A filthy hotel room and food poisoning are definitely up there on the list of things that can ruin a trip. But for the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam, they are part of the sales pitch -- proud to be dubbed the "worst hotel in the world."
The low-cost establishment has enjoyed 16 years of success thanks to its confrontational, negative advertising. The approach has regularly attracted guests who want to see for themselves if the place is as awful as it claims to be.
A “legal note” posted on the hotel’s website states that guests book there "at their own risk and will not hold the hotel liable for food poisoning, mental breakdowns, terminal illness, lost limbs, radiation poisoning, certain diseases associated with the 18th century, plague, etcetera.”
The website describes the Brinker as a “cheap, dirty, cold, poorly lit youth hostel” that offers a "rusty bed" in an "awkwardly shaped dormitory" and “spectacularly un-spacious suites, each of which does not feature a flat-screen TV, a double bed or free access to our non-existent swimming pool and spa area." Is this painful honesty or a savvy branding gag? No one has died of plague at the Brinker (yet), but one thing is for sure: more run-down and scruffy would be hard to find. And guests just keep on booking...
...But guests can hardly complain – the hotel has, after all, kept its promises. According to Bell, "We see it this way-- for the Brinker, a bad evaluation is a good evaluation."
It is also true that a night here is cheap -- €22.50 is the cheapest option (in an eight-bed room). Every room has a toilet and shower. “The quality of the showers is questionable,” says the small print when you book via the hotel website, “but they do normally work.”
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