Hotels spend time and money to figure out what their guests want the most. To find this information, they send surveys asking how was the stay and asking their guests to rate everything from the front desk to the room cleanliness, and even the fitness room. Hotels also have their employees watch over sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp! to spot bad reviews so they can try to resolve the problems (in public, so everyone can see they care).
I’m going to save the hotels a bunch of money in market research. In no specific order, here are the FIVE things I want from my hotel room.
NOTE: When I originally wrote this post, these were the most important things for us when we were traveling. In a mid-COVID-19 world, there’s a new thing that we’d want from any place we’re willing to stay until further notice.
I’ve made it clear that one of my biggest pet peeves with hotels is the situation with pillows. They either give you too many pillows so you just end up throwing on the floor, or they just give you one pillow per person. I’ll travel with my pillow for longer trips (Sharon always brings hers) but If I’m only going for one or two nights, I’ll just use what they give me.
I give bonus points to Holiday Inn Express and some other hotels that give you a choice of soft or firm pillow (and label each one on the pillowcase).
It should be no surprise to hotels that people are traveling with more electronics than ever before. It’s very possible that you need to charge multiple phones, tablets, laptop computers, cameras, and maybe even plug in a nightlight. In the bathroom, we have two toothbrushes to charge in addition to a nightlight and a hairdryer the next morning. This is in addition to the items already in the room, like the lighting, alarm clock, TV, mini-fridge and coffee maker.
With all this in mind, and knowing darn well that hotel executives have just as many electronics as everyone else when they travel, why have I been in many hotel rooms that have only 1 or 2 accessible plugs? If you’re at the point where you need to start looking behind the nightstand and under the desk for whatever you can find, and figuring out what light or clock you can unplug to have an open outlet, you know something is not right with this situation.
Some hotels have the lamps that have an outlet or USB plug(s) in the base. Other hotels have installed multiple outlet connectors with USB on the nightstands. Both of these are easy fixes hotels can do to update the room to modern requirements. So what’s up with those who haven’t???
Of all the hotels we’ve stayed in recently, I wasn’t able to think of one of them that got this one 100% correct. The nearest one was the Hyatt Place in Raleigh, N.C.
The only thing that was missing was a free outlet on the other side of the bed. That problem was fixed by unplugging the alarm clock (we didn’t need it – the clock on the phone works just as well), so we could plug in a phone charger.
NIGHTSTAND/SHELF ON EACH SIDE OF THE BED
I’ve noticed a trend recently where only one side of the bed is getting a nightstand, table or shelf. The other side is either right against a wall with just enough room to walk, or has a chair and ottoman. This is usually also the side of the bed I usually sleep on.
I like to have a bottle of water by the side of the bed and I also like to have my phone nearby to hear the alarm and to look at the time (now you see why I want the outlet near the bed as well).
The room with the “closet” next to the bed was the most challenging of them all. I couldn’t even leave something on the floor next to the bed (lest you didn’t know, I’ve also become quite skilled at balancing a water bottle on the arm of a chair).
Here are two perfect examples of the bed against the wall. This is usually in a room with two beds that only has a single night table, so no matter which bed you use, someone isn’t getting a table. Really? REALLY?
Why is it that some hotel rooms are so dark? Even with all the lights turned on, the room is still not lit up at all. I used to blame this on hotels changing to energy-efficient light bulbs but that excuse doesn’t cut it anymore because the newer bulbs are as bright as the old ones. It’s just a matter of not enough lights in the proper places.
The Hampton Inn Charlotte-Belmont, NC stands out as one of the darkest rooms we’ve had in recent memory. The light behind the TV might have been of some use if it wasn’t BEHIND THE FLIPPIN’ TV!
Of course, if they had ceiling lights in hotel rooms, that would probably end the problem. But we know why they don’t.
The other issue I have with lighting is in the bathroom. Why can’t there be a light in the shower? I hate taking a shower in the dark and it’s not difficult to install a light fixture in there. Here are two classic examples of the unlit shower, or as I now call it “The Shower Cave”.
CURTAINS THAT CLOSE
One of the only things I still have to bring with me for the last 15+ years is a chip clip. Its function is simply to close the gap between curtains that’s formed when the two sides don’t exactly fit together.
How do they design this so the light from outside the room shines through the crack all night at the exact point where your head is? Or if not that, then it’s the sunrise that peeks through the gap to say “Good Morning” at 6 AM. Kill me now.
The problem has been solved by having one curtain for the window that pulls all the way across or the novel idea of having one curtain slide behind the other one by an inch or so, so they overlap. Geniuses came up with these solutions but some hotels still use the old technology and until they all learn, I’ll always have to bring a chip clip with me.
The need for a hotel room to be clean is more important than ever. When every surface could possibly be a source of catching COVID-19, hotels have gone out of their way to tell customers they’re putting new sanitary methods into practice. While it seems that some of these should have already been part of the usual protocol, we should expect hotels to meet these new measures.
We haven’t stayed in a hotel since the global pandemic started but I’ve read one (or two or ten) reviews showing how hotels aren’t meeting the new guidelines they’re setting for themselves. I’m not surprised since hotels are strapped for cash and there’s no money to add staff to meet these new requirements put into place by the national chains.
I don’t care if your guidelines are from the Cleveland Clinic or that you’re partnering with Clorox or Lysol. For me, the execution of the nationwide program is dependent solely on the one person cleaning my room.
There they are. My top five (six) things I want in a hotel room. Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan and Dylan. Sorry, I had to do that. It’s what I always think of when I see a “Top Five” list.
I could have come up with more than five things but I wanted this to be a list of problems that hotels can easily correct. If you want me to enjoy a stay at your hotel, then just get the simple things right. Don’t have me walk across the room at night to grab a drink of water while having to remember not to step on my phone charging on the floor. Then don’t have me wake up at the buttcrack of dawn because the sun is streaming through the curtains, and take a shower in a lightless cave, but yet still need a flashlight to look for my clothes because the room is too dark, At this point, it’s not going to matter how large the TV screen is or what brand the toiletries are; don’t be surprised when I say on my survey that I didn’t have an extraordinary stay that surpassed my expectations.
And whatever you do, don’t let me find that you didn’t change the sheets from the previous guest before I check in to my room.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and get emailed notifications of when we post. Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group – we have 14,000+ members and we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary