I just think the whole premise to it is wonderful. It doesn't matter that it's not in any way rooted in reality, it's just a real classic Sci-Fi story.
My favourite part is surely when they find the body of the US Astronaut and Riker reads out his diary entry. A brilliant piece of writing:
"I write this in the hope that it will someday be read by human eyes. I can only surmise at this point, but apparently our exploratory shuttle was contaminated by an alien life form which infected and killed all personnel except myself. I awakened to find myself here in the Royale Hotel, precisely as described in the novel I found in my room. And for the last thirty eight years I have survived here. I have come to understand that the alien contaminators created this place for me out of some sense of guilt, presuming that the novel we had on board the shuttle about the Hotel Royale was in fact a guide to our preferred lifestyle and social habits. Obviously, they thought this was the world from which I came. I hold no malice toward my benefactors. They could not possibly know the hell they have put me through, for it was such a badly written book, filled with endless cliché and shallow characters. I shall welcome death when it comes."
Any other opinions of this episode?
I completely agree with you! I've just posted about it on the unjustly hated episode thread.
It's one of my favourite TNG episodes. I love the entire story.
And it had Data at his cute and funny best, which is always a big plus for me. His gambling scenes are hilarious.