Steve’s 2023 annual top 12 hotel pet peeves (The Dirty Dozen)
Every year one of the most read articles I write is my annual list of hotel pet peeves. As you know I travel a lot. During my travels, I stay in a lot of different hotel rooms and I am able to notice a lot of things that are good, bad and ugly about hotels. Every year I update my annual list of top 10 hotel pet peeves. This year I have 12 that I call my Dirty Dozen!. I hope you enjoy it. Some of these are repeats from last year but too good to fall off the list. Let me know what I need to add to the list for next year.
Hotel pet peeve #1 – Having to ask to clean your hotel room daily –Pre-COVID you received daily housekeeping who cleaned your room, gave you clean sheets and towels and took out the trash. Now hotels can’t or won’t replace the workers they had two years ago so many are now making daily housekeeping optional. Now you have to request daily housekeeping or you won’t receive it. If that is not bad enough, this precedent is setting us up so hotels may soon start charging for daily house cleaning.
Hotel pet peeve #2 – Dirty dishes sitting out in the hallway – I often get up early to catch an early morning flight and leave the hotel at the break of dawn. It seems like everyone who orders room service feels they must put all their dirty dishes and trays out in the hallway. I feel like I am playing hopscotch jumping over the left-over pizza from room 712 on the right side of the hall followed by jumping over the booze bottles outside room 709 on the left side of the hall. I think hotels should make it a priority to pick up those trays ASAP. (Gloria Ybarra suggests the hotels put a note on the rooms service tray to call a number when they are ready for someone to pick up their dirty tray of dishes).
Hotel pet peeve #3 – Telephones with 500 buttons – I want phones with zero buttons. When I pick up the phone I want to talk to a live person at the front desk. I do not want 500 buttons to push for everything from Concierge to the spa. When you are in bed and need glasses to read, the last thing you need is more small buttons. “Keep it Simple Stupid” is my new mantra. Sometimes it is easier for me to grab my iPhone and ask Siri to call the hotel front desk than using the hotel phone beside my bed. Ironically, the hotels are so short staffed now that all the buttons seem to be routed to the same person anyway. Maybe I am finally getting my wish come true.
Hotel pet peeve #4 – Alarm clocks with 500 buttons – The hotels just do not get it. The average person does not want to spend 30 minutes learning how to program their alarm clock so they are awakened by the sound of a babbling brook followed by the chirping of the bluebirds in the morning. They want a simple alarm clock that is easy to set and even easier to turn off. I can’t tell you the number of times I could not figure out how to shut off the bloody alarm clock. Keep it simple and make everyone happy. Luckily, in this day and age, every cell phone has an alarm clock. I have gotten so frustrated with the hotel alarm clocks I now just simply use my cell phone as my alarm. I can always count on it.
Hotel pet peeve #5 – Programmable thermostats – Once again I want a simple thermostat (that works) to tell you it is 74 degrees in BIG LETTERS and has one button to make the temperature warmer and one button to make the temperature cooler. I also want the temperature display to be backlit so it can be read at night. Is that too much to ask? Hotels this past year have done a much better job with thermostats that are easy to read and program.
Hotel pet peeve #6 – Hotel shampoo bottles with letters too small to read without glasses – Just about 10 years ago I had great eyesight. Today I have to have reading glasses to read almost anything. How come they make the shampoo bottles so hard to read that you almost have to wear glasses into the shower? I usually find that many hotels have body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion bottles. Without my glasses, I could be using body lotion for conditioner and body wash for shampoo. All they need to do is put in big letters on the bottle, SHAMPOO. This area will hopefully be changing a lot in the future as hotels move away from disposable bottles to shampoo dispensers. Let’s hope they make the letters big enough to read.
Hotel pet peeve #7 – Charging for Wi-Fi – It still burns me that some of the best hotels charge $10-$15 per day for internet access in the room. If McDonald’s can provide free Wi-Fi so can Marriott.
Hotel pet peeve #8 – Resort fees and soon-to-be housekeeping fees – Seems like every hotel today charges you a resort fee of $25 to $75 per day for access to the workout room, to receive a paper, and swim in the pool. Give me a break. This is simply just one way for hotels to hide additional fees so they don’t show up online. Now hotels have announced they won’t provide daily housekeeping unless you request it. This will obviously be an easy way for hotels to justify keeping resort fees by just converting it to “Housekeeping and Resort fees”. One of the Core Values of Executive Travel is “Make Mom Proud”. Hotels charging resort fees would not pass the “Make Mom Proud” test.
Hotel pet peeve #9 – Drapes that don’t close all the way – How come I always find a room where the drapes do not always close all the way so one light in the McDonald’s parking lot across the street is always shining in my eyes all night long? Speaking of drapes, they also need to keep it simple. I stayed at the Bellagio in Las Vegas once and they had automated drapes that opened and closed by remote control on the wall. The problem is it took me two days with the lighting from the strip to help me locate the button on the wall. Pro tip: Carry a clothespin or safety pin when traveling to keep the drapes closed. (Lora Black suggests using one of the pants clothes hangers to clip the shades shut)
Hotel pet peeve #10 – Housekeeping early wake-up – Sometimes when I travel I figure it’s my one time a year to sleep in. I go to bed dreaming of sleeping in just like in the old days. Then I am awakened by the dreaded knock on the door at 8:01 and that sweet word, “Housekeeping”. If check out is 11 AM please don’t bother me until 10:59 AM.
