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The world’s worst hotel guests

Thank goodness for famous divas and rock 'n' roll train wrecks. They're the sort of hotel clients who make us feel better about ourselves after we've pestered the concierge for last-minute Broadway tickets or complained about too-firm pillows.
Image: Michael Jackson holds a child out of a window at a Berlin hotel
Who could forget this Michael Jackson moment at a Berlin hotel back in 2002? Michael Jackson makes's list of worst hotel guests. Read on for 14 other notables.Tobias Schwarz / Reuters file
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Thank goodness for famous divas and rock ’n’ roll train wrecks. They're the sort of hotel clients who make us feel better about ourselves after we've pestered the concierge for last-minute Broadway tickets or complained about too-firm pillows. You see, we're not high maintenance: The brouhaha brought to London's Dorchester Hotel by Christian Bale and his family affair — that's high maintenance. Or how about Diana Ross, who has reportedly demanded that no hotel staff member make eye contact with her? Or perhaps the paradigm of bizarre hotel conduct, the baby-dangler better known as Wacko Jacko. (This game's fun, right?)

Here are 15 examples of hotel hedonism and bad boudoir behavior to help keep your guilt in check the next time you leave your hotel room a mess.

For a slideshow of the World’s Worst Hotel Guests, click here.

1. Amy Winehouse
We all know Amy is a mess, but housekeeping at London's Riverbank Plaza Hotel still must have freaked when they entered her room last February. According to the Sun, it was littered with bottles and cigarette butts, liquor had seeped into the upholstery and dirty underwear covered the floor. And the bath had turned black after Winehouse dyed her hair in it. The newspaper also reported that last September, staff at St. Lucia's Jade Mountain Resort searched Winehouse's room on a daily basis for contraband after fellow guests complained of "funny smells" emanating from her suite, despite the fact that she arrived there a mere day after checking out of rehab. Only a week earlier she and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, had emerged bloodied and bruised from their room at the Sanderson Hotel, after other guests heard loud crashes and bangs (Winehouse denied they fought). Most memorably, though, just before her messy performance at the 2007 MTV Europe Music Awards, she tossed a plate of pasta Bolognese at the wall of her Munich hotel room and then cut up the carpet while members of her entourage — and the usually unflappable Snoop Dogg, who had come by to say hello at this very inopportune moment — watched in horror.

2. Salvador Dalí
To the staff of Le Meurice hotel in Paris, where he was a frequent guest during his later years, Dalí's obsession with animals was a bit of a nuisance, to say the least. The father of surrealism, who died in 1989 at the age of 84, often brought two pet ocelots along to the pricey landmark, and the wildcats' tendency to use the walls and floors of the Suite Royal as a scratching post left the room in tatters. That's not all: He once demanded a horse be delivered to his room, and on another occasion ordered up a herd of sheep. Upon their arrival (yes, the hotel was that accommodating), Dalí shot at the little lambs with a gun containing blanks. He also had the hotel staff catch flies for him in the Tuileries garden, paying them per fly. But at least Dalí knew he was a difficult guest: He tipped his favorite staff each Christmas with autographed lithographs of his work, some of which could now be worth up to $12,000.

3. Britney Spears
In general, the publicity that celebs bring to hotels is worth the nuisance. Not when it comes to Britney. Despite being a resident of Los Angeles, she's spent the last several years checking in and out of upscale joints in the city like the Viceroy, Beverly Hills, Mondrian, and Bel-Air hotels — generally wreaking havoc and wearing out her welcome. (In fact, the rumor around town is that at least one has banned her permanently.) It's not just the problem of the attendant paparazzi, either: Britney is a notorious slob. A former bodyguard told News of the World that he once rescued her from a trashed room where she'd been hanging with musician Howie Day only days after exiting a rehab program. Other hotels have suffered financial consequences from hosting Spears: The U.K.'s Sunday Mirror reported in 2004 that Spears demanded that Glasgow's swank One Devonshire Gardens cancel the reservations of all the other guests while Spears and entourage were staying there. Which we hear they did, though the hotel prefers not to comment.

4. Axl Rose
The lead singer of Guns N' Roses spent the late 1980s and early 1990s fulfilling the rock star credo of sex, drugs and ill treatment of hotel suites, tales of which his bandmate, Slash, detailed in the autobiography he released last year. (Yes, Slash wrote a book.) But while most rockers get more subdued with old age, Rose's lunacy is the gift that keeps on giving. As recently as 2006, he was arrested in Stockholm after drunkenly breaking a mirror at Berns Hotel, getting into an argument with a woman in its lobby, and then biting the leg of a hotel security guard who tried to break up the brawl. All at eight o'clock in the morning. Welcome to the jungle, indeed.

