Business travellers' top hotel hates: what we want to see changed

By John Walton, August 31 2011
Business travellers' top hotel hates: what we want to see changed

As business travellers ourselves, we stay in a lot of hotels in a lot of different cities and countries. Many of them are fantastic -- but there are certain bugbears that just start getting on business travellers' nerves.

The Australian Business Traveller team has put together our top five -- so take a look, see what you'd add or subtract from the list, and let us know what your pet hates are.

1. Ridiculously tightly-made beds

Our first bugbear is the way that hotel bedlinen is always tucked in so tight you can barely slide into it. We like a well-made bed, but if you have to physically get out of the bed in order to untuck the bottom sheet when you're too warm, it's too much.

We are, however, big fans of the increasing use of doonas (called duvets in the rest of the world). They're much more comfortable, feel more stylish, and are warmer in winter-time.

2. Confusing hot and cold shower controls

Why is it that the cheapest of budget hotels can get the shower controls right -- a single lever that moves up for pressure and left/right for temperature -- but luxury hotels go with fittings that require a doctorate in Designer Hieroglyphics to figure out?

Eventually (after getting soaking wet and cold) you figure out that the triangle means hot and the square means cold, or that the crooked arrow means you need to lift the handle and then turn it 180 degrees for water to stop shooting out at you sideways from the "full body" taps.

Seriously, upmarket hotels: swanky does not equal indecipherable. Give us a rain head, a detachable shower wand and decent water pressure. That's all we need.

3. Tiny cups and glasses at breakfast

So after your vacuum-sealed bedlinen and deeply confusing shower experience, you head down to breakfast for a refreshing drink of juice.

Except that the hotel only offers miniscule thimbles next to the juice dispenser at the buffet. 100ml later, you're standing there and refilling the tiny thing.

We usually snag a coffee mug or two to fill up -- or ask for a larger glass -- but really, we've paid hundreds of dollars for a room and you're being stingy with juice servings?

4. Uncomfortable armchairs and lack of sofas

If your business trip doesn't involve dawn-to-midnight meetings and events, you'll eventually want to relax in the room, perhaps catching up with what's going on at home on your tablet or laptop, perhaps just watching a movie.

So why do many hotels -- even the expensive ones -- furnish their rooms with such uncomfortable armchairs? Sure, you can always lie down on the bed, but then when it's time for bed you don't get that feeling of slipping into crisp cool sheets.

Business travellers want comfortable chairs and sofas, not those awful tiny bucket chairs and barely padded convertible sofas that turn into an extra bed. If you're going to use convertible sofas, at least get the ones that feel like a sofa and not like a youth hostel bunk.

5. Insane laundry costs

You want how much to wash a pair of socks, a t-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts? $10-20 at many hotels.

While we often send out laundry to a collection service (just Google "laundry collection" and the city you need) and have never had a problem dropping off or collecting a suitcase-full at the concierge desk, we can't help but wish that hotels had a "load of washing" option.

We wouldn't feel especially fleeced by being charged $10 to $20 for a load of washing if it were delivered to our room -- and perhaps, in more luxury properties, put away in drawers or in our suitcase ready to head home.

What's your biggest hotel hate?

Share your frustration and talk to your fellow readers, either in the comments below or using the Twitter hashtag #hotelhates -- and don't forget to @mention us: @AusBT. We'll collate the best -- or, technically, the worst -- into another list next week.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


24 Oct 2010

Total posts 177

Hotels that have hermetically sealed windows. What is wrong with a bit of fresh air!? I'm sure there are good safety reasons that they can't allow people to have 'full body access' to the outside world, but would the ability to open a window a few centimetres kill them?

I hate sleeping all night with air conditioning on and drying me out, when the cool night air outside would be perfectly fine (noise notwithstanding).

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 529

1. Lack of WiFi - Although most hotels have wired broadband... alot still don't have WiFi

2. Ridiculous cost of internet access - There should be no cost these days. Hotel companies such as Shangri La have the right idea by having free broadband.

3. Lack of cutlery - Just the basics would be great - Fork, knife, spoon.... Enough to get by if you decide to bring something back to the room to eat.

Completely agree with points 1 and 2.

I'll also add:

1. Hotel television remotes which are slow to respond and require you to go through a series of menus before you can actually watch something.

2. Lack of power points.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Mar 2011

Total posts 4

Agree with all the comments so far and will add:

 - Complex light switch arrangements - sometimes it can be hard to figure how to get all the lights off!

 - Showers over baths (who is having a bath in the tiny baths in hotels!! get rid of them and offer a real shower)

 - Lack on fans in bathrooms, would be nice have a shower and then be able to see in mirror afterwards

Finally the turn down service (possibly designed to counteract the tight sheets!) I can turn down by own bed thanks. 

20 Sep 2011

Total posts 27

Has to be the cash gouge of internet / wi fi fees.

Absolutely inexcusable.  Net access for a business traveller is not an 'extra'   It's as important as a bed and a meal.

Ever since the Hotels lost their cash cow of exorbitant room phone calls thanks to mobiles, they have looked to net charges to fill the gap.

As more of us use wifi hubs this cash cow too will die out.

I'm surprised that so many 'small' hotels will offer free net access compared to the 'bigger ones' still charging.

I'd also expect the chains to offer free net access to their gold and platinum members as a courtesy.

21 Nov 2011

Total posts 1

I agree with the free (or cheap) wifi. Over priced hotel internet these days is just crazy and an insult to your hotel guests. Or at least offer it free to frequent guests or in the lobby. Its a selling point for me. Having said that, hotels that have slow wifi are annoying too. 

03 Oct 2011

Total posts 32

  1. Tucked-in sheets!  I hate those.
  2. Lack of wired Internet.  Wi-Fi is often slow and unreliable.
  3. Glasses that are washed by housekeeping in the rooms, not in the central dishwasher.  Yuck!
  4. Too-soft and broken mattresses.  Too many hotels don't keep their mattresses in top shape, letting them stay around despite sagging, slanting, and lack of support.
  5. Lack of lumbar support at desk chairs.  Fancy desk chairs may look nice, but with no adjustments nor lumbar support, they are useless.
  6. Lack of outlets.
  7. Inconsistent light switches.  Some hotels delight in making a game out of how many different kind of light switches they can use in the same room.  Asian hotels tend to be much better, providing a few well-placed wall switches by the bed, desk, and door to control everything.
  8. Curtains that don't overlap and let in light
  9. Thin walls
  10. Over-plush carpet that is impossile to roll luggage.

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