Goodnight...Let The Bedbugs Bite

By Hazel Last edited 138 months ago
Goodnight...Let The Bedbugs Bite

It's the oldest trick in the book: go to a fancy restaurant. Order an enormous, sumptuous meal. Eat it with relish. Leave a small amount of food on your plate (perhaps the uninspiring salad garnish or other bit of the meal that didn't interest you). Add to it a dead cockroach you brought with you. Call management and complain loudly; threaten to take the restaurant to court for poor hygiene standards. Back down graciously as waiters bring you a free dessert and grovelling free coffee. Never eat there again.

American lawyer Sidney Bluming and wife Cynthia have taken this idea a little further and are suing a luxury London hotel for millions of dollars for the distress and rashes caused by bed bugs found in their bed.

The mega-expensive Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Park Lane (the cheapest room we could find was the Courtyard Room with twin beds at the Internet Rate of £315.00 for one night) afflicted the visiting couple last May and made their five night stay very unhappy indeed. Instead of exclusive aromatherapy massages and fragrant, luxurious pampering in the spa, the Blumings were scratching away at angry red bites and irritated rashes.

It's difficult to make a night of it in the capital when all you want to do is lie in bed trying to calm your blotchy inflamed skin - but unbeknownst to the American couple, staying in bed was exactly what caused the outbreak and was making it worse as their luxury holiday limped on. They would have been better off picking up mild e-coli in a Mayfair oyster bar instead.

Bites and rashes from bed bugs are harder to fake than a strategically placed dead cockroach in a restaurant, and we are certain that even in the best hotels, you can't avoid mattresses and furnishing acquiring unpleasant insect friends. Still, we have to take them at their word when they claim the bed bugs infested their luggage and survived the flight home to Manhattan, where they continued to wreak havoc to the couple's life until they fumigated their entire apartment and replaced all their goods. We know bed bugs are resilient but these guys sound indestructible and vengeful.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is very contrite and have helpfully handed over the matter to their insurers. They are keen to stress that this unfortunate episode of insect infestation is an isolated incident. Nonetheless, if it can happen at the Mandarin Oriental, it can happen anywhere and the bench next to Derelict Santa on Shepherds Bush Green at 1% of the hotel's room rate (£3.15 for a can of extra-strength lager and a miniature pork pie is the necessary deposit on your night on the Green) suddenly doesn't look that bad.

Image of Bedbug courtesy of The Giant Microbes company.

Last Updated 23 January 2007

tracy rolling

I had a lot of friends who were living at Shakespeare and Co about 15 years ago and that place was infested with bed bugs. I got one in my place once--probably hitched a ride on someone's backpack between the book store and my chambre de bonne.

I knew right away what was going on when I began to be gnawed about the ankles in the middle of the night and I sprayed my room with insecticide like a madwoman in the middle of the night, which did the trick. But boy, those bugs are tenacious.

I had another run in with bed bugs in a cheap London hostel once, too. It was the sort of place (as is Shakespeare and Co) where one expects to see bugs, though.


I have tried serveral products to get rid of bed bugs and the best i have used is a product called BEDSAFE. I originally bought from ebay but have since bought direct from the maker at aand i highly recommend it. I now carry it all the time when travelling just to be safe!