Most hotels that have won awards or have been praised pride themselves on clean rooms, beneficial amenities and helpful and friendly staff. However, there is one hotel that prides itself on the complete opposite of good hospitality – the Hans Brinker Budget Hostel in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
At this hostel, the rooms are filthy, there are no showers, the staff doesn’t care about complaints from guests and won’t help, and customers are encouraged to use the curtains to dry themselves off so the business can save on washing towels. The owners of the hotel, which charges just £18 per night, feel it’s best to warn potential guests of what they can expect to prevent complaints, even though it means they could become mentally ill or contract a fatal disease.
On the Hans Brinker Budget Hostel’s website, a long disclaimer says that travellers wishing to stay there do so at their own risk. They can’t hold the hostel liable for any terminal illness, mental breakdowns, food poisoning, radiation poisoning, the plague, certain illnesses related to the 18th century, lost limbs, etc. The 127 rooms are dirty, along with the loos. Without hot water, the hotel says water consumption remains moderate. The lift is broken so guests are pointed to the stairs, which signs refer to as an eco-friendly elevator.
Some of the hostel’s services and amenities are: a basement bar with no fresh air and limited lighting; a bar that serves slightly watered down beer; an elevator that nearly never breaks down between floors; a courtyard made of concrete for relaxing and enjoying the little sunshine that passes between the high buildings on both sides, only on the few days it’s sunny; the Luxury Ambassadorial Suite, which features the hotel’s one and only bathtub; amusing jokes and speculations about the sexual preferences of previous guests written on most surfaces; and locks on the doors, which work.
In an advertisement, the hostel boasts that no other hotel could be worse than it, but they promise to do their best. Another says that guests can improve their immune system by staying there. The owners are glad to admit they probably have the worst hotel in the world, but the hostel is still popular among travellers. It seems the honest approach is attractive to the business’s targeted customers (mostly backpackers and students), as many scramble to book a room.
Surprisingly, there are mixed reviews about the hostel on hotel comparison sites. One Aussie traveller said Hans Brinker Budget Hostel wasn’t as bad as they expected the world’s worst hotel to be. The loo was ‘atrocious’, he added. Another guest said that they read other reviews before going and was a little nervous. It was unfortunate that most of the reviews were totally true. They added that the rooms were like jail cells with metal lockers that didn’t properly close and ‘rickety old beds’. However, a review from a third traveller said the hostel was filled with fun, is in a great location, had great facilities and friendly staff.
Hans Brinker Budget Hostel manager Tijmen Receveur says staying at the hotel is an experience. Most of their customers are nicely surprised when they get there. They love the hostel’s wittiness and cynicism, he added while the staff has reduced their expectations to less than nothing. Potential guests can also read up on the hotel with ‘The Worst Hotel in the World’, a book penned by the owners that can currently be purchased new and in hardback on Amazon for £17.50.