Archive - August 31, 2012

A Night Less Ordinary: Prison Hotel
Purple Passport: Secret confessions of hotel staff

A Night Less Ordinary: Prison Hotel

Our semi-weekly series: A Night Less Ordinary is all about finding the most weird and wonderful hotels all over the world. From a James Bond hotel room, to sleeping underwater expect the unexpected. This week, we have a night less ordinary at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya. This week, check in a the Karosta Prison Hotel where your inn jailbird can shine and we advise you to go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

If you’re a monopoly addict or you simply get a bit excited about the idea of a night behind bars, then Latvia’s Karosta Prison Hotel will be right up your street. But, this place is more 50 shrieks than 50 shades, so beware!

The former KGB prison hasn’t actually changed all that much since it stopped taking prisoners. You can simply tour the former Soviet military jail, or you can do the real deal and go for an ‘Extreme Night’ package.

Once you get there you’ll get the full treatment; finding out what it was like to be an inmate, you’ll get handcuffed and escorted to your cell for the night. You won’t find any home comforts here with some stale rye bread and Russian tea for room service. After that you’ll have to haul your own pallet, laid with a thin mattress before you can lay your head down. And that’s after you’ve dressed it to military standards. You’re given four minutes to use the bathroom (a hole in the ground) while the rusting tap leaks just enough water to brush your teeth. It’s all done in the spirit of good fun (I think) and is meant to be a real experience and something different.

If that’s not enough to freak you out a bit, the former prison is known for its ghostly, mysterious activity. Lightbulbs unscrew themselves. Doors open and close, seemingly of their own free will, and footsteps echo throughout the prison halls. Yikes!

So, don’t say I didn’t warn you! For a real night less ordinary, this place takes no prisoners (groan) but at the bargain price of around £7 per night, it’s hard to beat for value. If that sounds like your cup of tea, (maybe you’re part of a particularly intense Stag party group!) the hotel is always ready for their next victims… I mean guests!

You should read… A night less ordinary | Giraffe Manor

All pictures courtesy of Karostas Cietums

Purple Passport: Secret confessions of hotel staff

We bring you the latest travel news so you know what you’re doing when booking your next holiday!

Hotel confessions

Ever wondered what hotel staff are really thinking? Well you can wonder no more! Reddit, the user generated site has been asking its members ‘what are things that are disturbing/interesting/unsanitary about hotel rooms?’ The term eye opening barely covers it. At last check there were 5,580 comments, from hotel staff all over the world. Here is just a selection: (you can read the full thread here.)

  1. We give free toothbrushes, deodorant, slippers and rubber ducks to anyone who asks. If you go to the front desk late at night when the auditor is working and ask, “can I have some free stuff?” They will probably give you something.
  2. Stay at places with all white linens. There’s no hiding. *Source: I work at a hotel with white linens.
  3. As an ex housekeeper we used to wash the glasses in the bathroom sink and dry them with a clean pillow case. If they looked unused they wouldn’t get washed.
  4. Just to clear this up, duvets are NOT meant to be slept on. I know many people are grossed out that they aren’t always changed but again they are not meant to be used as a blanket. There is a large warm blanket underneath with the sheets that are supposed to be used. Every single person who travels knows the horror stories accompanied with bed covers, so the right thing to do is to fold it and place it on the floor or chair.
  5. We really try our best getting it as clean as possible (our supervisors check the rooms before the guests arrive). Plus there is some sort of competitions between us maids – nobody wants to be the ‘bad maid’. I am aware that this doesn’t count for every hotel though.
  6. Please do not try to sneak your horse into the building, the horse does not want to be in here either.

Brangelina head for… the Lake District

When you think of Hollywood megastars on holidays it tends to be places like St Tropez, Miama or the Greek Islands. It’s not so for uber couple Brad and Angelina, now we can add Lake Windermere to that list.The Sun is reporting the couple and their brood are heading to Cumbria for th
eir holidays this year. Angie is said to have fallen in love with the place while filming Maleficent nearby, while Brad has been busy in Glasgow with World War Z. Of course the Hollywood duo probably won’t be renting a caravan, but taking a few days in a boathouse and bringing the kids quad biking.

Ready, set, tomato!

If your idea of a good time is pelting your friends with ripe tomatoes (and who’s isn’t?) then read on. Every year the streets of Buñol, near Valencia in Spain are filled with thousands of people, who gather for the Tomatina festival. 120 tonnes of the red fruit (it is a fruit, right?) are brought in and the mass food fight begins. It happens the last Wednesday in August, and you can check out some awesome pictures from this years festival at the Guardian here. The only problem is, if you started out loving tomatoes, you might just end up hating them!

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