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[[quoteright:332:[[http://www.gravesendinn.org/ http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/innofnoreturn01_79.png]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:332:"Why do we never break down at the Four Seasons?"]]-]

->''"Relax," said the night man,''\\
''"We are programmed to receive.''\\
''"You can check out any time you like,''\\
''"[[WhamLine But you can never leave!]]"''
-->-- '''Music/{{Eagles}}''', "Hotel California"

Basically, a place of accommodation that kills its customers and robs their corpses. For unknown reasons, this turns up a lot in French literature/works set in France. Sometimes, to "get more bang for the buck," the proprietors will [[ImAHumanitarian "serve"]] their guests as well. One wonders how these places advertise and attract guests/victims, other than the possible curiosity if rumors of their crimes are publicized. See also HellHotel and InnSecurity, although in the latter, attacks on guests are generally not by the inn's owners.

If it is just impossible to leave, and you stay forever, see LotusEaterMachine.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Advertising ]]

* Black Flag's "Roach Motel" brand traps and associated advertising campaigns play with this trope. "Roaches check in... but they don't check out!"

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In ''GeGeGeNoKitaro'', Kitaro ends up as a mind-controlled servant of a ChineseVampire who runs an inn like this.
* A two parter in the ''HatenkouYuugi'' anime features one of these.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' issue "The Hunt," the protagonist of the story-within-a-story stops for the night in an inn like this. He survives; it's heavily implied that the innkeeper doesn't.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* The hotel in ''Film/{{Vacancy}}'' has owners who use the hotel to make films of their grisly murders.
* ''Film/{{Psycho}}'' has the infamous Bates Motel.
* The 1992 Hong Kong action film ''Dragon Inn'' features Maggie Cheung as the innkeeper at a remote inn where she occasionally seduces the guests, murders them, carves them up, and makes them into meals for the other patrons.
* The bar in ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'' is really a feeding ground for vampires.
* ''Film/MotelHell'', in which the owner and his sister make sausages out of the guests.
* The ''{{Hostel}}'' films take this trope and just roll with it.
* Played with in ''Film/TheHappinessOfTheKatakuris'', where the innkeepers ''aren't trying'' to kill their guests. Everyone who stays dies, and it bothers the owners.
* ''Film/{{Frontiers}}'' has one run by a family of cannibalistic neo-Nazis.
* A variation of this occurs in ''Film/{{Stardust}}'', when the witch Lamia builds an inn out of magic for the express purpose of luring the heroine there so she can cut out her heart. Although she fails to kill her intended victim, she does kill and rob the only other patron who happens to show up at her inn that night; the party who was following them turns up the next morning to find the dead man naked in a bathtub, and no trace of the magical inn.
* ''Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons'' features a large, remote inn in the mountains run by Zhu Bajie, where any unsuspecting guest is killed and made as stuffing to spice up the large roast pigs for the next guest to come along, all covered up by illusions. The protagonist and a demon hunter barely make it out despite being able to see through the illusions.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Folklore and Mythology ]]

