...than return to the Hospederia Zahara in Zahara of the Tunas.
Well, it was cheap. I'll give it that much.
I reserved at Hospederia Zahara before any TripAdvisor reviews had been posted. It looked like a good option for basic accommodation, which was all we needed for a couple of days by the beach. The pictures on the hotel's website make it look like it has a little Ikea-style cheap-and-chic flair.
No, oh no.
We were shown to a dank basement room with an ashtray, although I had reserved a nonsmoking room upstairs. It was impossible to get this switched because we have only rudimentary Spanish and the receptionist not a word of English, French, or German, the three I tried. Well, okay, it's a fairly remote area so I guess even in the tourist industry we can't expect always to be understood. We decide to deal with the basement. It's just two nights...the longest two nights of my life.
It reeked: A miasma of sewage, mold and mildew filled the air; worst in the bathroom.
It leaked: One reason for the smell was the amazing leaking partially electrified plumbing system, which I can't imagine is up to code. Looks more like something out of a mobile home, and an outdated one at that. Whenever the shower ran or the (remarkably weakly flushing) toilet flushed, the electric plumbing made a fortissimo whirr. Your own flushes were startling enough, but those of your neighbors jolting you awake throughout the night were even more of a treat. You'd think a dungeon would have thicker walls.
It creaked: Almost everything was in bad repair. The bathroom faucet had become detached from the sink and never been fixed. The toilet and shower had the abovementioned leaks. The freezer was almost entirely iced over. The batteries in the remote were dead.
I freaked: Basic is one thing. Filthy is another thing entirely. Surfaces were coated with dust. Someone else's hairs were scattered on the sheets and on the bathroom sink and floor. The corpses of smashed bugs stained the walls. What I took from the official pictures to be white tile with black grouting was in fact white tile with white grouting that had simply never, ever been cleaned. My husband opened the kitchenette cabinet to get a water glass. He shuddered, closed the door, and urged me not to open it again. We bought plastic cups.
The only thing that could've made this stay worse would have been booking it as a 4-person room (which the hotel advertises), a feat accomplished by squeezing a pair of dusty fold-out bunk beds right next to the double bed.
At checkout, another monolingual receptionist communicated through hand gestures and our basic Spanish that he didn't know how to use the credit card machine (it was not broken or out of service; he just didn't know how), so could we please walk to the ATM down the street and take out cash to pay? It was annoying, but at that point we were willing to pay almost anything to get the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of that troll's armpit of a place.
Hospederia Zahara was cheap, but it was terrible value for money. Stay ANYWHERE else.
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