CAROLINE HURRY asks travel journalists and lodge owners what they hate most about hotels
What are your personal peeves when it comes to hotels? Mine include crappy hangers in the cupboards, insufficient shelf space, staff who don’t speak a word of English, GHASTLY breakfasts with no plain yoghurt – only flavoured which I loathe – and thick wedges of bread or cake. Not to mention getting fleeced for a spluttering sporadic wi-fi Internet service (my worst!) but it helps to complain. After tweeting these and other grievances about the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Los Angeles, Chile, to #Starwood, the rooms manager Carlos Larranaga Meyer brought me a kettle and promised plain yoghurt would grace my breakfast table in the morning.
Kudos to Starwood for providing a platform for guest feedback on twitter and doing something about it. So they should. Anyway, here’s what some of you had to say about hotels and what you hate …
Charlene Smith: I hate dirty, smelly carpets in passageways. I just stayed in a $400 a night hotel in New York and the passageways smelled horrible!
I hate clattering airconditioners in most US and Canadian hotels and windows that are forever sealed. I object to paying for wireless internet. Expensive hotels in Boston & New York wanted to charge $10 a day, I went to Starbucks where it is free and the coffee is great.
Allison MacDonald: I hate those little coffee and tea stations. The kettle is always tiny and takes forever to boil and those horrible little sachets of tea and coffee that you have to rip open with your teeth are the most irritating things in the world. And then there’s the little milk sachets and boxed things that instantly turn me into a raving lunatic. And then there’s the bathrooms. I hate bathrooms that do not have a window you can open. Give me a bathroom with an extractor fan only, and I’m liable to punch a hole in your wall. I also hate those musty, filthy carpets. And the other thing I loathe is all those full length bathroom mirrors. Honestly, there are some things you’d rather not see yourself doing …
James Siddall: My pet peeve? Those stupid “trendy” open-plan bathroom-bedroom affairs. Used to be only in upscale boutique hotels but are now increasingly common as architects and builders have no doubt discovered that they save money.
Kerry Simpson: My pet peeve is mirrors placed too high for short people. I’m only just a shade over 1.5m and apparently all hotel guests are about 2m tall. And I also hate those milk sachets, especially when they spill all over your feet while you try to open the foil carefully. Recently, I was staying at a 4-star hotel for a conference and had spent seven hours on the road, so when I settled in for the evening I really wanted to sleep. Just as I was drifting off (about 9.30pm) I heard a persistent knock on the door. It was a concierge with my welcome pack including details of what I could order for room service and what time I could have breakfast. I had arrived at 3pm.
Toni Younghusband: I hate it when there are not enough hooks for jackets or for dressing gowns in the bathroom. What? Are you supposed to toss the gown on the floor outside the shower, or on the loo? Aarrgggh, it drives me nuts.
Lance Cherry: I love it when not a soul speaks English. It means I have got far enough away. After years in central China, months in Russia and Turkey, I have mastered nvc (non verbal communication). A wriggle of the knuckle, a lift of the eyebrow, a wiggle of hip … all the world’s in a gesture …
Chris Gilmour: I hate it when there’s no cooked breakfast. For me, breakfast is synonymous with a fry-up. I also hate squalid reception areas. I need room to breathe when checking in.
Susan Parker-Smith: I hate cheap coffee , long life fake milk sachets and buffets.
Lynne Smit: I hate the safes in the rooms that never work! And the horrible little milk sachets. When there is a fridge in the room, why can’t they give us real milk? Not to mention wall sockets that are impossible to reach when you are trying to find somewhere to plug in a laptop.
Helen Grange: Overzealous cleaning staff knocking every 15mins from 8am. Room service that gets there cold and bath plugs you just can’t fathom. No two-pin plugs for the cellphone charger… aaaargh.
Lesley Cowling: I can never work out how to use the laundry system, but perhaps that’s a good thing seeing it’s 20 bucks a pant! (You mean a jean pant? – Ed)
Susan Ettmayr: Worst recently was at a B&B called Country Blue in Polokwane – chocolate flavoured yoghurt, baked beans tinged green, stale egg on underside of plate and caged bird pulling out its feathers on the verandah.
Gwynne Conlyn: I hate hard pillows, no space in the bathroom for toiletries, cold floors without carpeting, no decent reading light and oh, that squeaky bed!!
Svetlana Doneva: I hate cheap and nasty instant coffee in the room.
Christina Stucky: I hate it when there are not enough hangers; no sink plugs (to wash face, laundry); no place in shower stall to put shampoo and soap; poor sound proofing so you hear every step in the hallway and every cough next door; the room across from or next to the lift; long waits for lukewarm room service; breakfast “buffets” without fresh fruit in countries where you find fruit in abundance at markets. Hotel rooms with water cookers get a plus from me. And ditto hotels that don’t place single women travellers at the table near the loo in the restaurant (i.e. as far out of sight of other travellers as possible).
Kevin Leo-Smith: Rip off wifi prices when we all know internet is cheap now
Mo Haarhoff: I agree with Caroline about the hangers and no plain yoghurt. I also hate it when there’s nowhere to put a damp towel to dry. I hate leaving them in a pile. It’s annoying when there are not enough teabags; I don’t drink coffee. I hate kettles that boil over onto the carpet and TVs I can’t work, especially when they’re my wake-up call. And being expected to watch my own egg being cooked for breakfast; I don’t want to see someone cleaning the hotplate first. Soggy toast from revolving toasters. Cold shower water and above-the-head showers … I prefer them from ahead of me, which doesn’t soak my hair. I also dislike heavy bed linen.
Tanya Farber: In a word, my pet peeve about hotels is MUZAK.
Simon Blackburn: (Owner of Three Trees) I hate being “nickled and dimed” – being charged R40 to have a shirt laundered or being ripped R80 for a bottle of water from your minibar, scalped to use the wi-fi etc.
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