* OlderThanFeudalism is the dubious hospitality of the wicked innkeeper Procrustes, of GreekMythology, and the proprietor of the Ur-example. Procrustes would force his guests to lie down on an iron bed, which would prove either too short or too long for them. If the bed was too long, he would stretch the guest to fit it; too short, and he would cut them down to size. [[DeathByIrony Procrustres then got a big taste of his own medicine]] when he tried to do this to Theseus. One version had Theseus simply chop Procrustes to bits with an ax; other versions claim he made the evil innkeeper fit his own bed. [[TheUnreveal No one ever said whether he was too long or too short, though]].
* There are Chinese tales about bandit-run inns who serve human meat, although this trope is likely to pop up in any culture where people travel.
** One of these was named "Three Cups and you cannot cross the Mountain," referring to their rice wine-based house drink, which rendered travellers unconscious and ready for butchering.
* Likewise, Japan has myths about a mysterious "Sparrow's Inn," where shapeshifting birds lure humans in and kill them in their sleep, presumably to eat them.
* The original ''SweeneyTodd'' legend fits this pretty well, as do its adaptations.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* The short story "The Red Inn" by Creator/HonoreDeBalzac is a good example, and was filmed twice as a horror comedy, even closer to this trope.
* Used to real ShootTheShaggyDog effect in Camus' story "The Inn", which he also wrote as a play titled ''Cross Purposes''. In brief, a guy abandons his family at a young age and then comes home rich to the inn run by his mother and sister with the intent of bettering their lives. They don't recognize him and have gotten in the habit of killing and robbing customers. They do this to him, discover who he was, and [[HilarityEnsues suicides ensue]].
* Creator/WilkieCollins' story "A Terribly Strange Bed" is a famous example, and is set in Paris, and has an inn which is in cahoots with a crooked gambling den.
** Creator/JosephConrad's story "The Inn of the Two Witches" has a similar premise and an identical method of killing customers. This similarity may have been an accident, the product of both authors hearing similar traveler's tales.
*** Creator/WilliamHopeHodgson wrote a story titled "The Inn of the Black Crow" which again, has a similar plot and murder method. This story was anthologized in ''The Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives'', where the editor commented something like "no points for guessing the writer Hodgson was plagiarizing."
* Sbirro's restaurant in mystery writer Stanley Ellin's short story "The Specialty of the House", also adapted as an episode of ''Series/AlfredHitchcockPresents''.
* In Creator/IsaacBashevisSinger's ''Stories for Children'', one story, "The Fearsome Inn", tells of an inn run by a married couple of two witches/demons who would lure and trap lost travelers.
* Happens in "Rattle of Bones", one of the SolomonKane short stories by Creator/RobertEHoward.
* Creator/RoaldDahl's story "The Landlady", although in this case, the killer is simply psycho rather than greedy.
* In a short story by Creator/FrankHerbert, a honeymooning couple on their way to Vegas become trapped in a hotel which imprisons gamblers. Although it doesn't actively attempt to kill them, ''no-one'' has ever left.
* In the Creator/HPLovecraft short story "Literature/TheShadowOverInnsmouth", the residents of Innsmouth [[spoiler: attempt to break into the narrator's room at the Inn to kill him, presumably to keep the [[TownWithADarkSecret secrets of the town]] hidden from outsiders. The narrator actually references the trope in the story, wondering if it is one of those hotels where travelers are slain for money (despite his obviously lack of excessive prosperity) and his preparation is what saves his life]].
* Kenji Miyazawa's eponymous ''Restaurant of Many Orders''. The "guests" finally caught on about the time they figured out [[ToServeMan the "cologne" was actually vinegar]].
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ConanTheBarbarian story "Literature/ShadowsInZamboula," Aram Baksh's inn. He survives by murdering only strangers.
%%* ''TheChroniclesOfNarnia'': [[spoiler: Harfang.]]
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d and Subverted then Inverted in TheBlackCompany series (''The White Rose''). A wayside inn is taken over by deserters from the Lady's army. Croaker refers to them as Trapdoor Spiders. The [[spoiler:remnant of the]] Company stays the night, scouting the Deserters as they, in turn attempt to scout the company, and are allowed on their way. The Deserters [[spoiler:attack on the road the next day, and get counter ambushed by the squad mages]].
* The hero of Creator/LarryNiven's ''Destiny Road'' hears a tale about an inn that was run by escaped prisoners who killed and ate travelers. This is a bit jarring, since he was one of the escaped prisoners, and while they didn't do anything illegal there except steal the power to run the place, it does mean the authorities might be aware he survived his escape from prison.
* Practically every inn in WaterMargin seems to murder and rob its customers at least some of the time. Given GreyAndGray morality of the novel, several of these innkeepers are among the heroes of the story.
* The [[/folder]]

[[folder: Don't Go Inn ]]
in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear''. Well, if you see the sign and don't leave within the day it's likely too late. [[spoiler: The ground [[QuicksandSucks eats people]]; the whole planet sort of serves as the "inn".]] In this case the slow rate of very carefully concealed disappearances and the friendly Enzeem work to make sure a small but not insignificant number of people stop by.
* ''Das Wirtshaus im Spessart'' ("The inn in the Spessart") by Wilhelm Hauff - a mixed group of travellers have to stay the night in a creepy inn in the Spessart forest and discover it is a den of a gang of robbers and highwaymen. One of them is sent out to fetch help from the military while the others barricade themselves in a room. To stay awake, they take turns telling fairy tales and other stories. This framing story was turned into a successful West German movie in the 1950s (with two sequels) leaving out the fairy tales.
* Venta Quemada in the ''[[TheSaragossaManuscript The Manuscript Found In Saragossa]]'', which is also a HauntedHouse (it is abandoned and the 'innkeepers' are a pair of shapeshifting ghosts).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The ''Series/CriminalMinds'' team went after a Bates-style serial killer in "Paradise". Played by Creator/WilWheaton of [[CreatorsPet all people]]. So the ending of the episode has [[spoiler: Wesley [[IncrediblyLamePun Crushed]].]]
* The eponymous pub in the ''Series/JonathanCreek'' episode "Mother Redcap." A bit of a subversion though, as [[spoiler: these were planned murders of specific individuals who the landlord had taken money to 'get rid of']]
* In the fifth series of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' , a hotel sprung up in the middle of nowhere, which trapped tourists in order to feed them to the gods.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* [[MindScrew Possibly]] the subject of the song "Hotel California."
* The Music/BlueOysterCult may refer to this in the concept of Conroy's Bar in ''Before the Kiss'' - Conroy's may be a place where vampires gather for a convivial social drink...
** In the song ''Astronomy'', the Four Winds Bar may well be a place that people enter but do not leave - or at least not by the same door... not necessarily because of malevolent intent, but because you might go in through a door on Earth, realise the four winds Bar stands outside time and space, and you cannot find the door again...
--> Four doors at the Four Winds Bar;
--> Two doors locked and windows barred,
--> One door left to take you in,
--> The other one just mirrors it...

