Hotel Reviews

Hotel California

the hotel californiaLadies and gentleman, thanks for coming tonight. We hope you’re enjoyed the ceremonies thus far. And now, we have a very special award to present next. We know you’ve been waiting all evening for this one, so without further ado, we present to you the winner for this year’s Creepiest Shit Hole Hotel Posing as a Real Hotel award. And now, the envelope please….drum roll….and the winner is…the Hotel California in Angeles City in the Philippines!

OK, so there isn’t really a formal ceremony (yet), but if I had to name the best of the worst hotels I’ve stayed it this year (and maybe all-time), the Hotel California would definitely win it – and that’s saying something.

Angeles City – the country’s little Las Vegas located about 100 kilometers north of Manila – definitely has its share of riff raff and fleabag hotels, but I was quite shocked when I walked in and saw this one.

First off, I booked it online, where it’s easy to snap a photo of a pool, a made king size bed, and a modern bathroom and instantly represent yourself as a 3-star hotel. (Believe it or not, that’s what they claim!). But even when that disappointment wore off, I was shocked how bad it is.

The Gory Details on the Hotel California

Walking in, the lobby was so dark, dank, and outdated that I thought they must have had a power outage – for the last ten years. There was a strange wagon wheel theme to the place, if you can describe it as any theme at all – I guess they associate that with California.

If there was any other decoration or style in the hotel lobby, I’d have to say it was defined as “Post-modern art-deco safe.” In fact, there were stacks of scores of little hotel safes right in the lobby, and they had patrons lock their valuables in there RIGHT IN THE LOBBY and then hope for the best! Hilarious!

There was also no one else in the hotel, which I didn’t find that odd at the time because it was early afternoon so I thought everyone was elsewhere or resting, but I came to find out that there are only about 5 or 6 other desks in a hotel of about 200 rooms!

I was led on a creaky and wobbly elevator ride up to the fourth floor, with all of the signs in Korean except one that read, “ATTENTION to all employees! Please do not use the elevator for any other reasons, EXCEPT if needed only. Thank you, The Management.” Hmmm…my imagination ran wild with what the staff could have been doing on the elevator to warrant such a sign?

The hallways were so winding and nearly pitch black that I get lost and almost fall down the steps every time I have to navigate them without the bell hop, and I still haven’t seen one other human being or signs of life on my floor – just an old television that someone put out in the hall.

My room was spacious and comfortable – around the era when the song, Hotel California was written, and there is no hot water, no soap, and housekeeping hasn’t bothered to change my prison-grade sheets and towels, not clean my place, in 3 days.

I can do nothing but laugh, especially when I went to check out the pool and saw that they were doing construction all around it, with exposed wiring and sawdust forming a half-inch layer on top of the water.

Welcome to the Hotel California, where you can check in but you’ll really want to leave!

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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