The 10 most annoying things about staying in hotels!

Buffet

All I want is my usual breakfast. Some fruit, a bowl of whatever approximation of muesli happens to be on the buffet, tea. Maybe I’ll pad it out with an orange juice and I can’t walk past the bakery selection without a snail sliding on my plate – and now you want to charge me $35? Plus whatever tax you’re going to bung on top when I check out? I could get my money’s worth if I binge. A mini frittata or two, a mushroom omelette with ham and tomatoes on the side, or go the pancakes and maple syrup. If I do I’ll walk out feeling like I’ve just swallowed a pillow so what I’m going to do tomorrow is find the nearest café where I’ll pay for what I eat and nothing more.

Plug

You’ve just filled your bathroom sink so you can wash out your smalls, or shave, turned your back and now the sink is empty. Some time ago, probably in the Victorian era when the drawing of water no longer required a trip to the nearest well, someone invented the rubber sink plug. Cheap, durable and low-tech, the rubber plug is a no-brainer, so intuitively suited to its task that whoever invented it goes unrecorded – and you have to admit, the words “inventor of the rubber plug” would dignify any tombstone. Since those untroubled times we’ve started to muck about with the sink plug. We now have push-down and pop-up constructions and little levers on the back of the spout, and all too frequently they leak. So let’s get back to basics and stop messing around with a perfectly fine solution.

Shower

How hard can it be to build a shower that doesn’t wet itself all over the bathroom floor? And no, a thin silicone bead under the closed door might not do the trick. Some European nations are totally not up to speed with the concept of a shower. On a recent trip to France my brand new Raddison Blu business exec hotel had a bikini-size screen surrounding the bath which did nothing to stop water flooding the bathroom floor. By the time I finished showering it took a full-size bath towel plus the bath mat to soak up the lapping sea. I could avoid this by detaching the shower handpiece, squatting or sitting in the bath and turning on the water at less than full power lest it become a writhing, bathroom-wetting snake, but really? In a new hotel in 2016?

The 10am chuckout

Found all over the world, most abundant in Australia. Especially if it’s a Sunday morning and I’m off duty, I want a late breakfast and a lazy morning before I have to check out. I get that you’ve got to service the room but not every arriving guest is going to be here smack on the dot of 2 pm or whenever check-in time happens to be. If I want an extra hour in-house it might require a grovelling appeal to the front desk who act like I just asked them for a kidney.

Wi-fi

It’s mostly free in airports, although often at glacial bandwidth, but throughout Asia and Europe it’s often free in cafes and restaurants and even in some public spaces, but I’m honouring your hotel with my presence and you want to charge me $20 per day for using wi-fi? When an unlimited broadband service delivered to my home costs less than $100 per month? Some of the worst offenders are five star properties that cater mainly to business travellers, on the rationale that expense account guests can offset the charge as a business cost. Also, they can advertise a cheaper room rate, which means less commission to the online travel agents who might be stiffing them 15 per cent, and don’t get me started on that.

Pre-authorisations

You’ve just arrived at your hotel and the receptionist has asked to take an imprint of your credit card to cover any incidental charges. “It’s not a charge,” they say brightly, and they’re right, but what it does is put the handcuffs on some of your funds. Your available credit balance takes a hit, or worse still a payment or a cash withdrawal gets knocked back when you try and use your debit card because some of the cash has flown from your account. Then when you check out, it can take several days – or weeks in some cases – for the balance to be restored to your funds.

Electrical sockets

Ok, so where is it? Does recharging my phone require me to scrabble around on the floor unplugging lights, or worse, finding a power socket lurking behind the television? What every traveller needs is a pair of electrical sockets located at navel level somewhere obvious, and if you don’t mind, make it one of those intelligent sockets designed to accept any plug. Let’s have another socket close to the bedside table, and throw in a couple of USB charge ports.

Stowage

You’ve stepped into your room and there’s just enough clear horizontal space for one suitcase only. If you’re only in house for one night you’re probably suitcase diving, which means in no time at all it looks like someone set off a suitcase bomb. If there are two of you the room becomes a complete shambles. What every hotel room needs is a long, wide bench opposite the bed where you can spread out whatever you need. Big shout out to the four-star Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn in Bangkok, a recent stay.

Hair daze

The power socket in the bathroom says shavers only, you’ve just washed your hair and the only electrical socket is to by found by crablike manoeuvres on the floor (see gripe above). When located it’s nowhere near a mirror. This is not a blokey problem by and large but ladies, this violin plays for you. So let’s have a power socket close to the desk, which is parallel to the window, and a mirror mounted on the wall.

Light switches

Master switches, on either side of the bed please. Turn it off and every light in the room goes out. Can that be difficult? Because even when it exists there always seems to be one light that stays on, a standing lamp or a desk light or something aglow within the innards of the bedside furnishings. While we’re at it, a downlight above my pillow is fine but I’d also like a smallish, dimmable light on a bendy stalk just offset from my head for reading in bed.

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