If they designed a hotel to please me (hotels for infovores)

by on January 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm in Travel, Travels, Uncategorized | Permalink

I am enjoying the “new David Brooks” and his last column prompted me to consider what I actually look for in a hotel.  It is pretty quirky and it involves:

1. Very flat pillows so the head can lie almost flat.

2. No fawning from service people.

3. Numerous ready to access electrical outlets, including a laptop outlet right next to the bed so I can lean up against the pillow while blogging.

4. A non-ventilated bathroom which allows you to steam clothes into submission, and clothes hangars which support the same.

6. NBA-relevant channels on the TV and an easy to operate remote control system which does not trap said user in irrelevant menus.

7. Good breakfast choices which do not have an excess of carbohydrates.

I am putting aside location and obvious matters such as “they don’t torture me with unscheduled wake-up calls at 4 a.m.”  In any case, it is easy for an expensive hotel — boutique or not — to fail on most of those grounds.

Sbard January 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm

8. Free/included internet. It’s the 21st century, charging for internet service is like charging you for water or electricity.

James January 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm

What irritates me is it is always the expensive hotels that charge for internet. The lower priced ones give it away, which is where I usually stay when I get to choose the hotel.

brad January 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

They are trying to preserve profits from expensive CCTV porn ordered by businessmen on expense accounts.

andrew January 8, 2014 at 6:20 pm

That makes so much sense. I wonder if it’s true.

Ricardo January 9, 2014 at 1:05 am

The “businessmen on expense accounts” part almost certainly is. If you are the sort of person who would complain about spending $20 per day on WiFi, chances are you are also the sort of person who wouldn’t want to spend $300-400 per night for a hotel room, either. It’s classic price discrimination. The hotels that cater to business travelers know that almost every single one of them will need to access their email at some point and that their employers are not going to tell them they cannot reimburse their WiFi expenses.

Rahul January 9, 2014 at 11:48 am

@Ricardo:

In the good old days of Priceline once a $50 bid got me a fancy hotel in downtown Chicago that I’d never have paid for otherwise. It really sucked paying for Wifi and Garage Parking though.

Thor January 8, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Wait, what? Closed Circuit TV porn? I thought CCTV meant security cameras!

whatever January 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm

He meant Cable-TV, but I had the same reaction.

Rob42 January 9, 2014 at 8:15 am

Doubt many companies would reimburse amounts spent on in room movies (they are separately stated on the bill, so it easy for accounting to bounce it back). However, WiFi should almost always be covered by expense accounts.

oblivia January 10, 2014 at 1:45 am

No. Watching a movie while travelling on behalf of your employer is certainly not unreasonable. However, most (Western) businessmen are afraid of being accused of watching porn so just skip it altogether.

Dan Weber January 9, 2014 at 8:26 am

There is also the fact that setting up and maintaining a payment gateway costs money. Small hotels literally don’t have the money or attention to figure out how to charge money, and it’s easier to just set it up as a free service and leave it.

Jay January 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Not really, if they really wanted to charge for it they could just charge a nominal fee to receive the network security key for the week. Crude but cheap to implement.

oblivia January 10, 2014 at 1:47 am

Few of the big hotel chains provide internet themselves. They just contract it out.

Lodasi January 9, 2014 at 11:24 am

Practically every hotel chain loyalty program includes free internet as a perk for members.
For any starwood properties the username password combo is spg/spg.

Albigensian January 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm

You’d be surprised at how many companies will NOT pay for your WiFi. But for frequent travelers who really need internet access they’ll provide a mobile hotspot (or in some cases a company tablet or laptop with a data plan).

And at least some low-cost motels are trying a fremium model- free gets you a lower data speed, adequate for most browsing but not really fast enough for video. Pay gets you higher speed access (and the assumption you’ll probably be using more data).

I think pay Internet is unstable in the same way that gouging for in-room phone service was unstable before everyone had a cellphone- eventually just about everyone finds a way around it.

But what do I know? Junk fees annoy travelers (esp. at more expensive motels) but that sure hasn’t rolled back their use.

