Jon's Reviews > The Worst Hotel in the World: The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam

The Worst Hotel in the World by KesselsKramer
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's review
Dec 22, 09

bookshelves: non-fiction, the-horror, humor
Read in December, 2009

I generally don't dig on "worst of" books/lists/whatever. It seems like a waste of time to read about the alleged worst of something. Often I don't even think some of those worsts are the worst, but I guess I think that of many bests as well. Anyway. Nevermind.

Because I recently returned from an exciting hostel experience at the prestigious Schlafmeile Hostel in former-East Berlin, and had this last summer spent two months living in youth hostels across England, I was intrigued by and curious about this book. Hostel culture is interesting to me.

The Hans Brinker hostel might be the grossest hostel in the world. They pass it off as being a budget hostel, except they charge more than other hostels, because they've gained the reputation as 'the worst' and are able to con people into staying there, just to say they did. Doesn't sound like anything more than a business scam, which might be the real reason why they're the worst - the place survives by convincing people to pay more for less (way less). This goes for the book as well, which costs a whopping $35 - someone's loving how they convinced people to spend more on this book than you would on the collected fictions of Jorge Luis Borges, or most Criterion DVDs; uncool and I'm not amused.

Also, the hostel isn't just crappy, but deliberately so. The people go out of their way to be unaccommodating and generally rude. Which hurts the appeal of the place to me. I much prefer spending a night in a dive hotel that is simply a dive because it couldn't be anything else. But when you intentionally make your hotel awful, then I'm more annoyed than amused.

The Hans Brinker may claim to have nothing, but what it does have are great ad campaigns. Many of the campaigns I found very amusing. The Accidentally Eco-Friendly campaign is pretty funny - especially the Eco-Towel poster that features a dude using the curtains to towel off; I laughed and cringed. It's good advertising. But the problem with advertising is that you're trying to make something appealing to people, more appealing than it really is, to convince them it has use value and deserves their money. All you do by advertising the lack of amenities is making nothing look like more appealing and worth your money. A campaign like that just has a different target audience than most places. But the Brinker scams the budget traveler, the poor, perhaps ignorant, sucker who wants a cheap hotel or a cheap laugh, gets neither, because the hostel isn't the cheapest. So it's good for a hollow experience that leaves you under budget and with an STD. Sorry, doesn't sound cool, sounds like a scam. The owner admits that all advertising is dishonest, which I might agree with, but that doesn't make me feel any better about his dishonesty. But maybe he feels better and that's something, I guess.

But the book was quick, gross, and generally humorous in a superficial way. The copious pictures are sometimes funny. The ads are amusing. The whole thing is ridiculous, which I do find kinda funny. Misbehavior can be funny, as can gross hostel experiences. So reading this book and looking at the pictures was fun enough, but maybe it was as cheap a laugh as the hostel itself offers.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Karmen (new)

Karmen No Hans Brinker for me, I'll take the Far West Motel and/or Elk City Lodge anyday!

message 2: by kyliemm (new)

kyliemm Nice. I approve of the review. Silly advert majors. Boo.

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