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* Often operated by shapeshifting demons in ''LegendOfTheFiveRings'', to the point where the [[ProperlyParanoid Crab Clan]] [[CrazyPrepared have code words]] to warn each other without alerting the proprietors that they've been found out.
* Several examples in ''{{Ravenloft}}'', notably how the Mindefisk sisters made their living.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''{{Avernum}}'', there's a house on an island in the middle of nowhere. When the party gets in, they are served food by invisible servants, and have beds prepared. If they agree to such treatment, rather than violently wreck the place on first sight, they wake up groggy and weak, for they only consumed illusions of food - to fight a horde of hungry spirit creatures.
** Also in ''Avernum 3'': exploring further east than the quests provide any need to will bring your party to an isolated town that appears unpopulated and undisturbed, except for a sickly odor, difficult to identify. A single inhabitant welcomes you to his Inn. If GenreSavvy doesn't clue you why it's a bad idea to drink the wine or sleep in the beds, SaveScumming will teach you.
* ''BreathOfFireII'' has the Wildcat Cafe, in which you are politely instructed to discard your equipment, pick up your utensils and season yourself liberally, culminating in a fight with the chef after a trip across a hot grill. Partly subverted in that the Wildcat Cafe is happy to serve patrons who are strong enough to fight their way in. They [[ToServeMan serve]] everybody else, too...
* The Ultra-Luxe Casino (which includes hotel facilities) is rumored to be this in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas''. In reality, [[spoiler:the only cannibals are Mortimer and a small group of his followers, who want to return the White Glove Society to its old customs. The rest are okay]].
* One turns up in ''JadeEmpire''. With a slight twist- everyone apart from the cook is actually a mutant cannibal creature disguised by magic; they keep the human cook around to make things seem more "normal."
* There was one in ''{{Suikoden}}'', but they were actually members of the resistance. Imagine their surprise when they accidentally poison the hero's party, which resistance leader Odessa is a member of.
* The Stumbling Sabrecat Tavern in Fort Dunstad, [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]. The fact that it is located in a bandit fort could be enough of a warning; however, the bandits in the fort tend to keep to themselves when you approach and enter the tavern, only going aggro when you try to leave.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Parodied in [[http://www.angryflower.com/viands.html this]] ''BobTheAngryFlower'' comic.
* The [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin refreshingly honest Rob-U-While-U-Sleep Inn]] in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' prequel volume ''[=On the Origin of PCs=]''. Perhaps a partial example, since Elan and Sir Francois manage to escape, but the staff is hiding a corpse when they check in.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* One episode of ''CourageTheCowardlyDog'' features this, with the owner being [[PrimalFear Katz]].
* The Bates Motel is parodied in ''RockosModernLife''.
-->"Yes we have a vacancy, and we've got showers in all the rooms. What's that?! Will you excuse me? Coming, Mother!
* The motel Taz and Bushwacker Bob stay at in the ''TazMania'' episode "A Midsummer Night's Scream".
* PorkyPig and Sylvester check into a hotel full of murderous mice in the WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes short ''Claws for Alarm''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* From TheOtherWiki article on Cave-In-Rock, Illinois: Isaiah L. Potts operated Potts Inn on the Ford's Ferry Road in Illinois, where travelers checked in, but sometimes failed to check out. It's noted in the ''Life Treasury of American Folklore'' p. 123: "Potts succeeded in persuading travelers to remain all night at his inn. Tradition says many a man took his last drink at Pott's Spring and spent his last hour on Earth in Pott's House."
* H.H. Holmes and his Murder Castle.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Port_murders Burke and Hare]].
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bloody_Benders The Bloody Benders]]
* There was supposedly an inn called The Ostrich in Colnbrook, Berkshire, England where the owner and his wife would put rich guests into a special room with a trapdoor in the floor by the bed. When the guest was sleeping the bed would lift up, sliding them through the trapdoor into boiling ale, and then the owners would steal all their belongings.
** The sheer elaborateness of the story renders it highly questionable; all that preparation when a plain old knife would suffice.
* [[http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/partners/william-danthan-holbert/1-real-life-hostel-murders.html This recent case]] has been given the moniker "The real-life ''Hostel'' murders."
* Karl Denke's boarding house.
* There's a Pennsylvania version set on Hawk Mountain about one Matthias Schaumbaucher, who in the post-[[UsefulNotes/AmericanCivilWar Civil War]] period would bump off the odd wanderer for their goods. His misdeeds were only discovered when he confessed on his deathbed and damaged human skulls were found in a well on the property.
* While not involving murder on the premises, there were a number of old inns around Britain where the innkeeper would inform local highwaymen whenever a rich customer stayed the night, so they could be robbed a few miles on after they left.
* [[BitchInSheepsClothing Dorothea Puente]]'s boarding house in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothea_Puente Sacramento]].
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raya_and_Sakina Raya and Sakina]], the first women to be executed in modern Egypt (1921), run such an inn for travelling women in Alexandria and killed their guests to rob them of their money and jewels.

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