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Adventure Blog

Your Strangest Hotel Encounter?

Buzz Poole
07/19/2011 - 00:00

Dishing up stories with equal parts wry wit and informative reporting I’ve really taken a shine to Gulliver, The Economist’s business travel blog. While a great deal of the content focuses on jockeying airport security and getting the most out of your frequent flyer miles, many of the entries speak to the inevitabilities of travel, both good and bad.

Take for instance this post, written by a Gulliver correspondent startled awake at a hotel near the Atlanta airport: “At about 3:40 in the morning, someone burst into my room and started running toward the bed. It was a woman, as far as I could tell, and she was jabbering loudly. I bolted up and shouted at her, and she turned around and ran out.”

After shaking off the groggy surprise, the writer concluded that this woman had no criminal or untoward intentions but that the hotel had probably made an error programming her key card. But the episode got him thinking about other bizarre encounters he’s had in hotels: “There was the time I came back to my room at 11pm to find a housekeeper hanging out inside. Or the time when I returned of an evening to find myself locked out of my room and checked out of the hotel after one night of a two-night stay; the manager, sharing my frustration at this turn of events, asked me if I had any marijuana he could borrow. Or that time in the deep Ozarks when someone spent several hours intermittently knocking on my door in the dead of night.”

I’ve never entered a hotel room and found someone I didn’t expect. On more than one occasion I’ve been crashed out after an overnight flight, having checked in early, and been rattled out of my nap by a housekeeper not sure whether or not the room needed a cleaning. But I always bolt the door so no one can enter. In thinking about strange hotel encounters the most memorable one that comes to mind is from Amsterdam many years ago. In truth, it was a hostel and not a hotel and you can’t be too upset about being bothered by strangers when you’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor of a place you were told to avoid like the plague. But that’s another story for another time . . .

Have any of you ever stayed in a hotel and been surprised by an unexpected visit from a stranger?

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