This post has been bouncing around in my head for a while but I’ve been hesitant to write it. I generally try to highlight positive travel experiences in my blog, and nitpicking about hotel rooms doesn’t fit that theme. Also no one likes a whiner, and whining about little issues in hotel rooms seems so #FirstWorldProblems. I’ve been fortunate to stay in many lovely hotels: Who am I to complain?
However. There are a few hotel room quirks that I’ve observed over and over and some of them seem to be increasing in frequency, to my great bewilderment. I have decided it is my responsibility as a frequent traveler and blogger to point out these annoying quirks, in hopes that they might be rectified or averted in the future. If I can convince just one hotel room designer to decide against placing the toilet in full view of the bed, then writing this post will be worth it.
Here are my top five most annoying hotel room quirks. Note that I don’t have photos to illustrate all of these quirks, as it doesn’t usually occur to me to take photos of things that I hate.
Annoying Hotel Quirk #5: Poor lighting
Low light can be romantic if executed properly. Low light can also be frustrating, especially if one wants to, say, read something, or apply makeup after nightfall. (This comes from someone who wears very little makeup — I can’t imagine how annoying this quirk is for serious make-up-wearers.) Low lighting around the bathroom mirror drives me particularly crazy, and seems to occur more and more frequently in the hotels and lodges where I stay.
Also, low light — in fact all light — is frustrating when one can’t figure out how to adjust it or turn it off.
Annoying Hotel Quirk #4: Flooding showers
I really regret not having a photo of this quirk, as it’s very visual. But if you’ve stayed in an upscale hotel designed after 2010 then you’ve probably experienced the flooding-shower quirk. Modern hotel room designers love showers that appear to meld seamlessly with the rest of the bathroom. Often times the shower is separated from the bathroom by just one glass panel, sometimes no panel at all. Often the shower floor is not separated from the rest of the bathroom floor in any way, making it impossible to shower without soaking everything (and everyone) else in the bathroom.
When I check into a fancy hotel, or any hotel, one of the first things I look forward to is a good shower. I don’t care how sleek and sophisticated the shower looks — I just want it to be hot, and high-pressure, and I don’t want it to soak my clothes and toiletries. A shower that floods is a crappy shower, no matter what it looks like.
Annoying Hotel Quirk #3: High bathroom mirrors
This quirk is especially common in South Africa, mostly in guesthouses and lower-end hotels. I’m not sure why this is, as I don’t find South Africans to be particularly tall. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a South African guesthouse bathroom and found that I have to stand on my tip-toes to see my entire face in the mirror. I am 5’3”, which is on the short side but certainly not outside the normal range of height. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that I should be able to see my head and shoulders in the mirror.
So please, hotel room designers: Remember the short people when you install the bathroom mirror. And while you’re at it, stop designing rooms without full-length mirrors. I’m sick of standing on chairs to see how my feet look.
Annoying Hotel Quirk #2: Lack of electrical outlets next to the bed
This is such an obvious one, but all too common. Travelers use their phones in bed — everyone knows this — and travelers use their phones as alarm clocks. Travelers have been out and about all day with nowhere to charge their phones, hence they need to charge them overnight. There is nothing I hate more than settling into a comfy hotel bed, reaching to plug in my phone, and discovering that: 1) I need to crawl under the bed, feel around for an outlet, and unplug a lamp in order to plug in my phone; or 2) I must walk across the room to charge my phone and then stumble back across the room the next morning when my alarm goes off.
Take note, hotel owners: Suck it up, hire an electrician, and install easy-to-reach electrical outlets on both sides of the bed. This is the easiest annoying hotel room quirk to fix. Also, please provide as many different types of plug points as possible, for irresponsible international travelers like me who always forget their plug adapters. Thanks in advance.
And now, for my #1 most annoying hotel quirk.
Annoying Hotel Room Quirk #1: Toilets without doors
Toilets without doors…Kind of like doctors without borders, only bad instead of good. Why, oh why, are so many hotel room designers placing toilets in open-plan bathrooms with no doors, or with piddly glass panels that aren’t really doors?
Let me ask you something, fancy hotel room designers: Have you ever slept in one of these doorless-toilet rooms with a romantic partner? Do you know the feeling of waking up on a lazy Sunday morning, snug in bed next to your partner, and then having to awaken said partner and send him out of the room because…you have to poop?
No? Well, let me tell you, I have. It’s a sure-fire way to ruin the mood. Please stop with the doorless toilets, hotel room designers. Just stop it.
I have many more annoying hotel room quirks that I could include but I like to limit my listicles to five. If you’d like to hear more, please contact me and I’ll provide you with the complete run-down.
Special thanks to Ray, who provided suggestions for this post and who is always happy to leave the hotel room when I need to poop.