After reading great reviews of this chill backpacker stop, we were looking forward to a comfortable place to crash after a long 12 hour bus ride from Siem Reap. Unfortunately, it was the hostel experience of nightmares.
We easily booked a private room double on hostelbookers.com for $8/person, and corresponded via e-mail with the reception, making sure they knew we would be checking in late, after 8pm. They were very cordial via e-mail and in person, and greeted us warmly when we arrived at around 8:30. Somehow our booking had been messed up, and the double room my boyfriend and I had booked was already occupied, so we were asked if a two person twin room would be fine. We were very understanding.
Usually I am a bit more thorough in checking hostel rooms for cleanliness before we check in, but tired after our 14 hour bus ride from Siem Reap and 15 minute tuk-tuk drive to the rather remote Otres 2, we just glanced around the basic bungalow style twin and paid for our room. Our friend stayed next door in the three person dorm room. There were a number of content looking backpackers watching a movie in the common area downstairs, and we could hear the ocean of the second floor balcony, we felt lucky to have found such a chill and nice spot on short notice.
We were incredibly wrong.
When we got back from a delicious late snack at Sam's BBQ across the street, we asked if for the wifi password, but a staff member apologetically informed us there was "something wrong with the router" and it hadn't really been working. No problem, we were going to head to bed anyway- hopefully it would work tomorrow. As soon as we got into our room, we noticed a large bug crawling across the pillow case. We suspected bedbugs, but had never seen a bedbug so large so assumed we must be overreacting. My boyfriend and I decided to sleep on the twin bed without visible bugs, carefully wrapped the mosquito net around us, and went to sleep around midnight, albeit a little bit gingerly with some creepy crawly nerves.
At 1:30am I woke up to very loud scratching and skittering noises directly under the bed. I usually sleep deeply and we had a very loud fan. The noise was very loud and clearly mammalian. At the same second, I turned my headlamp on and saw a small bright red bug on the mattress, much smaller than the bugs we had seen previously. The bug was only about 3 mm maximum, glowing red and when I reached down to kill it squirted a small red drop on the sheets. Definite baby bed bug, soon to be a well fed juvenile bedbug after snacking on my blood...
Unsure what to do now that it was 1:30 in the morning and we were stuck on a remote beach on the very edge of town, we went down to reception to ask for a different room. There were a number of people on the couches watching Adam Sandler movies pretty loudly, and the girl who checked us in came over when she saw us waiting. We apologetically informed her there were some rather nasty looking bugs and "critters" in the twin room, would it be possible to get a different room. She was very nice and instantly agreed, giving us a knowing look suggesting we were not the first people to be disturbed by "critters."
We quickly switched rooms to the front side of the second floor, but after less than two minutes in the second room it became very apparent the bedbugs were in this room. We saw two of the large bugs on both of the twin pillowcases, .and the sheets were covered in small blackish stains and casings. Not an acceptable sleeping option. At 3am, exhausted by the barrage of rat noises and biting insects, we decided to pass out on the outdoor wicker couch on the second floor porch.
In the morning we discussing the evening's activities with our friend, and she informed us that she had found (large and fresh) rat fecal matter on her sheets, and that some kind of critter had torn through a reusable bag to eat her sunscreen and attempt to get at her other non edible toiletries. The bag was right next to her head all night. Coupled with our experience, we decided to check out immediately.
The whole bedbug issues are really a shame, because the general atmosphere of Footprints seemed very relaxed and congenial, and the young UK staff seem very interested in creating a comfortable sense of community. Most of our fellow travelers seemed miraculously unaware or unconcerned by their nocturnal visitors. When we hurriedly checked out in the morning, the Australian owner sitting at the cafe seemed surprised by our haste and our mention of bugs and larger critters. We didn't go into too much detail, not wanting to make a huge scene in the middle of the restaurant downstairs, but it seems almost impossible they don't know about the infestation - adult bedbugs take almost 5 weeks to mature and the young bedbug bites are still visible on our legs. I sincerely hope we were not the first guests to mention the problem.
Many of the beach bungalows on Otres 2 (and probably Otres 1) could have these same problems - thatched roofs, sand foundations, and open floorboards are not exactly bug or rat proof. Some of the locals take chemical precautions, and most have cats and dogs to keep the larger critters at bay. Our next stop at Castaways was much more relaxing and cleaner, but equally rustic.
I've never written a bad review of a business before, but bedbugs and rats were a deal breaker for us, no matter how chilled out the vibe. Hopefully they will resolve the rat issue soon, and get a very hungry family of cats. Bedbugs are much more difficult to eradicate, but they really should consider extermination and new mattresses before letting more guests check in for a sleepless, creature infested night.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Footprints is a friendly, relaxing place to come and enjoy your stay in amazing Cambodia. Please visit our Facebook page for contact info. Welcoming travellers from all over the world who are looking for good food, good service and somewhere with a chilled vibe, we know how to help you make the most of your time in Sihanoukville. Guests can enjoy our lounge to watch movies or make use of the free WiFi to connect with friends and family. We have our own bar and restaurant serving from breakfast through until late in the evening, free sunbeds right on the beach outside the entrance and a large beach hut to simply chill and maybe even enjoy a massage. We even have a gym for light workouts and can offer boxing training, just ask us! Live music events, quizzes and and games nights hosted regularly plus a list of trips and tours which we can book directly at reception. Footprints on Otres Beach has all types of accommodation available including an 8 bed mixed dorm room and private rooms for 2, 3 or 4 people. Private rooms types available are: single, double/twin, triple and 4 sharing. -Single rooms consist of one large, comfortable bed. -Double/twin rooms with one double bed or two large single beds. -Triple rooms with one double bed and bunk beds and can accommodate upto 4 people. All bed sheets, linen and towels provided. Security lockers in dorm rooms. We look forward to seeing you soon! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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