Sun and Sin -
10 ways dodgy hotels cheat travellers who book online
Published on 02/8/2008

Thinking of booking a cheap hotel for your spring break trip? Here are some words of warning.

You may get what you pay for

Take care when booking a cheap and initially decent looking hotel through LastMinute, Expedia or other online travel sites. It is easy to get your hopes up only to be disappointed when you check in to the hotel.

Here's 10 things you should be aware of when reading the description of the hotel:

1. "1 km from city centre"
Any distance given by the hotel needs to be multiplied by 2. Check the hotel address using Google Maps to avoid being cheated.

2. "The Hotel has recently been renovated."
The most inexpensive way for an hotel to renovate itself is to do something to their front. This means that they may have got a shiny new marble hotel lobby, while the rooms still are tiny with dirty rugs on the floor.

3. "Rooms renovated in 2006"
The hotel manager explains: - Last year we renovated 90% of our rooms. Our strategy for the old unrenovated rooms is that fill them by offering them dirt cheap on online booking sites like and You, Sir, got one of these rooms.

4. "Onsite Pool"
There is a 4x10 metres unheated pool in the hotel´s backyard. It is closed all year except for a few very hot weeks in the summer.

5. Gymnasium
What they really mean is that there is a few dumbbells in a small room in the basement.

6. Room service
Hotel manager explains: - Between 7AM and 10AM and between 18PM and 20PM we can bring food to your room. Sorry if you want to eat outside these times.

7. Breakfast included
If breakfast is included in the room price of a cheap 2 or 3 star hotel, be prepared for some jam and a dry piece of white bread.

The receptionist explains: - For $10 an hour or $20 a day you can get the pleasure of buying WIFI access from a 3rd party supplying the hotel with these services. If it does not work, we do not care or know how to fix it.

Please note: This one usually only applies to European hotels.

9. Nearby features like Tennis or Golf
The receptionist explains: - Yes, there is a Tennis club 2 km down the road. No, we do not have any arrangements with them. Nor can we assist you in ordering an hour of court time.

10. Free minibar
- Yes, the minibar is free, Sir. It contains a 20 cl. bottle of Coca Cola, one bottle of local beer and a 25 cl. bottle of water.