Archive for February, 2008

Heeren Inn (Malacca) has bed bugs

If you visit Malacca, never stay in the Heeren Inn.

Bed bugMy family was attacked by bed bugs on Friday night in the Heeren Inn. The hotel owner did not care.

We stayed in rooms 207 and 208. The bed bugs attacked in the early hours of the morning and the itchiness woke us up. We assumed that the bites were from mosquitoes. Later in the day, the bites became inflamed and uncomfortable. When I described what a bed bug looks like, my mother realised she had found one that morning on her bed.

My mother has more than 50 bites all over her body. Her face too – eyes, nose, cheeks, forehead, chin, neck – are red with bites. The feeling is uncomfortable and painful. Sophia and I have about 20 bites. I've taken my mum to hospital twice and she has had one steroid injection, one Piriton injection and has been given 5 days of Piriton tablets to try to ease the pain.

Bed bug bites on the armIt's terrible for this to happen on my mothers holiday. I am torn to even publish the photos here, the bites are so severe. I've since removed the photo of her bitten face because it's too painful for me to share. It's my responsibility to look after my mum while she visits us in Malaysia and staying in this hotel was a big mistake.

I explained the situation to the hotel owner. To my shock, he would not give us a full refund. He claimed he did not even know what bed bugs were, so I showed him photos from Wikipedia and explained that:

  • Bedbugs are normally carried into hotels via guests baggage.
  • They live in dark places such as floorboards or under furniture.
  • The bites are very uncomfortable and last for more than 7 days.

He still refused to refund the 156RM room cost (£25 / $50US). After much discussion, he offered me 56RM saying that we "should pay something for the room". I told him that we would be "paying" for his infested hotel room for the next 7+ days and declined his stingey gesture. The money is not important, it is the principle that matters. You cannot ask people to pay for a room with bed bugs.

The very least he should have done was give a sincere apology and a full refund. But in fact he showed that he does not care what happened to my mother. What a money-grabbing, selfish man.

Now I'm telling other people so they can avoid this painful mistake. You can help me by linking to this page so people can avoid the Heeren Hotel and learn how to protect themselves against bed bugs.

Advice to travellers:

Bed bug bites to the finger

  • Ask the hotel / guesthouse / backpackers what they do to avoid bed bugs. They are a common problem in tropical countries and hotels should have a pest control procedure in place.
  • Bedbugs can live in any room, including clean-looking ones.
  • They are more likely to be found in high turnover accommodation with guests moving from one hotel to another especially backpackers, though they can be found anywhere.
  • As a very rough rule, the more you pay for a room, the lower the chance of bedbugs is.
  • If you wake in the night to the feeling of insect bites and you cannot hear the buzz of mosquitos, then you might be being bitten by bedbugs. They normally feed between 3-6am. Often they bite a few times in the same place – sometimes 3 bites in a line or a ring.
  • They can live for 18 months and they can survive without feeding for up to 12 months.
  • Some people have only a small reaction to bedbug bites.
  • I still have not found an effective remedy to reduce the discomfort of bites. Coconut oil can help. Piriton (injection or tablet) can also help. If you know of a good remedy, please, please, please leave a comment below.

Bedbug bites to the backI have been attacked by bedbugs (and trust me, attack is the correct word) in Australia, Indonesia, and twice in Malaysia. They are the nastiest bloodsuckers of them all.

Please note that the Heeren Inn is not the same as Heeren House. Heeren House is a different guest house in Malacca and looks like a pleasant place to stay.

Malacca is on the west coast of Malaysia and is sometimes spelt Melaka, Melaca, or Malaka. Heeren Inn is spelt just like that and not Heren Inn, Herren Inn or Herron Inn.

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