The internet in hotels should be free – and I really resent it when they charge you five dollars for a bottle of water beside your bed.
– Francis Ford Coppola
Holiday Inn’s old advertising slogan is one of the best: “The best surprise is no surprise.” We often do not notice when everything goes to our expectation. It can be the unhappy discoveries which dominate our memories of particular places. When a hotel gets everything else right, we are free to remark on the beautiful view, the comfort of the beds, and the delightful décor. But, in my book anyway, when certain things are short of expectation, the irritation can linger well beyond the pleasantries.
What things annoy you the most in a hotel stay? If I were to run a hotel, I would be sure to correct these issues!
- Bathroom amenities all in the same color and shape bottle, with labels too small to be read without glasses. How many times have you tried to shampoo with conditioner – with memorable non-results? Faced with identical bottles and small print I usually enter the shower with one in each hand, reciting something like “Shampoo in the left, conditioner in the right.” In the picture below it is clear that the hotel made some effort to distinguish the bottles visually, but the print labels would not be legible in the shower.
- Housekeeping staff who do not observe the advertised laundry guidelines. I am as happy as anyone to use towels more than one day, and many hotels offer that on placards in their bathrooms. So I hang up my washcloths and towels after the first use and expect to find them there for use again tomorrow (just like at home). All too often the used towels I tried to save have been replaced with lovely fresh ones. Does the staff not read their own placards? Perhaps they have found that fewer guests complain if towels are replaced than if they leave the used towels as advertised. How many guests aspire to low demand laundry then realize later that they don’t really enjoy it? It’s just annoying to feel they are advertising a good policy but not abiding by it themselves.
- Housekeeping that takes away the perfectly good bar of soap leaving a new one for me to unwrap (and consequently waste). Leave a fresh one for me to take home if you like, but why discard soap for a continuing guest?
- Charging for Wi-Fi. If McDonald’s and Super 8 can offer Wi-Fi to all guests, so can prestige hotels. This should be considered a standard amenity for any hotel with aspirations of good service, just as we have come to expect at least one phone in every room, rather than a party line in the hall. Charging exorbitant rates for calls from the hotel phone is a close second. When cell reception is unreliable or non-existent, hotels take advantage with amazing charges. Last week I was charged $9.75 for a two minute call from Stowe VT to Concord MA. Come on.
- Power plugs in unreachable places, or already fully committed to the room’s equipment. Guests need to charge phones and laptops overnight. This should be possible without having to stand on your head or move furniture to reach the outlets.
- Phones and clock-radios with inscrutable controls. Cellphones are a great substitute – if you can keep them charged. (See #5)
That’s enough venting for this week. What pet peeves of yours have I overlooked? Maybe if we band together, we can right the wrongs in the industry!
Boundaries divide. Travel unites.
6 August 2015