It’s never been easier to find a good hotel to stay in. Thanks to a roaring online review industry, potential guests can get a complete and accurate feel for a place before they’ve even packed their bags. This has undoubtedly lead to the standard of hotels going up. The transparency of the online review means hoteliers can’t afford to make any mistakes for fear of the entire world instantly knowing about it.
Perhaps it’s this pressure that causes hoteliers to sometimes forget to get the basics right. So distracted are they to make an impression, they concentrate on offering useless extras and novelties before ensuring the rooms they’re providing are actually good places to sleep.
That’s where this guide comes in. These are our top ten basic things hotels should get right first before they worry about anything else. Our guide assumes the room is clean. Why even open a hotel you don’t intend on maintaining?
Disagree? Have you own additions to make to our list? Let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
1. Provide fast and free Wifi
Wifi (wireless internet) in hotels has been terrible for too long. If you manage to find a hotel that provides wifi that’s a) free; and b) not glacially slow, you can consider yourself incredibly lucky, for the chances of this happening are, for some reason, slim. Typically, it’s independent hotels that seem to be able to provide wifi that’s free and reasonably fast. Weirdly, the more expensive the hotel, the more expensive and slower the Wifi is. This make no sense! Now is the time for hoteliers to realise that proving free, fast Wifi is a necessity rather than a luxury.
2. Install curtains/blinds that block out the light
I’ve been to numerous hotels who’ve clearly made decisions about curtains and blinds based purely on aesthetics as opposed to whether they actually block out any light. What good is a hotel room that, come dawn, get’s flooded with light causing you to wake up? Sure, guests can bring along an eye mask if they wish, but surely it makes more sense for the hotelier to install curtains that actually work?!
3. Get rid of interconnecting rooms
I can completely understand that some groups might want a door between rooms. Parents, for example, might want easy access to the adjoining room if their kids are staying next door. For the rest of us, these rooms are a little off-putting. Jade and I stayed in such a room recently in Germany. One night, an argument in the neighbouring room kicked off and it was like they were in our room with us, such was the inability of the adjoining door to block out the screaming. Not only is noise a problem, but of course, everyone staying in an interconnecting room spends the entirety of their stay wondering if or indeed when someone is going to try turning the door handle to see if it’s definitely locked. Creepy.
4. Install bolts on the doors
Most hotels, even the little ones, tend to prefer installing electronic locks on room doors these days. Some though think that this is enough in terms of security and leave it at that. Some reports have suggested such locks aren’t that sophisticated and have been easily hacked, which leaves guests staying in rooms without manual bolts on the doors vulnerable to intrusion while they sleep. A simple bolt on the door solves this problem and offers peace of mind.
5. Sound proof your rooms
Hearing muffled conversation or TV sound from the room next door while you’re trying to sleep is the worst, because there’s not a lot you can do about it. It’s not your neighbour’s fault the walls of the hotel you’re staying in are wafer thin. They have every right to converse and watch television as they please. Maybe even worse is having street noise seep through poorly fitted windows. That’s entirely down to you and your poor decision making. Or is it? Surely hoteliers should make an effort to ensure their rooms are quiet places to sleep first and foremost?
6. Install electrical plug sockets at the bed side
Everyone has a mobile phone these days and a surprising 90% apparently use their mobiles as alarm clocks. With batteries in mobiles barely providing a day of juice, providing somewhere to charge up at the bedside is very important. The last thing anyone wants is to plug in their phone on the other side of the room before turning in.
7. Provide a choice of pillows
Premier Inn in Britain championed providing a choice of soft and firm pillows in rooms. We’re all different and have a variety of sleeping preferences. Is it too much to ask for hoteliers to cater to our differing styles?
8. Make our showers easier
I prefer a glass shower screen to a shower curtain as it’s more hygienic. But so many of them are poorly fitted. Either they do nothing to prevent everything in the bathroom from getting soaked or they are fitted in such a rigid way that it makes accessing the taps of the bath tub really difficult for anyone other than Mr Tickle.
9. Give us a toilet door that actually works as a door
There appears to be a growing trend of hoteliers installing fancy sliding doors between the bedroom and the ensuites which block neither smell nor noise. Add in the fact that a lot of these fancy doors are inexplicably opaque (i.e. partially see through) and you have a door that may as well not be there at all.
10. Don’t push two single beds together and call it a double
This is something you tend to see in continental Europe, particularly in German speaking countries. Instead of finding a double bed in your double room, you’ll often find two single beds pushed together with two single duvets. This is obviously a matter of personal choice, but I reckon if you’re paying a double rate, you should get an actual double bed too.
Have we missed anything off of our list? What consistently winds you up when staying in hotels? Let us know in the comments below.