Ray January 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm

9. In-room coffee maker. Fancy hotels are getting rid of this because it’s become too common, but it is essential.

It's Over January 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm

And don’t keep the coffeemaker in the bathroom!

Rahul January 8, 2014 at 11:06 pm

+1

jmo January 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Coffee maker? Nothing better than being awoken by the gentle knock of room service as they roll in your pot of coffee.

JWatts January 8, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Yes, but after tip that makes for expensive coffee, and I don’t like strangers in my room till I’m dressed.

Norman Pfyster January 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Unless they are hookers.

Thor January 8, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Nope. I prefer my hookers familiar. Not familial, but familiar.

Careless January 8, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Tough to arrange when you’re away from home, staying in a hotel, Thor

CD January 8, 2014 at 6:38 pm

You drink that stuff?

Rahul January 8, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Indeed. No matter how hard I try it still tastes shitty.

I rather prefer the hotels that have a free snack bar / self serve coffee machine kind of area on each floor.

Brian January 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Not great coffee, but I need it to get me out of bed and on my way to picking up some real coffee.

oblivia January 10, 2014 at 1:50 am

Only Americans care about this.

Ray January 10, 2014 at 11:13 am

Well, I care deeply about it. It’s not great coffee, but it’s wet and has caffeine.

Ignacio January 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Isn’t it a bit wasteful to remove wrinkles from clothes by running a hot shower until you accumulate enough steam? Is it not better and more effective simply to use the iron that is generally provided at hotels (this is what I use)? And non-ventilated bathrooms may not be a good idea if you are travelling with someone else who may want to use it afterwards… I am just saying

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Hotel irons are almost guaranteed to 1) leak rusty water, 2) leave some melted and irremovable stain, 3) be missing.

I pack my own portable steam iron but frequently use shower steam like TC.

Frederic Mari January 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Surely, room service should be left to take care of such matters?

Finch January 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Yeah, a hotel should be able to dry-clean, shine, or mend just about anything between midnight and six am.

I don’t usually avail myself of such services, but when you need that, you really need it. And I’m perfectly willing to pay for it.

JWatts January 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm

“Yeah, a hotel should be able to dry-clean, shine, or mend just about anything between midnight and six am.”

Seriously? You never stay at a 2 Star hotel when traveling, I’m guessing.

Finch January 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Yeah, never ever, at least for business. I’ve certainly done it road tripping with family, but then I don’t face serious consequences from not having this kind of service.

Rahul January 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm

@JWatts

+1 It’s hard enough to find a living staff member between midnight n six am.

Thor January 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Ah, the old bachelor stand-by: shower steaming the creases out.

Dude January 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Much of what TC lists, I agree with. However, this stuff really works for wrinkles.
http://www.downywrinklereleaser.com/

Ray January 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm

10. Minibar.

CD January 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Really?

They’re a pain in the ass. Not just the overpriced part, but the extra checking the hotel has to do, and the chances of error.

A good hotel should have a good *real* bar, with a real bartender.

Virginia Postrel January 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Real refrigerator that you can use for your own stuff as well as expensive minibar items.

Ray January 10, 2014 at 11:15 am

They should have a real bar for sure, but when I land at 11 p.m. after 16 hours travel and am jetlagged I just want it to be simple to pour a scotch and soda. Sure, it’s $18, but I value it at $40.

ummm January 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

7. beef jerky

Presently long health care spider XLV..up 1% this year versus indexes which are down .50-1%. Obamcare the gift that keeps on giving (unless you have to pay the fine or lose your coverage)

jmo January 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Who likes flat pillows?

My pet peeve is not enough covers. I like it cool with a lot of blankets but most hotels seem to think you want a warm room with a sheet and very thin blanket/duvet.

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Agree completely. I want cool air in my lungs and warmth everywhere else. Nothing disturbs sleep more than a noisy climate system that can’t maintain a temperature between too hot and too cold.

Frederic Mari January 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Agreed on the flat pillow thing. I don’t like them either. And no big roll thing either. I especially dislike those. Normal pillows with some fluff but not too full nor too empty is pretty good as far as I am concerned.

