and I certainly didn’t give it a closer inspection to try and figure out what exactly they might have been. I went to bed fully clothed (even though it was boiling hot) and used my T-shirt as a pillow case, then spent the night waking up in shock when any part of my skin touched the sheet. And the bathroom smelled even worse than the sheets (if that was possible). The next night I lashed out and paid a whopping $5 a night for another hotel (which wasn’t quite as happy, but nowhere near as stainy).
Hotel Saut d’Eau – Saut d’Eau, Haiti (US$60 a night)
The Hotel Saut d’Eau wasn’t quite a hotel. There were no hotels in the village, so to find a room involved walking up to people’s houses and asking if they had a spare room. Which wasn’t easy because we were in Saut d’Eau for Haiti’s largest vodou festival. The room we eventually found (I was with two other travellers and a guide) was tiny with a concrete floor, lots of cockroaches and no beds. The owner told us that we could buy our beds (straw mats) at the market. All four mats didn’t quite fit into the room, so I had the guide’s smelly feet in my face all night. Oh, and the toilet was outside next to a banana tree where hundreds of people walked past day and night.
YHA – Hamburg, Germany (US$20 a night)
The hostel itself was nice. I just didn’t get any sleep and almost threw up in the shower. I didn’t get any sleep (and I’d gone to bed early because the hostel had a curfew) because the South African fellow sleeping above me in the bunk bed sounded like a lion on heat. He snored all night so I lay awake all night. Okay, I did finally nod off to sleep at around 5.00, but I slept in and missed breakfast (even though I was only 2 minutes late). After a sleepless night I really needed a shower to wake me up, but when I stepped in the shower I stood in a pile of shit. And yes, you may wonder just like I did why someone would poo in a shower – particularly when there was a toilet in the same room.
Hotel de la Plage – Cotonou, Benin (US$45 a night)
I had a beer on the hotel balcony overlooking the beach when I arrived. Actually, ‘beach’ is too kind a word. Pigs were rummaging through piles of rubbish near the waterline, while only a hundred metres further along there was a dense shantytown that seemed to be built entirely from rubbish. A barbed-wire fence separated the hotel from the beach, which meant that it probably wasn’t a good idea to go for a nice sunset stroll along the seashore. The hotel also had a swimming pool and, although it was stinking hot, I didn’t go for a swim: a grey and brown film of sludge was floating on the surface and I’d only got shots for three out of the nine diseases in the water. I didn’t get any sleep either. Firstly, there was a knock on my door at around ten o’clock. When I asked who was there no one answered. This went on a few more times. My heart started beating wildly. I was pretty sure it was a mugger doing house calls using the old trick of waiting until you open the door, then bursting in and robbing you. Over the next two hours they tried again a number of times (or maybe it was a new set of muggers each time). At about one in the morning, when the knockers had finally given up I was finally about to doze off to sleep when the air-conditioner broke down. Soon after, the room was like a one of those furnaces they melt glass in. I had to take showers periodically throughout the night to prevent myself from bursting into flames.
See, that’s really experiencing a country. None of those fluffy slippers, cable TV and mini shampoo bottles – just stained sheets and dysentery.