Hotel pet peeve #11 – One electrical plug-in – This has been an almost universal problem for every hotel but is rapidly getting better each year. Today’s business traveler can have 2-4 devices that require recharging at night. A cell phone, iPad, notebook, laptop, and others. Why do hotels only have one plug-in at the desk? Also, I need a plug by my bed so I can charge my iPhone when I sleep and have access to it for calls and alarms. Why don’t hotels buy a 4-socket electrical extension bar at their local True Value hardware store and make all their customers happy?
Hotel pet peeve #12 – Using a key card in the slot to turn on the electricity to a room – Many energy-friendly hotels now require that you take your hotel room card and put it into a receptacle inside the door to turn on the electricity in the room, thus saving energy when you are out of the room. This works great until you need to charge your laptop while you are away and all the electricity is turned off when you leave the room. This is why I get two keys. One for the slot and one to use to unlock the door.
Hotel pet peeve #13 – (Sorry I must add one more) – Hotel room key cards that don’t work – I don’t know how many times I have walked up to my hotel room and put the key card into the slot only to see the dreaded red light, instead of the beautiful green light. This of course only happens when you have two full bags of luggage and you are the last room down the hallway on the 21st floor at 1:00 AM in the morning, and after your flight has been delayed and you waited 60 minutes for your bags to arrive at the luggage carousel. Surely, if we can get a spacecraft to Jupiter and Pluto, we can find an easier way to unlock a hotel room door. Why not use your phone?
Hotel pet peeve #14 (plus one more bonus) – Tissue flowers on the top of the Kleenex box in the bathroom – I am always amazed to walk into the hotel bathroom and see that housekeeping has spent time folding a flower using the top two tissues from the Kleenex box as a special design feature. The first thing I do is throw those tissues in the trash. Would I ever use a tissue that someone who just got finished cleaning the toilet folded to look like a rose petal? Thanks, Ron Cole for reminding me about this little gem.
Plus, here is a summary of all the rest of mine and many of your hotel pet peeves that you have shared with me in past years. Please let me know what you think:
- In-room coffee makers with cheap coffee and powdered creamers. (Thanks Ron Cole for this one)
- Only one or two clothes hangers in the closet. (Thanks Brandee Williams for this one)
- Early check-in fees.
- Shower heads so high up on the wall that only 7’ NBA players can adjust (Thanks Mary Fischer)
- Bathroom exhaust fans that roar when you turn on the lights. (Thanks Jan Owens)
- Not enough pillows.
- Two single beds pushed together for a queen bed that if you lie in the middle will spread apart.
- No airport shuttles.
- Bed comforters too hot and heavy to sleep under (Thanks Ron Cole for this one)
- One-ply toilet paper.
- No place to hang bath towels (Thanks Linda Troester)
- Early check-out times
- Sheets that don’t fit the bed (Thanks Nick Enzolara)
- Rooms are not ready when you check in.
- Mini-fridge: Is 1 colder or is 6 colder? Why can’t they say “Warmer and Colder”? (Thanks Kim Pfieiffer for this one)
- Air conditioning/heating units that sound like jets taking off when they turn on.
- Sheets tucked in so tight on the bed you can’t pull them out.
- One-ply toilet paper
- Getting charged for having a safe in your room whether you use it or not.
- Light bulbs with such low wattage that you have to bring along a flashlight to read anything.
- One-ply toilet paper.
- Bad water pressure.
- Showerheads that are 4-feet tall with the water hitting your belly button.
- Walls so thin you hear everything about your neighbors.
- Expensive minibars.
- Only one wastebasket in a room. Need three, one in bathroom, by desk and by bed. (Thanks Jan Owens)
- Small towels, hand towels, scratchy towels, thin towels, not enough towels.
- Outrageous parking fees. Once in San Francisco, I paid more for parking than I did for the room.
- Room doors that slam shut and rattle the walls. How hard is it to put some pads on the doors, or a closing device, so your neighbors’ doors do not slam shut so loudly and forcefully that they could wake the dead? (Thanks to Dave Johnston)
- No holder for the hand soap. So you have to leave the soap on the sink counter, where it gets all slimy and slides around. (Thanks to Dave Johnston)
- One luggage rack in a room designed for two people (Thanks to Ernie Thayer)
- Charging for bottled water in the room (Thanks to Tony Maupin)
- HVAC filter for the room being totally dirty and smelly (Thanks to Paul VOVK)
- No safe (Thanks Mark Schorr)
- Dirty bathroom upon check-in or hair in the shower! (Thanks to Michael Arthur)
- Programmable refrigerators that only run for 2 hours and shut off! (Thanks John Teller)
- Finding a charge to your credit card for mini-bar items you did not consume! (Thanks Andrew Benton)
- Short closets too short to hang your pants (Thanks Ron Brunt)
- Bad lighting in bathrooms. (Thanks Peg Chandler)
- Hotel version of Kleenex that is manufactured by a sandpaper company (Thanks Gay Munday)
And lastly, one-ply toilet paper.