15 Things Travel Professionals Hate About Hotels

Things Travel Professionals Hate About Hotels

Call them spoilt, but once a travel professional or travel writer starts getting whisked around the world on press trips she also starts to get picky. Some complain about the food. Others bad mouth the activities but most of them complain about the hotels at one point because something is nearly always wrong.

High expectations are created by smoothly worded press releases and when hopes are raised for a relaxing stay something is bound to dash them.

Maybe travel professionals just get irritable because they’re always traveling. Or maybe they don’t appreciate the travel opportunities that come that way because they don’t pay for them with cash. But whatever the reason they do have reason to complain about some hotels and complain they do.

Here are the 15 things travel professionals most hate about hotels garnered from informal interviews with travel professionals from around the world as they whiled away their days on another press trip.

1.Hotel room windows that don’t open

After being cooped up in trains, planes and airports, what travel professionals want more than anything else is a breath of fresh air. Even if the hotel room doesn’t have a balcony you can get outside on, if the window opens you can feel some connection with the environment outside and gauge the temperature so when you do step out of your hotel you’re wearing the right clothes. But if the windows don’t open you’re stuffed and stuck in a stuffy room.

2. Dodgy hairdryers

Many women wash and blow dry their hair every single day so they need a decent hairdryer with multiple heat options and speeds to achieve the same luscious locks they sport at home. A cheap tinny model that shoots sparks into the air is sure to get any female travel professional’s day off to a bad start.

3. No bathrobe

When you’re traveling light the first thing to get shelved is sleepwear. In the name of traveling light I sleep naked but I like to have a fluffy bathrobe so I can wander round my room with the curtains open and my modesty intact. Bathrobes also help you stay warm in over-air-conditioned hotel rooms.

4. No kettle

We Brits like a cup of tea in out room. My big name Las Vegas hotel room hadn’t got a kettle or coffee making facilities either which is torturous and every hotel I stayed at in Canada had a coffee making machine but no kettle. Tea bags were provided so you could make a cup of tea but tea tastes vile made with luke warm water and imbued with the flavor of stale coffee.

5. Digital alarm clocks

That bright light keeps you awake at night and most digital alarm clocks are almost impossible to work out how to set.

6. Inhuman wake up calls

If I ask reception for a morning wake up call please give me a cheery human voice saying:

“Good morning Mrs. Candy, it’s 7am and this is your morning wake up call.”

Prerecorded messages are definitely second best but you really feel unloved when the ringing phone wakes you in a strange place, you pick up and there’s no one there. Just a lonely silence and the feeling that no one loves you, no one cares. You’re not a person, just a room number.

7. Surly staff

It happens. Even in service-driven countries like the UK, Australia and the USA where you expect to be treated politely, and even when you’ve been flown thousands of miles specially to write about a place.

It’s annoying when you’re waiting at reception to check in or out or ask a question and the receptionist pay more attention to the ringing phones lines than they do to you.

Hotel staff, like anyone in a service industry are being paid to smile, be polite and be friendly. Sure, some hotel guests may be a pain in the bum (not me of course) but there’s no need to make it obvious that you wish you didn’t have to deal with them.

8. Bad breakfasts

I love a hotel room with breakfast included in the price but the breakfast has to be edible. The hot food at buffet breakfasts should be hot and late risers should not be penalized with over-cooked leftovers dotted with specks of unidentifiable offerings.

9. No full length mirror

We all want to look as good as we can while we’re traveling as those travel photos are lifelong souvenirs. A full length mirror is essential to give yourself a quick once over before you leave the room and check that everything is tucked in, bulge free and fluff free.

10. No lift and a room on the third floor

Much as we want to travel light and much as we wish we did, most travel professionals don’t. We are weighted down with big cameras, heavy electronics and clothes which will take us through any climate and any social situation. Wheelie bags are great but they don’t handle stairs well.

11. Tip hungry staff

Obsequious hotel staff who follow you round everywhere, try to foist help on you when you don’t need it and linger awkwardly for a tip they’re not going to get are just as bad as surly staff and equally common. Expecting a tip makes you less likely to get one.

12. Badly lit bathroom mirrors

Mirrors in bathrooms which are lit from the top make shaving under the chin tricky and even facial-hairless ladies need decent lighting so they can put their game face on before going out. Or maybe spot that black hair growing out of a mole and pluck it out before someone else notices it.

13. Plastic cups

Nothing is meaner and more environmentally unfriendly than plastic cups in the bathroom. Especially if they are encased in a plastic sleeve. They fall over when you put your toothbrush in them too.

14. No Internet or over-priced wifi

Roll on the day when every urban hotel in the developed world has free Internet and Wifi in every room. Even many developed countries like Australia are surprisingly backwards when it comes to letting their guests access the Internet and many seem to see it as a luxury and an up-sell.

15. Too few electrical sockets

Travel professionals have to recharge their cameras, iPads, mobile phones and plug in their computers so they can download and back up photos and share their travel experiences on social media so multiple sockets are essential.

Say what you like about travel professionals, but they know what they love and hate in a hotel. Even if they are just a teeny bit spoilt sometimes.

What are your pet hates about  hotels?

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  1. Johanna July 13, 2012 at 9:51 am - Reply

    A post that needed to be written and not just for travel professionals. Nice one :)
    Great peeves, Annabel – and although I agree with all of them, my top three are:
    Windows that won’t open, no wi-fi or expensive wi-fi, and digital alarm clocks that bleep in neon all night long – and sometimes go off at an ungodly hour!
    Perhaps no lift to the third floor though is good for my lazy carcass :)

    • Annabel Candy July 13, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Hi Johanna,

      Well, we do sit around on our bottoms a lot on planes and while writing so yes, maybe they give me the top floor room with no lift for a reason;)

  2. Desolie July 13, 2012 at 11:10 am - Reply

    How I dislike hotel rooms that are poorly lit.
    It’s not much fun when the only place with good lighting means I have to sit in a straight-backed chair at a bench. I like to sprawl a bit when I’m reading for relaxation, and reading on the bed doesn’t always work for us spectacle wearers.
    Not that I’m a grumpy old lady, of course!

    • Annabel Candy July 14, 2012 at 7:12 am - Reply

      Hi Desolie,

      Lol, oh no, of course not! But we book lovers do need some good lighting… and somewhere comfy to sprawl of course:)

  3. Eric | Eden Journal July 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Sounds like you are staying in hotels a bit fancier than the ones I usally stay in. We typically stay in mid tier hotels and those never have bathrobes and the windows rarely open. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a kettle in a US hotel room.

    My main requirement is cleanliness. As long as the room and bathroom are clean, then I’m happy. Also, as environmentally unfriendly as plastic cups are, I prefer them becuase I’m sure they are clean.

    I like it when the electrical sockets are in easy reach, like when there are extra outlets at the bottom of the desk or wall lamps.

    • Annabel Candy July 14, 2012 at 7:14 am - Reply

      Hi Eric,

      Great to see you here again. It’s true that opening windows do signify a better class of hotel when really it shouldn’t – it’s a basic human right to have a bit of fresh air as far as I’m concerned.

      Oooh yes, squeaky clean bathrooms are so important.

  4. jenny@atasteoftravel July 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    I can relate so well to this post Annabel. It’s definitely not just travel professionals who hate these things. I really can’t cope when the windows won’t open..to the point that this is the one question I ask when I book a hotel! I often wonder why a hotel still persists with neglecting most of the the things on your list…they are not hard to improve or change. In the meantime, I’ll stick to smaller boutique hotels where windows open and decent hairdryers, kettles, friendly staff and free wifi etc seem to be the norm!

    • Annabel Candy July 14, 2012 at 7:15 am - Reply

      Hi Jenny,

      Great to see you here. It’s true that all the things you mention don’t actually cost a lot. But travelers have to pay a lot more for them as they’re seen to be a luxury to often found only in boutique hotels.

  5. anne kostalas July 14, 2012 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Glad I’m not the only person who makes coffee- flavoured tea in coffee makers. Is there anything sadder to a Brit than a) no kettle and b) no complementary BISCUITS in your room?
    Noise is another pet peeve of mine. You are trying to sleep and all the doors slam shut with a thundering crash. Why in heaven’s name?

  6. Surminga July 16, 2012 at 6:09 am - Reply

    You can also easily relate to this as a customer of hotels.

  7. Gunnar Todal July 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Actually I hate living in hotel, but when we travel or on business trip, I have to book a hotel. Some hotels even has the dirty bed sack, and the room is full with a smell of cigarettes. I can’t bear the smell any more.

  8. Janella July 26, 2012 at 3:42 am - Reply

    Argghh hotel windows that don’t open are my biggest pet peeve…apparently a suicide/accidental fall liability issue.

  9. Amanda | A Crafty Traveler July 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    My biggest hotel pet-peeve is the new trend towards glass enclosed bathrooms! I’ve now stayed in 2 hotel rooms that have used swinging frosted glass doors for the bathroom, another with a full length frosted glass window between the bed and the bathroom, and another where the bathroom was enclosed completly in glass with only a strip of frosted glass across the middle section. I hate it! I’m not hugely uptight but everyone needs a little privacy every so often.

  10. Gabby March 24, 2013 at 2:45 am - Reply

    Try being completely sold out and putting a woman in a first floor hotel room with windows that open. They complain enough about being on the first floor when the windows DONT open! We cant get everyone on a high floor that wants it. Digital alarm clocks are a problem? What would you rather have? What do you use at home? As for hotel staff paying more attention to ringing phones…thats something we wish we didnt have to do! When your manager threatens to “cut off your hands” if you dont answer that phone in 3 rings, its kind of hard. We would rather be paying attention to you and throw that stupid loud annoying phone in the TRASH! And the plastic cup thing, I work at a hotel without plastic cups and we are constantly getting asked if the glasses are clean. OF COURSE THEYRE CLEAN, but theres things all over the internet and TV nowadays about how hotels dont wash these glasses. Most hotels are going to switch to plastic if people dont stop questioning the cleanliness of glasses. Its annoying.
    You know what my biggest pet peeve is? Hotel guests who complain about every little thing they possibly can to the front desk. We cant do anything about ANY of this stuff. We dont want to say no to you but the truth is if we were to give you everything you wanted we would get in trouble! And half the time if you turn around and complain to the general manager he WILL give you everything you want. The general manager wants to look like the good guy and make all us hotel staff look bad. So stop complaining to the front desk and just call the general manager! Dont stop by the front desk asking for him either, more than likely we wont be able to find him (because he doesnt want us to) or if we do find him he’ll scream at us for not just telling you hes “busy” or “off property”

  11. Sally December 12, 2015 at 10:55 am - Reply

    I travel frequently for business and occasionally for pleasure, and my biggest pet peeve is windows that don’t open! I always call before booking to ask, and refuse to stay in a hotel with non-opening windows. The air is stuffy, and smells like cigarettes and body odor! Hotels tell you its for “security” or to “prevent people jumping out” but the real reason (from talking to those who work at hotels) is to save money on heating and air conditioning! In many other countries, they install a system where the heat/A.C automatically shuts off when the window is open, but never seen this is in the U.S. I think they are too cheap and would rather just seal the windows shut!

  12. Rachel May 19, 2016 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Yes agreed on the windows. Here are a few more I’ve collected since taking a consulting role: sinks that don’t properly drain, turning on the bathroom fan which pulls in smoke from someone else smoking in their bathroom. If only the windows opened. Most hotel carpeting is musty. How about the nearly dead battery in the remote causing a delay in the channel change? It’s not so much the delay, more the uncertainty of wondering, “should I hit the channel up again?” Now I’ve overshot like 3 channels. Once the morning rolls around and I wake dried out and stuffy, though a towel over the pillows helps, it’s time to hit the continental breakfast. Where do I begin? That rotating conveyor belt on the toaster under toasts the first round, and then a second lap, and, well, pardon the pun, your toast. Food that isn’t refilled is frustrating, but by far the sound of coffee sputtering from a near-empty airpot is irritating. Peak hours call for multiple pots! How else am I to clear out the brain fog from sleeping in stale air all evening.
    Despite my picky perfectionism I really enjoy traveling! One gets to know the hotel staff or other travelers, somebody took the time to make you breakfast and coffee, catch up on the complementary WSJ or FT , and no dishes! Can’t think of a better way to start the workday.

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