You’d think that being a hotel receptionist is the easiest job in the world, but some guests make the job way harder than it has to be. Just because a hotel plays the role of “a home away from home,” it doesn’t give people the right to treat the staff like second-rate citizens. Here, hotel employees and bystanders share recall the problematic guests they’ve ever seen during their hotel stay
All stories have been edited for clarity.
“There was a guy who made a booking at my hotel for one night. He was from a very reputed auditing company.
At about noon, a lady came to the front desk and asked to check in on his behalf. There was no message from the original guest, so the receptionist tried calling him to ask if he was expecting anybody. The woman looked respectable and was escorted to the coffee shop where she was offered lunch while we kept trying to get a hold of the guest.
The room was pre-paid, but the receptionist still tried to call the guest. After about an hour, they managed to get through and the receptionist received verbal confirmation from the guest to allow the lady to check into his room.
The lady’s ID was taken and she was shown to the room. This was at about one in the afternoon.
At six in the evening, the guest arrived for check-in. He was obviously excited to check in and was quickly escorted to the room.
Five minutes later, he came back down to the front desk with his face distorted in anger.
He shouted at us because there was no bathtub in the room. We told him the presidential suites were the only rooms that had bathtubs. I offered to move him to the presidential suite at a nominal surcharge but he refused. He then became problematic in the lobby and caused a scene.
The guest then said that he refused to stay in the hotel where there was no bathtub. I told him that it was never confirmed to him that we have bathtubs in our hotel. He shouted again and kept demanding a refund.
I denied him any sort of refund and told him that he would have to pay up as the bathtub was never mentioned as an amenity. Instead, I offered him a late checkout till 8 pm the next day with half a day’s charge against a full day’s charge. He finally calmed down and accepted.
So the guest and the woman stayed the night. The next day, he came down at 8 pm and refused to pay for the half day, and began to shout in the lobby again.
I looked him straight in the eye and told him, ‘Look, if you don’t pay up, I’m calling your company and will report you to them’, and walked away.
After I said this, the guest started shitting bricks. He knew that I knew his little secret:
He was married and the lady who checked in with him was his mistress. Obviously, a reputed audit company would not tolerate this and he was freaking out.
He came running behind me and said, ‘Ok, let’s just forget this whole thing happened. Whatever it is, I’ll settle.'”
I Deserve To Know
“A worker from a company who was staying at our hotel came downstairs with a worried look on his face. He requested a keycard because he wanted to check on his friend who didn’t show up to work that morning. He shared how he wasn’t answering calls, and wasn’t answering the door.
My manager instructed me to bring the keycard so we could both investigate. By then it was late at night. Other than my manager, I was the only other person working.
Once we approached the room, I knock on the door a few times but got no response. I knocked harder and shouted through the door to see if anyone inside may have been sleeping. Not a single peep could be heard from the other side. After a minute, I opened the door and made a horrifying discovery.
The first thing I saw was a foot hanging off the side of the bed. The guest’s coworker and my manager were trying to shake him awake, but when that didn’t work, my manager broke down crying and called his boss.
Apparently, they were close friends. His cries bothered me more than the body did.
I called the cops and tried to perform CPR, but it was far too late. Cops and firefighters flooded the parking lot. My manager called some of my coworkers to the scene for support and to help other guests. They mainly talked to my manager and the guest’s friend. The police were there for hours taking evidence. It took six people a long time to get down the stairs.
The guest also had a dog in the room with him. Since the owner is dead, animal control showed up to take him in. After hearing the commotion, a woman came out of her room down the hall. Her eyes were wide and confused as she saw everyone before she approached me.
‘Why is animal control here? Did someone hurt a poor dog?’
I told her, ‘I don’t know.’ I was not allowed to disclose what was happening to other guests that weren’t involved.
The woman’s face quickly converted from being concerned to angry.
‘I have a right to know by staying in this hotel! It’s public information.’
I told her I couldn’t say. My coworkers told her it was confidential as well, but this only made the woman even more upset. Then out of nowhere, she asked me one of my coworkers what they were studying in school.
‘I’m studying nursing,’ she said.
‘Pfft! No, you aren’t,’ the woman said in a snappy voice.
I put on my best customer service voice so I could de-escalate the situation, but the woman still demanded I give her my name.
“I’m going report you to your manager and then your manager’s manager!’ She then declared, ‘This is the worst she’s ever been treated at a hotel!’
This was all because I said I couldn’t share details about the incident. The woman then took it upon herself to bother some cops and animal control herself. I walked back to the front desk so I could return to work and take my mind off things.