5. Mariah Carey
Sure, Jennifer Lopez requires all-white decor and truckloads of Diptyque candles, but the wise hotelier would take her over Mariah Carey any day. As the New York Post first reported in 2005, Mimi allegedly asks that suites be outfitted with gold faucets and that all toilet seats be replaced with brand-new ones before her arrival. Mineral water is required not only for her own bath, but for her dog's as well. And she wants two DVD players in her suite — which, of course, should be set to play nothing other than her own music videos. In 2005, she made London's Baglioni Hotel literally roll out a red carpet and line it with white candles before she would exit her limo and enter the premises. And on another London jaunt to promote her latest album, she had a $20,000 fitness facility installed adjacent to her penthouse at Claridge's, where one imagines she Stairmastered in stilettos.

6. Russell Crowe
The Oscar winner is not exactly known for his patience or sweet demeanor, but in the summer of 2005 his notorious temper took center stage. At the Mercer Hotel in New York City, Crowe became enraged when he could not successfully complete a call to his wife back home in Australia, prompting him to unplug the phone in his room, bring it downstairs to the lobby, and throw it into the face of 28-year-old concierge Nestor Estrada, who required stitches from the incident. Crowe, who has said he uses yoga and other relaxation techniques to calm his rage, claims he meant to hit the wall with the phone; regardless, he pled guilty to assault charges and eventually settled a civil suit brought by Estrada for $11 million. And you thought Eliot Spitzer's frolic at D.C.'s Mayflower Hotel was costly.

7. Naomi Campbell
When Russell Crowe threw his phone, perhaps he was merely channeling the world's angriest supermodel. Naomi Campbell has been charged multiple times with assault, and both telephones and hotel rooms have featured prominently in her police reports. In 1998, she used a telephone to assault her assistant, Georgina Galanis, in a Toronto hotel room. (She paid a fine and her record was expunged.) Then, in 2005, she allegedly beat up the Italian actress Yvonne Scio in Rome's Eden Hotel, bruising Scio's face and splitting her lip. The supposed cause? They were on their way to a party together, but when Campbell showed up at the hotel to pick up the actress, she was unhappy to find they were both wearing the same frock. Campbell's bad guest behavior isn't just limited to violence toward others, though — London's Daily Mail reports that just this summer she was accused by staff at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow of burning holes in the hotel sheets and refusing to pay the $300 the hotel assessed in damages. Campbell's rep has denied it.

8. George Schultz
He was a Cabinet member for years — serving as Nixon's Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of Labor, and Reagan's Secretary of State — but that didn't stop George Shultz from committing a major hotel faux pas late in his career. When he visited Paris's Hôtel de Crillon in his capacity as Secretary of State, he and his staff allegedly robbed the hotel of a significant portion of its luxurious monogrammed towels. The theft only came to light when, after Shultz's visit, then–Vice President George H.W Bush and his staff visited the hotel. As reported in Forbes years later by Christopher Buckley, who was traveling with the VP on that trip, Bush's staffers noticed their rooms conspicuously devoid of bath linens, and were met with icy resistance when they called down to get some. Ultimately, the hotel staff begrudgingly handed over a few towels, but only after some members of the entourage were forced to dry off with toilet paper.

9. Mikhail Prokhorov
The general thinking in France is that the Courchevel ski resort has been overrun by gaudy Russian billionaire playboys. It's a view perpetuated in large part by the frequent visits of Mikhail Prokhorov, an industrialist notorious for the lavish parties he likes to throw, including an annual two-week-long Christmas celebration for his comrades. But the notion that the world's 24th richest man (Forbes values Prokhorov's worth at nearly $20 billion) tarnished the resort's reputation came into much sharper relief in January 2007, when he was arrested for allegedly running a prostitution ring out of several of the resort's hotels to, uh, service his friends, who wisely paid the women in luxury goods from boutiques in the area (making a criminal case tougher to prove). The New York Times reported that the charges against Prokhorov and his influential Russian pals disappeared after several days; the damage to Courchevel's reputation among its more traditional guests was hardly so fleeting.

