Disgusting: What was the oldest, poorest hotel room you’ve ever stayed in?
Sometimes you book a so-called big hotel, but once you enter the property or the room itself, reality sets in and you discover that it’s actually just an old smelly shoebox.
It doesn’t happen too often, but this week I had this experience at Westin Excelsior Rome where the room (and much of the property as a whole) is no longer up to the task.
I’m really a sucker for hotels in old historic buildings as long as the guest rooms have been well maintained and are up to the standards of the respective brand.
For my trip to Italy this week, I booked the Westin Excelsior Rome using a free night certificate plus 9,000 points (total 59,000 stitches) for a one night stay. I arrived in the morning after an early arrival with Qatar Airways and was given a room that must have just come out of a time machine.
The Westin Excelsior is in a great location (right next to the opulent US Embassy in Rome) and the price they charged guests when booking a standard rate was 985 euros per night. Now, it’s well known that popular cities in Europe have gone completely crazy with their fares, but that’s “up there”.
Some things in this room didn’t look out of place or just needed fixing, like the 20 year old phones that had already turned yellow, but the most disgusting thing was the filthy carpet.
The photo above shows the entrance, but here are some additional impressions:
Besides the stains, there is also peeling paint. How dirty can that be? It’s almost like they have to offer antibiotics in the minibar.
No more stains in the room and what looked like burn marks on the carpet. I really wonder if there isn’t a housekeeping manager telling management that it’s unacceptable to offer a guest.
Oh and don’t even think about taking a bath:
There was no water stop anywhere and that’s basically how the tub/shower works now.
Keep in mind this is a Westin hotel, previously declassified from the Luxury Collection brand a few years ago, now charging over 59,000 points per night (nearly $1,000) for the stay. The word crazy doesn’t even describe it.
Travelers often like to complain about dirty or old hotel rooms, but I think we need to keep some things in perspective and manage expectations. It’s one thing if you’re staying at a roadside motel for $49.99 or a five-star hotel under the umbrella of an international brand that charges you close to four figures per night. At the latter, I expect an impeccable level of cleanliness and inside the room as well.
I have to give credit to the hotel that the reception staff were very professional and courteous. It’s not their fault that the property is in such a state of disrepair. In fact, after emailing the general manager, they offered me a 2 bed suite (I had booked a king size bed) in the morning, but after seeing it and smelling it looked musty, I had had enough and decided to leave the property immediately.
I looked around and found a nice hotel available for booking through World of Hyatt, The Tribune by JdV, which is only a 5 minute walk from the Westin and cost me 15,000 points WOH. The daily rate there would have been 615 Euros, so I would say that was great cash value and my saving grace that day.
Sometimes hotels need to understand that being historic doesn’t mean being old and dirty, especially when they’re flying the flag of an international chain and charging guests a fortune. I would compare the Westin Excelsior Rome with the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco in terms of architecture, age, and history, but the Westin St. Francis is clean and the rooms are generally in good condition, unlike the Excelsior which is a wreck. The hotel needs to close for an extended period to get a full refresh of rooms and public areas.
Is it difficult to update some devices and basic devices? Then the most obvious thing is dirty, dirty carpets that need to be replaced urgently. Even after being offered another room (actually a suite), it still smelled strange and musty, even though the carpet was in a bit better. I decided to cut it and ask the hotel to refund my points as soon as I found the Hyatt alternative nearby, where I had a great stay.
What is the worst hotel you have stayed in?