It's the notorious hotel of horrors where guests have been murdered, drugs have been injected and alcohol swigged.

The Gatwick Hotel is a place you'd stay far away from - you'd cross the street just so you didn't have to walk past the grisly guesthouse in St Kilda in Melbourne's southeast.

TripAdvisor reviews warn people to never stay there and describe it as a halfway house that has police on speed dial.

"Feel for some of the people that stay here bcos (sic) it's a hotbed of violence and drugs," a review said.

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Another guest said three police detectives calmed down a group of hotel guests on the footpath while another group of shirtless visitors yelled abuse at passers-by while also emptying buckets of water out the windows.

"You would be better off sleeping on a tram," the review said.

Another warns backpackers could be lured in to the hotel of horrors for the cheap rate of $220 a week, but don't be fooled.

"It is a hostel for people down on their luck. Some of the people who permanently stay at the Gatwick spend their whole days outside the building pestering people, who dare walk past, for change. Avoid at all costs," the unhappy guest said.

It was no secret the Gatwick Hotel was a squalid boarding house and sisters Yvette Kelly and Rose Banks put it on the market last December because they couldn't afford maintenance.

It's been described as a "festering flophouse" and "flea pit" but the reputation of the Gatwick could change with new owners.

Lemon Baxter real estate agent Jonathon Walls told the Port Phillip Leader the notorious 66-room hotel would soon sell, likely within the next week.

He said there were visions of giving the Gatwick a second life, turning it into a boutique hotel.

"One that you'd take your partner to for a weekend away or something like that," Mr Walls said.

When first put up for sale, the Gatwick was asking $12 million but Mr Walls told the Port Phillip Leader the price had since dropped and there were several interested people.

You have to wonder who would dare take on the Gatwick Hotel.

A documentary, The Saints from St Kilda, shows the cockroaches, junkies and jailbirds and pregnancy tests in fridges and blood-strained sinks.

Residents say you can get a cocktail of drugs from within the hotel, anything you want can be found inside the Gatwick.

But both Ms Banks and Ms Kelly loved it despite its flaws, as it had been in their family for years.

Many of those who lived at the Gatwick said they'd be out on the streets if it wasn't for the hotel, where they felt warmed and welcomed.

The owners told the documentary they did have days that were like living nightmares and people would sometimes skip out on paying rent, spending their pensions and dole payments on gambling and drugs instead.

While many of the disadvantaged hope Gatwick will continue to run as a boarding house, the real estate ad instead marketed it as a place to open a boutique hotel.

But it has a reputation that would be a challenge to change as the halfway house has been the catalyst for violence in the St Kilda area for decades.

A man was stabbed to death by an alcoholic who drank 14 litres of cask wine in 2011, the ABC reports.

Just last month a man fell from his third-storey window and was treated in hospital for head injuries.

Yahoo 7 reported between April 2012 and 2013, there were 74 crimes committed at the Gatwick, including kidnapping, assault and aggravated burglary.

"There's no hiding the fact that there's been murders, violent assaults, there have been drug overdoses there," Detective Sergeant Ed Logonder told Yahoo 7.

He described it as a dangerous place and had one of the worst reputations.

Mr Walls told the Port Phillip Leader offers for the hotel have been put on the table and real estate agents were just waiting for the owners to accept one.

"It's been very frustrating but that's sometimes what it's like when you have vendors that have had a long association with the property," Mr Walls said.

"They're emotional and they don't necessarily want to let it go unless they get what they feel the property is worth."