Disappointed with their accommodations at a popular UK hotel, Nicole Calder, 24, and Lauren Inglis, 26, wrote a negative review. What happened next is what some might call a traveler’s worst nightmare.
Edinburgh, Scotland residents Calder and Inglis booked a room at Clifton Mount Hotel in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, to celebrate Calder’s birthday. When they arrived, the room wasn’t exactly as they had expected. Not by a long shot, they said.
“It wasn’t the original room we booked but we didn’t mind as long as the hotel was clean,” she said. “However, there were crumbs all over the floor and yellow marks on the sofa, which looked like paint,” Calder told The Sun. “I went to get a glass from the cupboard, but there was lipstick all over it; there were also black marks on the bedding.”
Hotel owner Andy Singh wrote Calder a personal email following her review, saying that her and her partner were “not fit to stay in a hotel” and that “people like you should be put in a cage with the rest of the wild animals.”
Calder and Inglis recalled returning to their room late in the evening to homophobic slurs by their neighbors who, they say, partied loudly until 5 a.m.
“When I went back the people in the other room could see I’d spoken to reception so a few of them started saying things like ‘there’s the man’ and ‘there’s the lesbian,’” Inglis told The Sun. “They were saying vulgar things about me having sex with my partner and then saying that I s**g my mum – more disgusting things like that.”
Calder wrote in the review, “I was in shock…calling her a man. Saying, ‘Oh there’s the boy.’ Shouting stuff about being lesbians, etc.”
Reportedly, in Singh’s response, he defended his establishment – and his other guests.
Singh wrote, “Yes, you complained about the group next door whom said they were not saying anything of the sort it was simply your word against theirs.” Adding,”This is an excuse to try for a refund.”
But his follow-up email crossed the line even further, the ladies said.
“Your not fit enough to stay in a hotel. [P]eople like you should be put in a cage with the rest of the wild animals,” he reportedly wrote.
“I was in shock when I got that response,” Calder told The Sun. “When you go to a hotel, you put trust in the owner and then he turns around and says that.”
Calder added, “He was really rude. I thought his reply was disgusting.”
On the flip side, Singh wrote his side to The Sun, denying the homophobic remarks. He appeared to take issue with the women’s account.
“At around 4.30 a.m., Nicole’s group complained about the guests next door being rude so a member of staff approached the group, who said they have not said anything of the sort – taking in to consideration [Calder’s] group had been drinking from arrival at 5 p.m. to the early hours of morning and were very loud and abusive,” he wrote to The Sun.
“Under no circumstances have I anything against gay people; this is simply an excuse for a refund,” he continued. “I am against liars, which she clearly is and I have [closed-circuit TV] to prove everything I am saying is true.”
Inglis and Calder took issue with his response.
“I don’t understand how he can say ‘your type of people,’” Inglis told The Sun. “If that’s not homophobic, I don’t know what is, especially as I’d already raised homophobia as an issue.”
Booking.com officials said they will arrange for a refund.
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, so in the very rare case that we find that an accommodation listed on our site engages this kind of behavior, we will investigate immediately, and may remove the property from our site accordingly,” a spokesman told The Sun. “We are also organizing a full refund for these guests and are supporting them in any other way we can.”