My awful hotel evening – felt like I was with Basil Fawlty

In the hilarious 1970s English TV series Fawlty Towers, the owner Basil Fawlty bumbles from one mistake to another. The mistakes usually result in very unhappy guests (and these days rude TripAdvisor reviews!).

It’s side-splitting stuff-on TV. In real life, it is another matter.

At a guesthouse I stayed at, the owners were a husband and wife couple. Check in was handled by the wife and went very smoothly. My room was in order and I was given good advice on where I could have dinner. Then I met the owner. He decided within minutes of meeting me that I was after his wife!

He muttered to me: “I am watching you” motioning his hands to his eyes and to me. At this stage, I had no idea what he meant.

Having realised that I had left the Internet password in my room, I asked the wife who had provided it on check in if I could have it again.

The husband at this point demanded that I only speak to him and not his wife. In fact, he ordered me not to talk to his wife again saying that “I needed to be careful“. I never spoke to the wife again.

This led to an evening of harassment. Every time “Basil” passed me, he would say “I am watching you” as he walked past me. At one time he called publicly across the lobby/lounge area: “Australian, I am watching you

As I was working on my laptop, (there was no Internet in the rooms),  he came over to me,leantd over me and said: “you look nice. Good clothes
I thanked him (what else do you do?)
He said : “Planning on a date tonight? Or were you planning a date and I stopped it?”

I gave him a withering look and said that I had not even thought of planning a date with anyone. I didn’t speak to him again and went to bed half an hour later.

I did consider going to another hotel but as it was one night I figured I was going to wear it through. I did drag the chest of drawers and placed it against the door.

The next morning I saw neither of the couple as one of their staff was covering the morning.

When John Cleese and Connie Booth were writing Fawlty Towers, they spoke to people about real situations, hoteliers and guests had experienced. My incident would lend itself to an appearance.

As I said, it’s funnier on TV than in real life though.

Anyone else experienced unpleasant or harassment behaviour from a hotel owner?


  1. My wife and I stayed at a B&B near Altoona, PA. We checked in and the woman was strange and they had skeletons hanging everywhere–and it was not Halloween. We were supposed to be there for two nights. After the first night we went out for the day. When we returned that evening she told us that she had double booked our room and had moved us to another room because they needed a crib that was in our original room. Before we could say anything she started talking about the baby the other couple had. We did not say a word while she kept talking for five minutes. By the time she finished talking she had worked herself into a fit and was accusing us of trying to throw the baby into the highway and trying to kill the baby–and we still had not said a word. We were stunned and said we would not stay that night. She screamed that, “We just weren’t B&B people.” I actually am pretty sure that she had a serious mental illness, but it was just plain scary and sick.

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