Enrique January 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm

I too prefer fluffy and firm pillows to flat ones (though, perhaps a mix of flat and fluffy pillows to cater to all preferences would be best), but the other items on the list are spot on

zbicyclist January 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm

A mix of pillows doesn’t look as good on the made bed, but is much more functional.

Careless January 8, 2014 at 11:58 pm

I cannot sleep with fluffy pillows. They’re awful.

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm

1. If it’s that flat, pack your own. I am rarely happy with hotel pillows and always travel with my own.

2. I agree, but hard to teach service staff the middle ground between fawning and neglect, especially when their native language isn’t English.

3. Agree. Last 3 hotels I stayed at barely had a convenient place to plug in my cell phone let alone laptop. Probably an electricity cost cutting technique.

4. Better yet separate switches for fan and light to choose desired ventilation.

5. There is no 5.

6. Don’t watch BB, but agree about the menus. Since every hotel seems to have the same setup, must be some package deal foisted on them by TV providers.

7. Don’t eat breakfast at a hotel. Get a hotel near good breakfast places. I never had an included hotel breakfast that was any good, except for B&Bs.

Highly recommend Kimpton hotels, wherever they are located. I’ll venture they satisfy most of your requirements.

Marcus January 8, 2014 at 5:38 pm

6 – more likely a market failure; one company put together a crummy but workable menu system and charges a rate at which all hotel chains say “good enough.”

dan1111 January 9, 2014 at 4:24 am

Market failure? No: hardly anyone actually cares about this, so there is no need for the market to respond to.

I agree the menus are annoying, but it is probably not even one of the top 100 things I care about in a hotel room. Is there a single person who factors this into there hotel selection process? (Ok, maybe Tyler does…)

Rahul January 8, 2014 at 11:17 pm

I’ve often had to unplug a pedestal lamp or clock radio to make socket space for laptop + cellphone.

Careless January 9, 2014 at 12:01 am

#3- the cost of keeping a 5 watt charger running for a year is what, $4.50?

Careless January 9, 2014 at 12:02 am

that’s 24/7, not just in realistic charging times

Rahul January 9, 2014 at 1:17 am

There’s a reason for the word “beancounters”…….

dan1111 January 9, 2014 at 4:28 am

I agree that it is extremely unlikely to be done to save electricity.

In many cases it is just older buildings. Wanting to plug in five devices as soon as you enter your room is a very recent thing. New hotels often have outlets conveniently located for charging.

Slocum January 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm

“2. No fawning from service people”

I’d go one better and say — “No maid service until I check out”. Making the bed and folding the end of the toilet paper into a V isn’t really valuable. I’d much rather never be disturbed and not have anyone messing around with my stuff until I leave.

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Do not disturb sign. Leave towels outside door when you want them replaced.

But yeah, I agree. I only want service when I ask for it. I think they make it routine so they can inspect your room. I find that when I put up a DND sign, some hotels make an excuse to stop by.

albatross January 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I imagine they get a little worried about what you’re up to in that room, if nobody’s checked it in a week because of the Do Not Disturb sign. Dead bodies, someone cooking meth, fire hazards (like cooking meth) , pets crapping on the carpet, etc.

Slocum January 8, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Rather than stay in hotels, we often rent houses or apartments when traveling. Nobody seems to feel the need to pester/check up on us in those places while we’re there.

The Other Jim January 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm

>pets crapping on the carpet

Probably from ingesting too much meth.

zbicyclist January 8, 2014 at 5:48 pm

As someone who might be in the next room from someone who’d kept the “Do Not Disturb” sign up for days, I appreciate the hotel management checking up a bit.

jmo January 8, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Making the bed and folding the end of the toilet paper into a V isn’t really valuable.

To hell it’s not. That’s the whole point!

Cleaning up after yourself? Ugh….terrible way to live.

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 3:20 pm

I’d love to have a hotel or restaurant insider explain why they do things the way they do, especially when customers seem to universally hate it. Are we so universally annoying to them as customers?

