I’ve been thinking about posting my hotel dos and don’ts for a few months. I’ve been traveling a lot and I’ve been surprised at how very simple basic things are being botched by the supposedly high end hotels, and yet are well executed by lesser hotels. I don’t know why it’s happening, but it’s starting to get on my nerves.
As a bit of background, I am not the kind of person that stays in one preferred hotel chain. I go to a lot of conventions where I stay at the hotel the con picked. I will also favor location over most other factors. For instance, I tend to stay in the hotel closest to my cousin when I visit.
So let me describe a hotel getting it right. When I arrive at a hotel there should be someone at the front desk. I should not be standing around for a long time after being in a car all day waiting for a desk clerk to show up. When I give my name the clerk should say something along the lines of, “Yes, I can see your reservation right here.” Lately I’ve been getting a lot of, “I can’t seem to find your reservation.” Then I show them my confirmation email and there’s still sometimes a lot of hoopla before they admit I have a reservation.
Yes I said hoopla. I’m old. I’m entitled.
Once I’m checked in there should be a luggage cart available to help me get all my junk to the room. Those are no longer a given – or sometimes the hotel has two to service all the customers which is nuts. When I get to the room there should be no insects. I understand a stray fly or two but recently there was a bug the length and width of my thumb.
The room should be clean. I don’t mean I will throw a fit if there’s dust on the TV. I’m not the greatest housekeeper myself so I’ve got reasonable standards. In the past few months I have found blood on a toilet seat and an unidentifiable brown stain on a bathroom door. Two years ago we checked into a room that was coated in grime and had cigarette ashes in the AC vent – we did not stay.
The bathroom should have both hot and cold water. I’ve been in a hotel this week that had no cold water which made swallowing pills completely nasty. Ideally there should be enough water pressure for a satisfying shower as well. Helpful hint to hotels – rain shower heads do not supply enough concentrated water to effectively rinse shampoo out of hair.
A good hotel will supply both shampoo AND conditioner. The bottles should be squeezable so I don’t have to whack them against my hand over and over like an old catsup bottle. The bottles should be different colors so I can tell them apart without my glasses on. Again, I am OLD. Another helpful hint – not everyone likes body wash. Two bars of soap – one for the sink and one for the shower – is the way to my heart. Towels that don’t feel like sandpaper is also a plus.
AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THE BATHROOM SHOULD HAVE A DOOR AND A MECHANISM FOR KEEPING IT CLOSED. I am not even kidding here.
Furniture and carpeting should be in tact. I’ve stayed in a hotel with no drawers in the dresser. It was a HILTON. Recently I stayed in a room where part of the carpet had been cut up and peeled back for some reason then just pushed back into place leaving an ugly scar that didn’t feel good underfoot. That was the same hotel as the giant insect and also a broken fridge.
I love having a fridge in the room. In a perfect world a microwave would sit beside it. I’m also a big fan of those little markets hotels run where you can buy drinks and snacks and such. I like having a bar in a hotel and the ability to buy breakfast in the morning.
Two other odd things lately have been ruining my sleep at hotels. One is a bizarre fad in bed frames that have razor sharp edges and corners. I have hurt myself on them hard enough to have pain all night. The other strange problem that’s been coming up lately is curtains that don’t close all the way. This week there was a hotel with blackout curtains mounted on hardware that left a four-foot gap between them. At 6:00 a.m. full sunlight hit my face and woke me up.
Oh, and a number of working elevators. The hotel by my cousin has two elevators but only one works – and it is sloooow. At another hotel I’ve stayed in recently was literally the size of a city block and only had one bank of elevators situated in one corner. I’ve stayed there on multiple occasions for conventions and it is possible to have a room that requires you to walk a block in one direction, turn, then walk another block all while dragging your luggage with you.
Am I being unreasonable? Is a clean room in good repair really too much to ask for? Are hot and cold water, dresser drawers, functional elevators and curtains a luxury now? And if they are why is it that places like Courtyard by Marriott and Country Inns and Suites doing such a better job than Hiltons, Crowne Plazas, and Renaissance Hotels?
I guess I’m saying these days when I find I’ve checked into a good hotel I really appreciate it.