Thursday, 20 November 2014

17 things I don't like about hotels

I love staying in hotels, I like the non-commitment of it. I love to explore the room, the features, the amenities, the hospitality, the view, the local surroundings, the fact that for once I'm not the one doing the cleaning. But some things do irritate me and here is a quick list.
  • No free wifi. Or no wifi in your room but only in common parts (this is so frequent). Wifi is not a luxury, it's a necessity. Difficult wifi where you need a million logins and passwords to get into it in the first place (we aren't all paedos) and then jumps out if you pause for a minute. 
  • No bottle of water next to the bed. So many hotels don't. People get thirsty in the night.
  • Early breakfast hours.  As a freelance, I don't have to get up early at home why would I want to do that in a hotel when I'm ostensibly supposed to be having a holiday or at least a nice time. Stressful.
  • Crap breakfasts: unimaginative muesli. Discount yoghurts. Cooked breakfasts. Sunny Delight rather than proper orange juice. They always assume everyone wants a full English cooked breakfast. No. I don't want to eat a big fatty meal at that time of morning. Small cups. I like big cups, mugs. And the worst: no marmite. There is never any marmite. Pretty much never. 
  • Awful vending machines. If you are going to have a vending machine then stock good stuff. I actually think fizzy drinks like coke should only used on special occasions, the odd night out or on holiday. (It's incredible to think that some people drink sodas several times a day: this would also be on my list of why young people have bad teeth. None of them drink tea anymore. Badly brought up.)
  • Over-fussy bedcovers. So depressing. They are probably chosen to hide the dirt. The bedcovers in Alaskan hotels were particularly grim. You'd want folky patchwork covers or bear skins or something, but you got old lady nasty fabrics.
  • Noisy air-conditioners. Air-conditioners that you can't figure out how to make work.
  • Noisy fridges. I just pull the plug out.
  • NO conditioner. Anyone would think the world was run by men. Women often have long hair. When you have long hair and you shampoo it, it becomes a tightly-knit fuzz around your scalp. You need conditioner to untangle it, if you try to do it with a comb or brush you tear it. Conditioner is a medical necessity. Oh yeah, and if you were thinking 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner was sufficient, think again. It's not. It's crap at both shampooing and particularly at conditioning. Again I've noticed that's a short hair/man thing.
  • Bathroom mirrors placed too high. Anyone would think builders are all men. A mirror where I can only see the top/dome of my head is no good to me.
  • Too high showers. Anyone would think the world is designed by tall people (i.e. men). If I stand in a tall shower, by the time the water gets to my body it is a but a thin mist-like spray.
  • Hairs in the bath or sink. Yuck. They are so often left there by the cleaning staff. 
  • Terrible dining. Most of the worst and overpriced restaurants in the world are attached to hotels. Often you get that corporate businessmen's dining: mock Michelin star crap. It's nice however when the hotel restaurant agrees to serve you pudding in bed as recently happened to me. 
  • A fixed TV in the corner that is miles away from your bed. I mean c'mon. One of the luxuries of staying in a hotel is TV in bed. 
  • Good in-room snacks that aren't too expensive. The Ace hotel in Portland had great snacks: artisanal nachos, great salsa, a boutique chocolate bar, some home-made peanut butter cups. 
  •  No tea facilities, particularly in foreign hotels.  In America you sometimes get coffee facilities (but often unworkable). And too few milks. Or even, as in America, no milk. If they know the guest is British, they should put tea and milk in the room.
  • Freezing swimming pools. I stayed in a Cape Town hotel this year where they had an outside pool which was literally ice cold, even though the weather was good. Torture. Plus they had loads of horrible splashy kids threatening to splash you with said ice-cold water. An ordeal. 
  • Being treated as if I don't exist just because I'm a woman travelling on my own. This doesn't frequently happen but it does often enough to mention it here. Standing at reception and being ignored because they think you are the little woman behind the suited-up man standing there. So even if there is more staff, they ignore you.

What drives you crazy about hotels? What do you like to see in a hotel?


  1. I think that's pretty much everything on my list of bugbears but I have to add crap views! Last year I opened the curtains and taadah a metre away from a dirt/ tree roots etc kinda wall, with a teeny tiny peeking of daylight from the top, and the next door's restaurant air conditioning tunneling. Such a shame as everything else there was so lovely! Thank god for earplugs!!

    I have had a brick wall at another hotel! :(

    Can I add too many stairs too? Some hotels are like mazes and after a few glasses of vino it gets very confusing!