After a moment, the woman found me and said, ‘Animal control told me more than you out of the kindness of their hearts.’
The woman then found my manager and complained. My manager didn’t even try to hide how annoyed he was.
‘I will give you your money back if you leave the hotel right now,’ he said, encouraging the woman to simply leave.
Once she agreed, I printed her receipt and handed it to her only to have her scowl again.
‘How am I supposed to know I’ll get my money back?’
‘It says on the receipt,’ I said through gritted teeth.
‘That proves nothing! I want to know when your owner will be here so I can tell him how unpleasant this entire experience has been!’
‘I don’t know. He’s out of town,’ I retorted.
But the woman kept arguing, so I had to drag my manager away from the grieving man and police to deal with her. While she was arguing, the woman boasted about how she got a million degrees and was a college professor.
Just earlier she told me she was in grad school.
The woman wrote down all our names and once again threatened that she was going to report us to ‘the regional manager’ later, (which we don’t have), and walked out scoffing, and howling about how rude we all were.
I watched six people carry the body down the stairs in a bag and wonder how some people can be so entitled.”
“But I Have A Tesla”
“One day I picked up an extra shift at the hotel I worked for. A young guy and his girlfriend arrived to check into their room, and he asked if we had car chargers.
Now the charges are complimentary for guests. In the past, hotel guests from other properties have tried to sneak over and use ours, so we started shutting them off unless they were requested by our guests.
So I told the guy that he could definitely use one of our Tesla chargers, but he stood there with a blank expression on his face before saying, ‘Oh, so you can just unplug them?’
Confused, I said, ‘N-no? If someone’s using them already then you’ll have to wait for the next available charger.’
Then the guest became visibly annoyed. ‘But I have a Tesla. Can you call them and have them move their car now?’
I was floored.
This guy wanted me to touch other people’s property and possibly not leave them a full car battery so he could recharge after getting to the place at 9:30 pm.
I didn’t respond fast enough for the guest, so he amped his voice as he repeated himself. ‘Well… Can’t you just unplug them? Call them? What?’
‘No, ‘ I said. ‘It’s first come first serve. I don’t know who the cars belong to. How would you feel if someone just kicked you off a charger you got to first?’
My question completely stumped him. The guest then asked me if could we call him once someone moved their car overnight before he went to his room.
Like anyone was actually doing that for him!
I was still thinking about how entitled he was before, the guest came back ten minutes later to ask for more mini lotions for his girlfriend.
“Hello My Baby, Hello My Honey”
“Several years ago, most of my coworkers and I had a three-day staff meeting that required a two-night stay. Our company was based in Illinois but we traveled throughout the state often. When we were checking in, we could tell the front desk employee was from the South based on her accent.
My former coworker was in front of me as we were standing in line. She always felt like she was better than anyone and had a terrible attitude. The front desk employee greeted her and called everyone ‘Honey’.
My coworker shook her head and said, ‘First I need a room for two nights like my other coworkers, and second, my name is not ‘Honey.’ It’s very disrespectful for you to call your guests that!’ Then my coworker took it upon herself to say what her name actually was. It was incredibly stupid because the employee couldn’t have known this yet because my coworker didn’t even give her identification yet.
The employee was very apologetic, but my coworker scoffed and said, ‘ It would have been better to not have called me ‘Honey’ in the first place then you’d have no reason to apologize.’
The employee said, ‘I understand and I’m sorry. I have you on the 2nd floor right by the elevator-‘
She couldn’t even finish the rest before my coworker started going off on her again. ‘NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! I have to sleep and be up early! With people riding the elevator all night long I won’t get any sleep! You put me farther away from the elevator right now!’
The employee looked down at her computer and found a different room. She looked up with a sad look on her face before she said, ‘I found another room, but it’s all the way down the hall.’
‘Does I look like I can’t walk? I’ll be fine,’ She snatched the key from the receptionist and stomped away.
When it was my turn, I smiled at the poor employee. ‘Hi, I’m so sorry you had to deal with this! She is a pain to all of us too! You can call me ‘Honey’ or anything you want. We are all here together for a work event. The room by the elevator sounds convenient, or wherever you have a room for me will be fine. Please don’t let her ruin your day!’
The receptionist thanked me and was almost in tears. I apologized to her on behalf of my coworker.
We were all thankful when she announced via email that she was leaving!”
“A few years ago a habitual guest checked in late in the evening at ten fifty-five.