10. Brandon Davis
The unctuous oil heir and taunter of Lindsay Lohan prompts eye rolls from proprietors of hotels, restaurants and nightclubs alike when he shows up at the door. This past March, Us Weekly reported that he was kicked out of the Sunset Marquis in Los Angeles after acting belligerent in the hotel's bar. And last summer, the New York Post wrote that Davis was ejected from his own brother's wedding reception at Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach after fighting with his father and knocking over chairs, tables, and flower arrangements. Then there was the 2001 incident in which he took out a $150,000 line of credit at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and promptly lost it at the tables. Turns out Davis didn't quite have the cash to reimburse the house, and remained in debt until he ultimately sold off some of his possessions to pay it back. Worse, the hotel is owned by Peter Morton, whose son Harry was Davis's best friend until this incident. Lessons are learned hard, however: In 2007, the Atlantis Paradise Resort and Casino in the Bahamas sued Davis for a bounced $75,000 check.

11. Nicole Kidman
Concierges the world over know that this A-list actress can be a bit, um, particular. As detailed in the book “Great Reservations,” by two former staffers of the Four Seasons Chicago (the project was shelved, sadly, just before it was about to debut, though excerpts made it into the press), Kidman issued demands that would make an obsessive-compulsive proud. Once, in advance of what was to be only a 12-hour stay, she had assistants ship a set of pink, 800-thread-count Italian sheets to the hotel, along with pages' worth of diagrams and instructions for making up her bed. Then she never bothered to actually show up. And in 2006, the London Independent reported that Kidman had the staff at the Dorchester replace the standard 60-watt lightbulbs in her room with 40-watt bulbs. Perhaps she just needs a better makeup artist?

12. Michael Jackson
The king of pop's oddball lifestyle isn't news, but his bizarre tics, particularly when it comes to his hotel stays, never cease to astound. And we're not just talking about his history of dangling small children from balconies, as he famously did at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin. As reported in 2006, Jackson forced the World Music Awards to book almost the entire Hempel Hotel in London for close to $100,000 in exchange for his performance, and he asked that an 18-foot wall be erected on the first floor to ensure his privacy. Inexplicably, he also had 30 children with him. And last year, the London Evening Standard reported that, during his stay at London's Jumeirah Hotel, Jackson requested bowls full of Haribo gummy candies, a large mirror, and a giant xylophone. Britain's Daily Star quoted a hotel insider as saying, "The weird thing is that they weren't for his kids."

13. Johnny Depp
Though he's since become rather domesticated, Depp was taken downtown in handcuffs after a 1994 incident at the Mark Hotel in New York City. Depp was staying in the presidential suite with then-girlfriend Kate Moss (who we all know is squeaky clean) when he "had a bad day"—as he later told Playboy magazine — and flew into a fury, breaking glass and furniture all over the room, almost as if he had blades for fingers. The charges of felony criminal mischief were dropped after he agreed to pay $9,767 in damages. Said John Waters, who directed Depp in “Cry Baby” not long before and adored the young star, "The room service must have been bad."

14. 1998 U.S. Men's Hockey Team
Rock stars are expected to perpetuate a certain degree of chaos, but Olympic athletes are better known for early bedtimes. Of course, this doesn't apply to NHL players, who were admitted to the Games for the first time in 1998. On the night the U.S. team lost to the Czech Republic in the Nagano games, they presumably spent the night partying before returning to their hotel room inside the Olympic Village. The Associated Press reported that they allegedly broke ten chairs, emptied three fire extinguishers in the room, dented a door, and threw a bunch of the chairs and fire extinguishers into a courtyard below. But perhaps it was all just an accident, as team member Jeremy Roenick tried to claim. "The chairs and furniture that we had were definitely not made for NHL players," he told the Chicago Tribune at the time. "The chairs would fall apart right there, just sitting on them." After which they would levitate and launch themselves out of a window. Right.

15. Keith Moon
The infamous drummer for the Who is the godfather of trashed hotel rooms. An early legend (the details of which differ, depending on who is consulted, but nevertheless is representative of Moon's routine post–check-in behavior) recounts how in 1967 he drove a car into a pool at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan. This was only after he dropped his own five-tier birthday cake all over the carpet of his room during a party where guests sprayed the decor with fire extinguishers. The incident allegedly resulted in Moon's arrest, $24,000 in damages, and a Holiday Inn chain-wide ban on the Who. A year later, in Australia, Moon threw a TV off a balcony on the top floor of the Southern Cross Hotel and into the pool below. When a manager arrived in the suite with a drenched television in hand, demanding to know who did the deed, Moon exclaimed "I did!" before snatching it back and throwing it over the balcony once more. It became his signature move at hotels, a whimsical routine less psychotically “Shining”-esque than the time he went to a hardware store, bought a hatchet and proceeded to turn each piece of furniture in his Saskatoon, Canada, hotel room into timber. Our favorite, though? The time Moon set off a dynamite explosion in the bathroom of an American hotel to teach the manager, who had asked him to turn down the racket on his cassette player, the difference between "noise" and the Who.