Dear Hotels. Please STOP.

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Accommodation is one thing that’s difficult to avoid while travelling and I always wonder if hotel or guest house owners/managers sleep in the rooms they rent out to visitors.

You know, to ‘test’ it out?

And I’m not just talking about the bed or staying over for only one night; I’m talking about at least two nights so that they can experience the whole package; from booking the room to checking out, from amenities to appliances to annoyances.

There are actually people called ‘hotel testers’ who make a living from testing hotel rooms, especially in China, and they observe each detail carefully, from the type of toilet paper to room kettles, cleanliness, comfort, facilities and public areas. And while some work under cover others are hired by hotels that seek to improve their services.

Now, I’m not one for fancy rooms. Robes and slippers are lost on me, I could not care less for a fully stocked mini bar (my bank account appreciates this), I can drag my own bag to my room (my bank account appreciates this too), and a while the nightcap or chocolate on your pillow during the turndown service add to that ‘extra touch’, I don’t see it as necessary.

I’m easy to please.

But a few of the places I have stayed in before can definitely do with a visit from a ‘hotel tester’. Or just a visit from an owner or general manager. (Hats off to those in the industry who actually do test out the rooms.)

Here are a few things I wish hotels  would stop doing.

And guest houses, lodges, B&Bs, hostels and other accommodation places.

Unrealistic wide-angle photos

Stop giving everyone false hope about the size of the bedroom and/or other public spaces in the hotel.

Limited wi-fi

You know what’s not cool? Advertising that you have complimentary wi-fi but limiting it to 100MB per day OR worse, charging for it. What should one do with 100MB? That’s like the juice that goes with breakfast. Don’t tease your guests, it is 2018, if you offer wi-fi it should be unlimited, especially if it is a business hotel! 

Early Cleaning Service

Why do cleaners wheel in before 08:00, knock on your door and ask if they can clean the room? Check-out is 10:00. Can’t there be a system where the cleaners get updates from the front desk about who have checked out already and attend to those rooms first? Also, if the guest is in the shower and can’t hear the knock on the door, will the cleaner enter the room? Of course. Is that okay? Of course not. (The cleaners is of course not at fault here and management should do something about this.)

Multiple Light Switches

Big rooms and fancy hotels often have a gazillion light switches with no indication of what to press for what to come on. Chill on the switches or label it or something.

Lack of Water

If the tap water is undrinkable, and tastes like a swimming pool’s chlorine water, it would be nice if there is something to drink. It does not have to be bottled water, a jug of clean water or a water dispenser outside the room can work too. Heck, you can even make me pay for a bottle of water, but please, if your tap water is undrinkable, don’t overcharge me for it! Paying R40 for a 1.5 litre bottle in South Africa is ridiculous. And it is not even Evian. Be nice, allow me to stay hydrated. (Big shout out to accommodation places who tell you in advance that water is undrinkable and that you need to bring your own.)

Poor Placement or Lack of Electrical Sockets

Have enough. And don’t have it all in one place. One by the bed would be great too.

Plastic Spoons

I understand that you don’t want to put normal spoons in the room because of the possibility of guests with long fingers but the problem with plastic spoons is two-fold: 1) it is unnecessary use of plastic 2) those spoons are so flimsy that it almost melts when you are trying to stir your coffee or tea. Why not use those wooden ice cream stick thingies?

Parking Fees

Why do you charge for parking? If your guests are not parking in your basement parking what do you do with the space? Rent out a jumping castle and throw parties?

Toiletries

I try to avoid using hotel toiletries as much as possible and pack my own but often you find yourself in a situation where you have no other choice. I fear that situation. I fear using hotel toiletries for one reason only: lack of conditioner. A 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioner is a hoax. And if you don’t believe me then you should take the brush and attempt to get the knots out of my hair. You won’t succeed. Why not get bigger sized toiletries, add a separate one for conditioner, and let it stay put in the bathroom and fill it up? Less use of plastic as guests won’t take it home. Win-win. (Also, please don’t say that this is not hygienic because numerous elite hotels do the exact same thing with, for example, Charlotte Rhys products.)

Lack of Cool Air

I understand that not all rooms are equipped with an AC or a fan, but if the hotel is situated in a rather stuffy and humid area, there should be at least a fan. The fan should be in a working condition and make an actual difference. Also, if you tell your guests to not leave windows and doors open because of the monkeys, a fan or air-conditioner should be part of the permanent furniture.

Open Plan Bedroom-bathroom

We get the romantic vibe you were going for with the bath tub, but dear architect and owner. Do you mind telling us all what you were thinking when you put the loo within eye reach of the bed? 

I’ll just stop here.

What irks you about hotels or guest houses?

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