While checking in, he asked the receptionist standing in front of me if he could order some food from the bar menu. The receptionist smiled and said, ‘Yes, but the kitchen will close at eleven, so please order with them now.’
Instead, the guest went up to his room and came back to the bar five minutes after eleven.
When he asked for a food menu, the waitress informed him that the kitchen was already closed and the chef locked the fridges and went home.
The man started shouting at the poor waitress, ‘This is outrageous! I’ve been a customer at this hotel for how many years and this is how I’m treated!? You’re just being useless!’
The man sat at the bar and started to converse with other guests. He raved about how the whole situation was dreadful and commented that the issue was that, ‘So many useless foreigners come in this country and ruin the hospitality.’
I was the manager on duty. The waitress came to me crying and visibly distressed.
She told me the whole situation and I went to confront the customer because it was not acceptable that someone treated an employee so harshly.
As soon as he saw me, he waved at me and described his version of the story.
‘I came here in time and your subordinate refused to serve food. She is useless and she should be fired on the spot.’
I managed to stay calm and replied, ‘I’m sorry, but my colleague was right to point out that the kitchen was already closed. You were told during check-in that the kitchen was about to close.’
I jumped when the man shouted again. He brought his face very close to mine and started to scream that both of us were lying foreigners without any skills and we deserved to be fired.
I sent home my crying colleague and I stayed behind the bar counter for the next thirty minutes because there were still other customers finishing their drinks.
During that time, the man sat at a table in front of the bar and continued to talk loudly with other guests about this situation.
At the end of my shift, I wrote a report about what happened and sent it to the House Manager and the Managing director.
Unfortunately, they didn’t take any action against the customer because he spent an average of ten thousand euros per year at our hotel.
One manager even wanted to check the timings from the CCTV to make sure that I wasn’t lying!”
“My wife and I were checking into an Alabama beachfront hotel for the night. A man came in and told another desk clerk that he’d like a room. Now the hotel was super popular and was almost always fully booked. We even made sure we had a reservation, but when the clerk asked if he had a reservation, the man said he did not.
The clerk managed to find a room and quoted a price. The guy grimaced at the amount and started trying to negotiate a lower price. The entire time the man was talking down to the clerk. But the clerk held firm and the man it was the best she could do. The man became obnoxious and continued badgering the clerk.
Soon the manager showed up and said, ‘That’s the room fee – check in or please move on so we can serve the other guests checking in’.
The man, acting indignant and walking away, said, ‘I’ll never stop here again!’
The manager didn’t say anything as he smiled at the next customer.”
Not Dressed For The Part
“Four years ago I took a road trip with two friends. We went from Los Angeles to Acapulco for a four-day stay at a five-star resort.
Both of my friends were Actors. One was very well known but hated dealing with public events that he contractually had to attend. However, the trip we took together had nothing to do with his profession or notoriety.
We arrived at the hotel and approached the front desk to pick up the keys and get settled in. My two friends were wearing cutoffs, tennis, and T-shirts. I was dressed in slacks and a shirt. The woman at the desk was very attractive but we immediately noticed her definite attitude as she looked us up and down.
She abruptly told my two friends there was a dress code and the attire they were wearing was not appropriate for the lobby or restaurants. Her tone and entire demeanor were very condescending, to say the least.
I demanded to see the manager immediately, but the woman kept making excuses as to why she couldn’t get one. Again I told her, ‘I need to see the manager.’
The receptionist refused and continued arguing with me even though other people were entering the lobby to pick up their keys.
One of the guests waiting in the lobby immediately recognized my friend and asked for an autograph. As soon as she did, other people in the lobby began to recognize my friend.
After hearing the commotion, the manager came out. I walked closer to the front desk and said, ‘Sir, there is a huge problem here and we need to speak right now. ‘
He was very curious about what was going on with the attention my friend was getting. I went with him to his office and told him the woman at the front desk was making my friend very uncomfortable and insulting him.
The manager’s mouth dropped. ‘WHAT? Your friend is an actor correct?’
I confirmed who my friend was and explained how he wanted to come to the resort to get away from Los Angeles and relax. I mentioned the woman at the desk belittling my friends and insulting them for wearing cutoffs.
The manager immediately rushed to the front desk. He fired the receptionist on the spot. He then told her she had to leave immediately. As she was walking out the door, other guests were clapping and shaming her for what she did.
The manager upgraded our suite to one of the best ones at the resort.
This receptionist pretty much ruined the thought of us staying at the resort. We left the following morning, found a random little resort on the ocean, rented the largest suite they had and we had a great time.”