A traveling life means you end up spending a lot of time in the hotel rooms. To me, the hotel becomes my home in the destination that I am visiting. Initially, I used to treat them as parking spaces, where I park myself to sleep, to bath and to keep my luggage. As the number of days, I travel increased, I started getting more comfortable in my hotel rooms. Thankfully all my careers ensured that I mostly stay in the luxury hotels.
As I stayed in more and more luxury hotels around the country and the world, the inherent designs of hotel rooms started becoming evident. There were certain things that I wanted in my hotel rooms that almost every hotel room design missed. I smile when I see these elements taken care of.
One fine day, while sitting in one of the hotel rooms, I jotted down a list on my phone. Things that I want in my perfect hotel room, if possible, in every hotel but definitely in luxury hotels.
1. Enough Lighting in the Hotel Rooms
I understand that hotel rooms are designed to create a mood of luxury, romance or comfort. Yellow light definitely enhances these emotions. However, most hotel rooms are used by business travelers. As a business traveler, I end up using the room as my make-shift office. I need to work on my laptop or my mobile phone. The lack of ample light that fills the room equally bothers me at times. There should be an option to have my hotel room full of light if need be.
2. Intuitive Lighting
Do you remember figuring out where the light switches are in the room for the first few minutes in the hotel room? Or figuring out how to switch on the washroom lights at night? Or not managing to switch off that one last light somewhere in the hotel room, that stands bright and shining between you and your sleep, not letting the darkness engulf you.
Luxury hotels need to realize that we stay in a hotel for 2-3 nights and not here to get used to the switches.
It is embarrassing to call the reception to ask where can I switch off a particular light.
3. The Bright Shining Light of Television
My biggest barrier for a good sleep in a luxury hotel is the little red dot that remains lit on the Television or the Set Top Box eve after you have managed to switch off every possible light. At times I have put extra pillows to cover it, sometimes a sheet of paper and at times unsuccessfully tried to ignore it. Now people who are used to a television bang opposite their bed at home may not find it problematic, but this bothers me a lot. Invariably every hotel has a television bang opposite the bed, apart from the heritage hotels or tree houses where television is usually missing.
Dear Hotel Rooms designers can you do something about it? You will get my blessings forever.
4. Toiletry Labels
Those little bottles of toiletries in the washroom save me a lot of efforts to pack the essentials. However, I always struggle to read the labels. Now, I wear reading glasses, but I do not want to use them in the washroom. Even before I needed them, it used to be a struggle to figure which one is body lotion or shampoo or conditioner or hand wash.
Luxury hotels that use branded toiletries have the brand name proudly displayed and the content of the bottle is font size 3 or small. Believe me guys, it is a struggle. Make it easy for me to pick up the right bottle even when I am beneath the shower or cannot open my eyes properly. By all means, put the brand name, but as a user, the label is more important to me if I decide to use them.
5. One Person per Service
After checking in and getting my luggage in the room I usually have a couple of things to request like:
- A scissors to cut the airline lock
- RO water instead of bottled water
- Iron board at times
- Food if I need to eat in the room
- Any repairs of things not working
For each service I need to call a different person and as many people knock the room to service. I understand that as an organization, you have your work organized in departments. However, to me as a traveler who can not wait to take some rest, it is a nuisance to open the door 5 times one after the other. The person getting the scissors can also get the water or a floor manager can help me with everything I need in one go.
I know this is not an easy demand looking at it from the business side of hotels. But, as a traveler, I would love this if you can somehow implement it.
6. Ample Charging Points
Every traveler and definitely a luxury traveler travels with at least 2 gadgets per person that need charging as soon as we check-in in the hotel. A lot of old luxury hotels still do not provide ample points for 4-5 gadgets to charge simultaneously.
I carry two cameras, a mobile phone, a Kindle and a laptop. Usually, I get up in the middle of the night to change the set of gadgets being charged.
However, my biggest problem is that after I have switched off all the lights using master switch (where available), the gadgets also stop charging. I have to either switch off each light one by one and then switch them on one by one in the morning or keep looking at the gadgets to ensure they are charging.
7. Air Conditioning Thermostat
More often than not the thermostat in the hotel rooms hardly works. I am always lost fiddling with the settings. Around the time I sleep, it is usually chilling in the room. Around 3 AM or so, suddenly the airconditioning is switched off and I am left sweating. Not to mention that precious sleep is lost for the night.
I am yet to figure out why this airconditioning switch off time is always in the middle of the night. Many of my friends in the hotel industry admit that this is done as a regular practice. Is it just me who has noticed it or no one has reported it as a problem?
8. Please Indicate the Hot & Cold Shower
Given that conventions differ around the world, it would really help if you can indicate which side of the water outlet is hot and which is cold. If you are located in a place with extreme weather destination, this should be a legal requirement. Imagine yourself in Ladakh in Winters and mistakenly opening the cold shower.
9. Channel List on TV
I usually do not watch TV while traveling, but sometimes you want to catch certain news or just relax while listening to some music. There are fancy televisions in hotel rooms of all luxury hotels. Remote comes with a guide but then there is no way for me to know which channels have the hotel subscribed to. So, I keep surfing hoping to reach the channel I need. Most of the times I give up generating no ROI on your investment in putting a nice TV in the room.
Life would be simple if you keep an available channel list nos in the hotel room. You can even message it to the customer number or make it available in any form.
10. Leave Some Space on the Side Tables
Now side tables are meant for keeping things that I, as the occupant of the hotel room want to keep accessible. This includes my spectacles, my mobile, my Kindle, my Hair clips, water bottle, medicines etc.
More often than not the side table is so full of hotel stuff that I have to remove them to use the side table. Half the table is taken by a phone on which sometimes you forget to mention the key numbers like front office, housekeeping. Rest half has hotel stationery which I really appreciate. However, it is the other things like slogan cards or discount deals that bother me.
11. Let’s Be Eco-Conscious Together
I appreciate your eco-conscious messages in the room. Let us follow them together. Please do not change my towels unless I ask you to. Please give me RO water instead of water in single-use plastic bottles.
I think sometimes you forget to tell your housekeeping staff that if my towels are not on the floor, they need not be replaced.
12. No Sugar In Cut fruits, Please!
Cut fruits in the breakfast spread come laced with sugar. While I understand the need for taste on the tongue, it is something I am scared of both as a diabetic as well as a trusting customer.
On a different note, please ask your chefs to create some non-alcoholic drinks without using sugar.
Fruits are the best thing that you can give me complimentary.
13. Replacing Tea/Coffee Bags
Housekeeping staff should look at my consumption and replace the items accordingly. If I am a tea drinker, they can leave a couple of more tea bags instead of going by the book and keeping the exact number of tea and coffee bags only. The same goes for low-calorie sugar or toiletries.
On a lighter note, tell me an easy well to pull out the duvets that you tuck in so well.
These observations have been collated over a period of time in hotel rooms as I said mostly in Luxury hotels. Most hotels would miss out on 4-5 points. I think I can think of one or two hotels where I could not find any of these problems. I hope the hotel industry would treat this as a constructive feedback.
Do you have any other points to add to this list that the hotels can take as feedback?