An even more seasoned traveler’s top ten hotel peeves

Some of you may recall the list last week of my top ten hotel peeves. An hour or so after posting it, I got a phone call from my father. “Did you like it?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied, “but I’ve got a bunch more.” He proceeded to regale me with a whole slew of additional hotel annoyances — good ones — I eventually put him on speaker phone to take notes.

Some were the basic peeves you’d expect from a regular business traveler, which he is; not enough hangers, lightbulbs out, thin walls; the kind of things you find even in four and five-star hotels. I chose my favorites from his list and bring you this: an even more seasoned traveler’s top ten hotel peeves. Enjoy.

1. When you can’t reach the phone from the bed.

Whether it’s staggering across the room for your wakeup call, or collapsing on the bed after a long journey and needing to call home, or a call that wakes you in the middle of the night, a phone that you can’t reach from the bed is not convenient.

2. When you can’t take the hangers out of the closet.

Doesn’t this drive you nuts? You have to practically disassemble the hangers to get them out of the closet, and then it’s a whole new can of irritating trying to get them to hang back up. Open formal announcement: Hotels, I’m not going to steal your hangers. I’m indirectly insulted that you think I would. Now, give me real ones to use. Thanks.3. Breakfast place costs $35 for a couple of eggs and there’s no Starbucks (or other alternative) for miles.

If the hotel is nickel-and-diming you for food worse than the airport, it’s a problem.

4. Can’t find the outlet in the bathroom.

Some fancy hotels work so hard to make their outlets “unobtrusive,” they’re virtually impossible to find. The runner up for the peeve in this category is when there’s no counter space in the bathroom. Both have the same result: “How am I supposed to groom myself?”

5. Clock radio that Bill Gates couldn’t figure out.

Dad and I laughed as we realized that the first thing both of us does in a hotel room is unplug the clock radio. I don’t want that thing waking me up at 4:00 AM, blasting a poorly-tuned radio station. I consider myself to be of reasonable intelligence, but some clock radios are downright counterintuitive.

6. Luggage handled by three or four people, all of whom move it about three or four feet and want a tip.

What am I, made of fives?

7. Beautiful hotel, no shower pressure.

You may think your hotel is awesome until you step into the shower to find an ineffectual trickle of water — and there’s nothing you can do about it. Once you’re naked, it’s too late to complain.

8. Windows don’t open and there’s no temperature control.

Either of these things can be annoying, but when they occur together? Chagrin.

9. Tiny TV in an enormous armoire.

Some hotels will boast that they have “state of the art flat screen TVs,” but you’ll get to your room and open the enormous armoire to turn on the game and find a teeny-tiny little television inside. State of the art is great and all, but if you can only afford tiny TVs, forgo the upgrade. Bigger is better.

10. You arrive at your room, exhausted, and they call you on the phone.

The last thing anyone wants is a phone call from reception asking if they’re okay. I also once had this happen after a room service breakfast was delivered to my room. I had to get up from where I was eating and reading the paper to get the phone, and it was the front desk, asking if I enjoyed my breakfast. “I was, until you called and interrupted it,” I should have said. My dad thinks he’s flagged for a phone call at some hotels due to the points systems. The last thing he says after leaving the front desk check-in? “Don’t call me — thanks.”

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]