Once upon a time, travelers seeking shelter checked into monasteries and abbeys along their journey’s path. But to stay with the monks, they had to play by the monks’ rules. Among other things, this meant not getting wasted on mead and whoring it up during their stay.
With time, secular inns sprang up, offering rooms without religion and often featuring fire-lit versions of the modern hotel bar. The first drink- and drug-fueled hotel wrecking is not recorded, but it probably wasn’t long before the first travelling hothead was booted for destroying the furniture.
In the centuries since, the tradition of savaging hotel rooms has become part of modern myth. Below are some of the rowdiest guests in the history of hoteling.
One of the first hotel trashings of the modern rock era came in 1967, when The Who’s drummer celebrated an epic 21st birthday at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan. This we know: A girl jumped out of a cake, a massive food fight ensued, fire extinguishers were emptied into hallways, furniture was overturned. When police arrived, Moon stripped naked and made a run for it. After streaking through the lobby, he jumped into a Lincoln Continental and drove through a fence and into the hotel swimming pool. Attempting to flee from the accident, he slipped on a piece of marzipan and knocked out his front tooth.
Moon spent the night in jail and racked up a $24,000 bill in hotel damages. He also received a lifetime ban from all Holiday Inns. But there were other hotels, and it would not be the last hotel ban for Moon. According to band members, he liked to flush powerful explosives down toilets and over the years is reported to have accumulated roughly $500,000 in hotel toilet and plumbing fees.
During a drunken quarrel with then-girlfriend Kate Moss, the future Jack Sparrow trashed the couple’s $1,200-a-night room at New York City’s Mark Hotel. When police arrived, Depp blamed the $10,000 worth of damages on a rogue armadillo that had emerged from the closet. The armadillo was never found, and Depp spent several hours in police custody before being released.
Not everyone was impressed. The Who’s Roger Daltrey happened to have a room just down the hall and later commented, “On a scale of one to 10, I give him a one. It took him so bloody long. The Who could have done the job in one minute flat.”
After a weeks-long stay at the W Hotel in Manhattan — where Lindsay was known to party hard — the actress was billed $50,000 in damages. Cigarette burns reportedly covered the rugs, which needed to be replaced in full. This was her second such incident at a W hotel and she has since been banned from the chain.
After splitting with wife Perri Lister, Idol reportedly flew to Thailand for a three-week drug-fueled orgiastic rampage. He destroyed several hotel rooms before nesting at the penthouse of the high-end Oriental Hotel in Bangkok — where he refused to leave his room. After racking up $20,000 in damages and pissing off enough people, the local government got involved and insisted that he leave. When he still refused, the national army stepped in, shot him with tranquilizers and carried him out on a stretcher. He was immediately flown out of the country.
Two months after being released from rehab, Charlie sheen checked himself in to the Eloise Suite — named after the heroine in Kay Thompson’s children’s books — with porn star Capri Anderson. Drunk and high on cocaine, the bad boy claimed to have had an “adverse reaction to some medication” and started throwing furniture and attacking Anderson. She hid in the bathroom after he grabbed her by the throat and threw a lamp at her. Sheen was taken by ambulance to a psychiatric ward for observation. Damages were estimated to be in excess of $7,000.
In 2007, then-23-year-old Amy Winehouse got into a serious quarrel at London’s Sanderson Hotel with her husband, Blake. Screaming and other loud noises were heard from their hotel room, prompting other guests to call security. The couple was found bruised and battered, and were charged $18,000 in damages, which included hiring a specialist to clean blood off the walls.
1998 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team
Players in the NHL were admitted to the Olympic games for the first time in 1998. Unfortunately, some of the biggest headlines were made off the ice. America’s team spent the night getting wasted before returning to their hotel room inside the Olympic Village. The Associated Press reported that they broke ten chairs, emptied three fire extinguishers in the room, dented a door and then threw the chairs and fire extinguishers into a courtyard below. Team member Jeremy Roenick innocently explained, “The chairs and furniture that we had were definitely not made for NHL players. The chairs would fall apart right there, just sitting on them.”
University of Michigan Frat Boys
Three University of Michigan fraternity members faced criminal charges after a winter rager at a northern Michigan ski resort reportedly caused $430,000 worth of damage and left the place looking like it had been carpet-bombed. Over the course of two days, roughly 120 University of Michigan students — many of them members of Sigma Alpha Mu and its sister sorority Sigma Delta Tau — were said to have participated. According to The Detroit Free Press, “there was damage to 45 rooms, and students destroyed ceiling tiles and exit signs, broke furniture and doors and urinated on carpeting.” Michigan’s Sigma Alpha Mu chapter was shut down and the University placed its sister sorority under disciplinary suspension for two years.
Before hotel room mayhem was cool among rock stars, the father of Surrealism had built his own reputation as a very difficult guest. The Meurice Hotel in Paris put up with his antics for years, despite extensive damage caused by his pet ocelots and various farm animals (including a horse and a herd of sheep) that he had brought in for creative purposes (we assume). To make up for the trouble, Dali is known to have tipped his staff well with small autographed lithographs, now worth many thousands of dollars.
When the rapper set off smoke detectors with enormous clouds of marijuana, emergency responders rushed to his hotel room in Melbourne. The fire fighters were reportedly delighted to be talking to the 42-year old star, who invited them into his smoke-filled room for a friendly chat and a snap. The rap star later posted these photos on Instragram with the caption, “Fire department shut it down!”
Film Crew of New Terminal Hotel
In 2010, fire fighters arrived at the George Washington Hotel in Pittsburgh to find a blood-spattered room that looked like the scene from a horror movie. Littered with liquor bottles and a piece of human scalp, police chief J.R. Blyth, described the room as “the most grisly” murder scene in his 35 years in law enforcement. Detectives had spent over eight hours of overtime on the investigation before Chief Blyth realised the blood...wasn’t real. The murder scene, it turned out, was a leftover set from New Terminal Hotel, a low-budget horror movie starring a washed-up Corey Haim (and later renamed Do Not Disturb).