Now that the holiday season has come to an end, hopefully we can reflect back on the good times we had and look forward to a prosperous, healthy year to come. Perhaps many of us had an opportunity to travel and visit friends and relatives or enjoyed vacation time amidst some beautiful, relaxing locale. If some of your holiday festivities at some point involved a hotel stay (as did mine), now would be a good time to assess some pet peeves and shortcomings of some of the world’s innkeepers, big and small.
Atop the list for me is java. I like coffee. Black coffee. One of my favorite amenities is free lobby coffee; a great thing to have if you’re in a hurry to check out and/or don’t have time to sit down for a full breakfast. Some mid-level hotel chains have coffee presses available round the clock in the lobby area or in and around a breakfast nook. Lately, the in-room coffee maker offerings have diminshed somewhat. Where there used to be carafes and hefty-sized coffee mugs, we now find paper cups and single-sized packets. And what’s with those little green packets of de-caf? If you’re so desperate for a “cup of joe” right after you’ve hopped out of bed to brew it right in your room, are you really so laid back as to absolutely need de-caf? Often when I ask for extra packets of the real thing at the front desk they sort of give me a look and have security bring it several minutes later.
I really appreciate the free shampoo that most decent hotels provide their guests. Some even provide free bottles of fresh tasting minty mouthwash. Yipee!!! Being a guy I really don’t see the need for a hair dryer to placed in the bathroom drawer. Isn’t that something the ladies never ever forget to bring on their travels? I don’t really need to blow dry my hair but I do pack lots of stuff in my shaving kit and I could use the extra drawer space for my STUFF!
A few months ago, I received a free room upgrade that included an in-room whirlpool. But I had to twist up a wash cloth to keep the water from running out. Is it too much to ask for a drain stopper that works? And if I want to flip down the toilet seat cover to sit and tie my shoes on the way out the door could it be constructed of heavy enough plastic so that I’m not bouncing up and down and listing from starboard to port every time I bend down to lace up?
While sitting outside waiting for a cab or having a cigar, checking my smartphone, etc. it’s usually a nice day but please provide at least one bench that’s under cover for when it’s raining.
After a night on the town there’s probably some time for TV viewing before turning in for the evening. One of the coolest hi-tech in-room features I’ve experienced is the Lodgenet app. After downloading the app (many hotels still are stingy with free wi-fi: another blog, another story), pair the TV remote with your smartphone and you can now use your phone to change channels and even search the vicinity for tourist attractions, local businesses, etc. I don’t know how well the company is doing lately but this sort of innovation is a step in the right direction. That being said, as we road weary travellers pass into middle age, take notice of how tiny the numbers and letters appear on a typical hotel TV remote. There was that one time I was trying to press the alternate channel button and ended up accidently renting a movie. The front desk was great about taking care of it. And no, it wasn’t THAT movie.
Speaking of movies, I’ve noticed that the major hotel chains do a pretty good job of offering a large choice of the latest cinematic releases. However, if it’s a really cold or a really hot day the way in which you set the climate control blower can really ruin your appreciation of the bristling dialogue of that David Mamet screenplay. Some of these units can almost awaken the dead when they kick in. Maybe someday we can use or smartphones to adjust room temperature.
While we’re talking remotes and smartphones, let’s deal with perhaps my biggest pet peeve. Many hotel rooms still don’t place an electrical outlet at the base of the bedside table lamp. The clock radio provided with the room is usually too cheesy and complicated to finagle with. We either get a wake up call or use our phones as an alarm. For what it’s worth, my phone is the first thing I check when I wake up in the morning and I really don’t like fumbling around in the dark to do so.
As such, many hotels could do a better of locating the main light switch to illuminate your entrance to your room. Some foreign hotels I’ve stayed in utilized an energy saving key slot that switches on the light upon insertion of a keycard. Perhaps, there will be an app for that one day.
A comfortable, temperate room, good coffee, a nice decently priceed breakfast, and maybe a well-done burger at a hotel sports bar and I’m usually pretty content. But as for one last thing… it’s no big deal, but they usually tell me they don’t have cole slaw. Not a deal breaker, but I like cole slaw.
Bon voyage & Happy New Year!