I can’t stand wait staff who seem to go blind and deaf when I want their attention, but won’t go away when I want to be left alone. I want to order my food and drinks together, and I want you to take my credit card as soon as you deliver my check!

In fact, why isn’t there electronic self service menus and payment and a call button?! My tips decline the longer I have to wait for water or coffee refills, and I don’t want my coffee topped off. Can’t they tell the difference between empty and not empty?

slothtosser January 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm

i used to work in corporate strategy for one of the major hotel companies, and food and beverage is a very difficult challenge for most hotels. part of it is driven by the hotel location (city center w/ lots of restaurant competition vs. remote interstate exit with nothing else but a gas station) – that determines whether you rely solely on hotel guests vs. potentially outside traffic. room count and full vs. limited service also come into play. room service is a huge added complexity, as is banqueting and catering (though that’s where much of the money is made). for a while, hotel companies tried to partner with major restaurant chains, but that’s frequently difficult when it comes to breakfast and/or room service, compounded by banquets (which frequently have separate kitchens, but with margins that the restaurant company will want). there are also huge variations globally (eg, in china, hotel restaurants are frequently destinations for business meetings, where private dining rooms are important). finally, you have to consider the hotel’s business model – most hotel companies franchise out their hotels, so have limited influence over what the owner does with f&b and ensuring consistent quality (some choose to cross-staff employees, so they aren’t fully dedicated to the restaurants – hence not optimal service).

ton of complexity and very few get it right. much easier for a boutique chain to do so, since they don’t have to worry about the broader masses / lowest common denominator.

dan1111 January 9, 2014 at 4:37 am

I think the reason is because it’s not universally hated; it’s just you.

Ok, not really. But people have different preferences. If 30% hate something and 70% like it, the vocal 30% are likely to make it seem more unpopular than it is.

Overall, I find hotel and restaurant service to be very good.

I like having my coffee warmed up, since then it never runs out (rebalancing the sugar and milk ratio is a small price to pay).

I don’t find wait staff generally unresponsive or slow. If I am in a hurry, this routine can be annoying, but usually if I go to a sit-down dinner I am not in a hurry and don’t want the meal to be a rushed experience. I have a hard time believing restaurants are doing this against everyone’s will, because actually it goes strongly against their own interests. Being able to move people through quickly would be a lot more profitable.

Jim Olds January 8, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Anyone here ever see the BBC show Hotel Babylon? Tyler…I think that’s what you want.

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 9:15 pm

…Hotel Babylon

The Centauri and Narn are bickering in the corridors of that place at all hours. And when the Shadows and Vorlons show up, the place is a madhouse.

Boomer January 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Great post that got me thinking. For me-
1) At least two fluffy pillows and one hard one at least per person
2) Tons of blankets, towels in multiple sizes, kleenex boxes, and “big enough” trash cans all over the room
3) AC that stays on when you leave the room and in general actually gets cold
4) An empty mini bar
5) Free wifi
6) Easy late checkout
7) Soft toilet paper
8) Adequate shower pressure and a glass shower or at least a curtain that doesn’t go all crazy.
9) Tyler’s TV menu complaint.

And #1- house keeping staff that NEVER disturbs me in my room (surprisingly hard especially when you leave your “do not disturb” sign on for more than a few days straight. They just get curious, I guess.) I do love chatting up the staff in hallways about good eating places etc… when I steal fresh towels, kleenex, etc… from their cart.

dan1111 January 9, 2014 at 4:39 am

I like being able to walk through a hotel room without tripping over dozens of huge trash cans.

Euripides January 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Tyler, your list has got me worried about how similar my tastes are to yours. I have a perfect very old flat pillow at home that the Mrs. has threatened to throw away and get me fluffy new one :(

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm

I cannot sleep on a polyester filled pillow with the sole exception of the one that my head has compressed into perfect shape by 30 years of use.

I found it in the trash bin shortly after our wedding when we got new bed linens. If I had not been able to salvage it, that would have been grounds for annulment.

