In this weekend’s blog post, our editor Tim Russell takes a look at six very simple things that many hotels just can’t get right…
As a regular business traveller, I am often amazed at the simple things that hotels – even luxury ones – get totally wrong. I’m not a particularly demanding guest – I don’t want a private butler, free champagne or pillows stuffed with down plucked by hand from the backs of rare species of swan. But there are some basic things that hotels consistently get wrong, things that would cost little or nothing to put right. Here are my top 6:
This is the easiest one to fix, and the most common one that hotels get wrong. Is a smile on checking in really too much to ask? A smiling doorman and receptionist gets the guest’s stay off to a great start, and it’s even better when staff learn the guest’s name and use it. I once stayed at a small hotel in Phu Quoc where all the staff learned my name on arrival and used it every time they saw me during the 4 days I was there. It made me feel like a VIP and I have recommended the place to countless people since.
Nothing earns a hotel a place on my sh*tlist quicker than charging me to use the internet in my room or in the lobby. I don’t care about the restrictive contract you signed with your ISP 5 years ago, it’s 2015 – I can get free wifi in the café next door or the pub round the corner. I’m paying you $100+ for a room and travelling on business – why should I pack up my laptop and go outside just to check my emails?
A Dry Bathroom Floor
We’ve put a man on the moon. We’ve sent robots to Mars. We’ve got matchbox-sized devices that can hold our entire record collections. Why can’t we get shower curtains that actually fit properly?
A Half-Decent Breakfast
Not usually an issue in Europe, but a BIG problem here in Asia, where even 5* hotels struggle to serve up a passable brekkie. If you can’t get decent bacon or sausage, don’t bother serving half-arsed local versions (and for god’s sake, ditch the chicken sausage! It is an abomination, a politically correct crime against gastronomy). If you want to know what decent sausage & bacon look like, go to any guesthouse in Ireland or Scotland and they’ll show you. And try getting some toasters that don’t take 10 minutes to give bread a mild tan.
American comedian Rich Hall once opined “A hotelmini-bar allows you to see into the future and what a can of Pepsi will cost in 2020”. Mini-bar prices generally range from merely exorbitant to downright offensive, and the fact that hotels have now started slapping non-removable stickers on the contents to stop you swilling them and then replacing them from the 7-11 next door just adds insult to injury. Cut mini-bar prices, and you may just sell a few more cans of beer – or even better, include a few drinks in the room rate. And after I’ve just handed over $500 for my stay, do you really need to keep me hanging around a further 10 minutes just in case I end up leaving without paying for the one can of Coke I drank?
Ah, the 2-piece wooden coathanger. You trust me enough to take my $100+ per night and let me stay in one of your rooms, but not enough to trust me not to run off with your coathangers. Yes, the bottom half of a 2-piece coathanger is useless to me on its own, but one day I might just decide that the top half is similarly useless to you and steal it anyway, just for a laugh. Plastic or metal coathangers cost next to nothing these days, so use them – my case is full already, I’m not going to steal them. Promise.
What gets your goat about hotels? Comment below and let us know!