The moment I set foot inside the hotel I started to relax. Inside a waterfall was falling, and water flowed along a creek which ran through the huge lobby. Surrounded by trees, massive rock formations and beautiful flowers, I was instantly taken to a place of relaxation and I had not even entered my room yet.
This was a luxury hotel set on creating the right mood, and I was about to get totally pampered with luxurious and expensive spa treatments, gourmet meals and beautiful trails around the hotel grounds. Inside my luxury suite, I put on the fluffy robe and slippers and slipped into calm silence. Then I reached for it – the toilet paper – and the illusion was instantly gone.
As a travel writer I have visited many hotels from low-budget chains to some of the best and most luxurious resorts, and what I've discovered throughout my journeys is that even the best hotels in the business cut corners or do things that just drive me crazy.
Single ply toilet paper and tissues
OK, I imagine running a hotel costs a lot of money but really how much are you saving when you choose toilet paper that is the consistency of the tissue paper I use to wrap presents? It's such a basic thing really, if I'm staying at a five star luxury resort, I am expecting five star luxury toilet paper. Even small budget hotels should invest in good toilet paper a basic two-ply toilet paper. It will go a long way in keeping your guests happy (and their bums too).
Also why do the housekeeping staff fold over the toilet paper into a triangle? Why do they make little flowers with the tissues? I mean do I want to use tissue and toilet paper that has been touched? Especially when they are wearing gloves that are covered with God knows what after they have cleaned the bathroom in my room with toxic chemical cleaners. Personally, it makes me grab handfuls of tissues and lots of toilet paper, and place it in the trash can the moment I walk into a hotel room.
Charging for Wi-fi
I am not talking about hotels in countries where Wi-Fi is not readily available. I mean places in downtown Toronto, Ontario Canada – an international city, in a hotel that is known as a location for business travelers. If you are in a major city centre, your hotel should offer free-Wi-Fi – period. This is a standard necessity for passengers these days. Asking for money for an hour of internet usage is annoying, and just plain greedy. In fact, if the hotel doesn't offer free-Wi-Fi, I'm not staying there.
Not putting free bottled water in the room
Let's talk about charging for bottled water in the hotel room. On some trips by the time I get to my room, I'm tired, cranky and super thirsty. Especially after a flight! Hotel rooms are often so dry, so offering a bottle of water is an excellent way to win me over right at the start. I don't care if they are carbonated or come from the water flowing down the Alps. Any old brand of water is just fine and instantly tells me that you care about me. Like Wi-Fi, free bottles of water should be standard in every room – every hotel should be doing this no matter their rating!
Hotel coffee machine woes
This is especially a situation at budget hotels, but there is nothing more unglamorous than preparing coffee in the bathroom, especially with one of those old single cup drip coffee machines. Have you noticed that when you go to put the little filter into the coffee maker it is square and the spot in the machine is a circle? I have. That's because these little machines are so old they no longer make filters for them – or the square filters are cheaper.
Has the world not evolved to introduce us to advanced single cup coffee systems like a Keurig or Tassimo machine? I'm currently drinking my drip coffee out of a leaky paper cup which I prepared in my hotel bathroom. Did I mention this hotel is rated 4.5 stars? I'm a writer so coffee in the hotel is kind of a thing for me, especially when I'm on deadline. And while I rant about coffee, can I mention the powdered coffee creamers? I mean Coffee-mate comes in little creamer containers now, and when you have a fridge in a room, it's a great place to put some milk and creamers.
Uncertainty if breakfast is included or not
When a hotel offers a breakfast in its included special, is it asking too much that a real breakfast be included? Breakfast included should not mean tiny, stale, fake croissants, powdered eggs, frozen hash brown potatoes in a warmer that make them gooey instead of crunchy, and processed bags of bread I buy in the grocery store.
"Breakfast is included" should be real eggs, an assortment of fresh fruit, and why not splurge with a local bakery in your area for fresh bread and pastries. It would be good for people who are health conscious even when travelling to have a few options available to them at breakfast, even if it's included in your room fee. Teaming up with local restaurants, bakeries and food providers shows off the best of your community too.
Unhelpful door and reception staff
I get it there are a lot of people out there that don't tip your hotel staff enough. Your valet staff and your receptionists are tired and fed up, and guess what? It shows. I'm a single female traveler, and I can't tell you the last time I got out of my car at a hotel and was offered a hand with my luggage. Sure they will drive my car away as part of their valet service, but how about "Can I help you with your bags?" Am I just old or something? Has the women's movement changed the rules about the politeness of asking a woman if she wants helps with her bags? When did that stop?
Maybe I'm just turning into a grumpy old traveler. Maybe I've been in too many hotel rooms this month, but I just feel like sometimes these little things can make the difference between a good stay in a hotel or a bad one. So to all you hotel managers out there please hear me: These basic things will help make your guests stay a more relaxing and enjoyable one.
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