    1. A few weeks ago I was in a hotel in Suffolk where my room had a view of a brick wall less than a metre away. I was one of several bloggers/journalists. I noticed that the girl from the Telegraph got the four poster!
      And totally agree about the maze-like architecture. Sometimes you can't find your back to your own room.

  2. American hotels always have ice machines though. So at least your Coke will be cold.

    I always take my own breakfast: a box of my home made granola. It doesn't take up much room in my bag as a little goes a very long way. Then I just hope they have good yoghurt or I buy some and put it in the fridge. Often they only have fruity, sugary yoghurt - yuck.

    1. The ice machines are great, agreed!
      I take my own marmite if I remember...
      Another of my pet hates (remembering one particularly awful sugary yoghurt abode in the Shetlands) is dogs. I'm afraid I don't like dogs, but I really can't stand dogs in the dining room....all those hairs, the smell, the fact they've been in the kitchen, yuck.

  3. What a great list - all of most people's "hates" too. Great views are such a pleasure. On a trip to London from Melbourne via Japan - I once stayed overnight in Osaka at the garden hotel close to the airport. A typical international hotel purely to cater for people needing to be close to the airport. The surroundings countryside quite peasant like and unimpressive. I arrived in the dark by airport shuttle bus and went straight to my room, small but perfectly japanese, crisp white sheets on a double bed and ensuite and kimono layed out on the bed. Went straight to bed as it was purely a break in my journey. I woke in the morning and opened the japanese shutters and was stunned by the breathtaking views that had not been apparent the night before. It had snowed through the night and the beautiful gardens surrounding the hotel (hence the name) were dripping in white! Spectacular and so unexpected it really did make me gasp. I wish I could have stayed longer!

    1. What a lovely story. I've always wanted to visit japan and you have made me yearn for it.

  4. "British people have bad teeth and bad manners. None of them drink tea anymore. Badly brought up."
    REALLY???? Come on, Britain still runs on tea and none of my family drink any fizzy drinks, ever (apart from tonic with their gin.)

    What annoys me conversely is:
    Too late breakfast times. Often I'm staying in hotels for business and I'm an early riser anyway. Why should I be made to wait till 8am or later?
    No decent fruit with the breakfast buffet.
    Cheap sausages in the English Breakfast. Yes, we can tell.
    I've never had Sunny D but I have had some awful "from concentrate" orange juice which was disgusting.
    Nothing which makes them "brilliant" or memorable. When you stay in hotels for work, it's nice to be looked after nicely and have some individual touches, otherwise why would I pay £80 a night for your hotel rather than pay £30 for an Ibis?
    Charging for a newspaper when you're paying £100 a night. Really? £2 tips you over the edge of profitability?
    No decaf options in the room. Thankfully in the UK it would be the most awful B&B who would get SLATED on tripadvisor for no cup of tea in the room but decaf is still rare, especially decaf tea, yet you often will have herbal teas which aren't as popular. What's that about?
    I cannot stand hotel rooms which are too hot in winter. I stayed in one recently and despite switching off all the radiators, in November, I was sleeping with just a sheet over me. Come on, think about the environment and customers comfort!

    1. I edited that a bit Heidi as I realised I sounded like some grumpy old cow (which I am). Seriously though, whenever I ask my daughters friends if they'd like a cup of tea, NONE OF THEM DRINK TEA! Their parents had some messed up idea about caffeine, as if coke doesn't have tons of it. But I'm so relieved to hear this isn't your experience. Tea is brilliant. I love tea.
      I've had too late breakfast time rarely. You are so lucky to be an early riser.
      Yes, on the newspaper. Totes agree.
      decaf tea? Thats a thing? I'd have rooibos though, which I adore.
      Yes hot hotel rooms. I can't stand being hot at night either, it makes me snore more too.

  5. While diving in Florida, my English husband and I bought an electric kettle, proper milk, and tea bags for our hotel room. We were the most popular people in a diver resort filled with Brits. ; )

    1. I am going to buy one of those portable electric kettles from Argos. It's a must for American travelling.

  6. I find a lack of coat hangers turns me into a ranting loon. I try and keep the horrid metal things you get from dry cleaners and take those, usually leaving them behind.

    Looking forward to seeing your new book - clever you.

    Elinor x
    Beach Hut Cook

    1. Oh yes, that's such a problem in hotels - being mean with the coat hangers. Good one Elinor.
      I hope you like my book xx

  7. British hotels don't have real coffee in the rooms, only vile instant! What's so difficult about adding a small cafetiere and some ground coffee? Or coffee bags fgs? I always take coffee bags. And why are the yoghurts always Muller Lights?! Those things aren't even food!!!


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