I’m hoping I die before the pillow falls apart. My wife says the pillow is going under my head in the coffin; that comforts me.

dan1111 January 9, 2014 at 4:41 am

“I found it in the trash bin”

Heh. At first I thought you meant that was where you originally found it.

“I’m hoping I die before the pillow falls apart.”

Hmm. I suggest you slightly amend your hope. Such as, “I hope I live a really long time, but this pillow lasts even longer.” Because right now there’s an uncomfortable ambiguity there.

Thor January 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm

The horror, Euripides. I would take that Maceonian court gig if I were you. ;-)

Finch January 8, 2014 at 3:30 pm

1. A quiet, accurate, easy-to-use HVAC system.
2. Good Room Service! Especially late-night room service.
3. A bathroom with flat surfaces big enough to lay out your toothbrush and shaving kit.
4. Free wifi. I recently paid $600 for a night in a hotel and they charged me for wifi. Wtf?
5. More electrical outlets.
6. A TV with a guide that is actually usable. I’ve no desire to surf through 80 channels to find something. Hell, a Tivo would be nice. They could even pre-load it with a few things from the last week. Tivo employees – this is a market opportunity!
7. A separate living and sleeping area. Suites are the best if you need to work. You can’t have a meeting on a bed unless you are sleeping with the other person.
8. Clean. Clean. Clean! I don’t want the room to be gross anywhere, and I will invariably drop my wallet in that neglected corner that’s been untouched by a maid in years.

Finch January 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Will this fix the formatting?

1. A quiet, accurate, easy-to-use HVAC system.

2. Good Room Service! Especially late-night room service.

3. A bathroom with flat surfaces big enough to lay out your toothbrush and shaving kit.

4. Free wifi. I recently paid $600 for a night in a hotel and they charged me for wifi. Wtf?

5. More electrical outlets.

6. A TV with a guide that is actually usable. I’ve no desire to surf through 80 channels to find something. Hell, a Tivo would be nice. They could even pre-load it with a few things from the last week. Tivo employees – this is a market opportunity!

7. A separate living and sleeping area. Suites are the best if you need to work. You can’t have a meeting on a bed unless you are sleeping with the other person.

8. Clean. Clean. Clean! I don’t want the room to be gross anywhere, and I will invariably drop my wallet in that neglected corner that’s been untouched by a maid in years.

jmo January 8, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Hell, a Tivo would be nice.

Yes, yes, 1000x yes!

I can’t watch TV without a channel guide? You mean I have to click through each channel like it’s 1987? WTF?

What, I want to run to the bathroom or fast forward through a commercial? Sorry, no DVR? NO DVR? It’s not even civilisation!

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm

This was done in Tropic Thunder.

Hadur January 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I can’t join this chorus of commentators agaisnt room service. For me, part of the appeal of a hotel room is that I can make as much of a disorganized mess as I want, and room service will come in while I’m out and tidy up my room.

I’ve never had anything valuable stolen or even put into a different location.

Shane M January 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Check the room and hall acoustics. Even some expensive places have the heavy, loud, boomy doors that slam all night long. While some people aren’t careful when shutting the doors – even in the middle of the night – often it’s still very difficult even with a normal door closing to stop them from slamming. Additionally, I can hear almost every conversation in the hall clearly in even some (even expensive) places. Elevators… Coke Machines… etc. It can all add up to a pretty noisy experience for anyone who is a light sleeper.

Jay January 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Completely agree and am surprised it hasn’t made any of the above lists to this point. Often times I run the noisy HVAC system just to drown out the constant hallway noise or road noise if it is next to a highway and has cheap windows.

Roy January 8, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I travel a lot both in nice big cities on a generous expense account and also in remote areas

In The Americas, Europe, and the more civilized bits of Asia my list is:

1. clean, I mean no smells, weird stains, or grot behind the tv or under the tables
2. A top sheet on the bed
3. In warm climates: working climate controls, controls that are on motion sensors are not working.
4. Water Pressure
5. full working electrical outlets that don’t let the plug drop out of the wall
6. wireless internet

I have stayed at a 5 star hotels that charged close to a grand a night that couldn’t provide any of these, though I got the sheet by calling the desk. I know a $25/night motel in rural Nevada that can pull off all six. I generally find that most cities have a business class hotel that can provide all of these.

