A seasoned traveler’s top ten hotel peeves

Hotels are marvelous things. For a price, you can eat and sleep there, bathe, do whatever you do in your personal time and even order services like food and massages delivered to your door. Still, little things can spoil even the best hotel experiences. Even if you end up saying that, overall, you had a terrific time, you won’t be able to forget that niggling little thing when a friend asks you for a recommendation. You’ll say, “Well, I stayed at such-and-such, but …”

Here are my Top 10 Hotel Peeves in no particular order:

1. Stained sheets.

Stained sheets should be thrown out, not put on the bed. Would you put your mama to bed on stained sheets? Your local thrift store won’t even accept them as a donation. You can’t expect your guests to be cool with the mystery orange spot (see below).

2. Nasty shower curtains.

Shower curtains in general are a liability. They stick to your body, which means they stuck to the last guest’s body, too. And when you see a little mildew, it definitely puts a damper on your experience. They need to be replaced a lot, to the point where installing shower doors is probably more cost-effective.
3. Paying for internet.

If it’s free at the Econolodge, and it is, it should be free in your five-star hotel, too. Way to nickel-and-dime your guests, hotel industry. You know who you are.

4. Shoddy paint jobs.

If the paint is on the tile, on the ceiling or anywhere else it’s not supposed to be, they really should have fixed it before charging you to stay in that room. Looking at it. It makes you worry that it was a last-minute cover-up job; like there was blood or mold on the walls and they had to paint it fast.

5. Lack of an amenity.

There’s nothing like discovering the hotel doesn’t have something you didn’t think to ask if they had. Examples of this include laundry service, room service after 10 PM and a way to print your boarding pass, among other things.

6. Pilled up bedspreads.

It’s just irritating.

7. Ugly furnishings they try to pretend are “beautiful.”

Taste is a personal thing, but hotels, you might want to take a survey amongst your closest friends when going for a bold statement. Yes, giant paper mache monkeys in your lobby might make someone remember your hotel, but it doesn’t exactly say “we know what we’re doing.”

8. Visible crap that says “we don’t care.”

I mean, sometimes, it’s like they’re not even trying. Case in point:

9. Lack of hair conditioner.

I am completely and utterly disappointed when there is no hair conditioner. For women and some men, it is a basic necessity. A two-in-one hair conditioner and shampoo is a step in the right direction, but it’s not great. I’ve seen this in hotels up to the four-star level. It means my first experience on that trip will be finding a store to buy some dang conditioner. Not. Convenient.

10. Unfriendly service.

Even if everything is “perfect” and nothing went “wrong,” unfriendly service will keep me from returning to a hotel. The hospitality industry’s first priority, beyond the health and safety of their guests, should always be being a good host. If it’s not, then there are probably a lot of other things wrong at the hotel that you don’t even know about. Besides, even if you’re not a hotel worker, you should always, at the very least, be nice. Common courtesy. I don’t care if I don’t get a broad smile from every employee I pass, but no hotel guest should ever feel like an inconvenience (unless they just like, broke the swimming pool — that’s on them).

[Dirty hotel toilet and other photos: Annie Scott]