I also like a good dead bolt, bar soap, and more than one towel, but in the civilized world the lack of these is pretty rare.

A comfortable bed is nice, but I have only stayed in a few places that managed to actually have one too hard to sleep in, they were both in Montana, which leads to the requirements for hotels in true backwaters. Security (that’s a topic in itself), clean bedding, screens, a hot water kettle that actually boils, and electric power

John S. January 8, 2014 at 5:06 pm

There’s a special place in hell reserved for people who have loud discussions in hotel hallways after 10 PM.

JWatts January 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm

And a specialer place in hell for “adult” chaperones who allow their charges to run up and down the hotel hallway screaming at midnight on a week night.

Finch January 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm

+1 for security.

I’m a guy, but the number one point I hear from women who business travel is “Room Service!”, so that they don’t have to walk six blocks through a strange city at night to get hit on by strangers when they eat alone.

Ray Lopez January 9, 2014 at 2:46 am

Bingo! Roy wins! “Control + F” then type “water” gives one hit on point: water pressure. I’ve stayed in many hotels, all three stars and below, and nowhere outside of a five star in Japan–save maybe one or two–do they have decent water pressure in southeast Asia or even China. None. The shower, when it’s not running hot and cold, gives a very weak output. Ironically these are mostly monsoon weather countries where water is abundant. Only in crummy American homes that are really old and the pipes calcified do I experience similar (but not as bad) lack of water pressure.

dan1111 January 9, 2014 at 4:46 am

Britain is the worst for this. They have an archaic law preventing hot water tanks from being hooked up directly to the water supply. Because the hot water tank might explode back into the water main (!).

Some Consultant January 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm

As someone who’s spent almost ~300 nights of the last year in hotels, my decision making process (and most of my colleagues) is mostly driven by rewards programs. Haven’t seen much of that in the comments here…

I’ve been amazed how most of my colleagues (others who spend similar amounts of time in relatively high-end hotels) will go significantly out of their way to be brand-loyal for the rewards. Have seen people drive up to ~1hr each way just to get to that next status tier / get some more points. Lots of agency costs for our employers, I’m sure — know that no one cares about actual pricing (expensed) versus the rewards they get. Surprised that Starwood (or Hilton or Hyatt) don’t raise their prices even more given how inelastic business traveler demand seems to be.

Can’t say I’ve heard of a request for a non-ventilated bathroom, though…? Just seems odd.

The one thing that will make me switch — even from very nice hotels — is when the AC unit cycles on-and-off every 30mins.

PD Shaw January 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm

An entirely non-ventilated bathroom seems like it would be a possible code violation, or if not, a precursor to mold and rapid-aging issues. Perhaps Tyler just wants a switch.

JWatts January 8, 2014 at 6:54 pm

“As someone who’s spent almost ~300 nights of the last year in hotels, my decision making process (and most of my colleagues) is mostly driven by rewards programs.”

Yes, that’s a good point.

Roy January 9, 2014 at 4:17 am

I spend a lot of nights out too, but I find that my three or four rewards programs add up plenty fast. I never book based on rewards, if I am staying in a hotel I am working or traveling, accelerating the pathetic free night reward is never worth a cruddy night to me. Just on volume I qualify each year anyway.

Dan Weber January 9, 2014 at 8:36 am

I’ve seen airlines say “pay $30 more for another 1000 airline miles on this trip.” I expect it’s 100% used by business travelers on expense accounts. Does this match your experience?

Nick_L January 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Standardized shower controls across hotels, please. The amount of sadistic creativity that goes into designing what should be a simple on/off tap beggars my mind, especially late at night after a long flight.

John Batey January 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Absolutely; I hadn’t even realized this was a problem until you pointed it out. I’ve taken late night baths because I could comprehend how to get the shower portion to go on.

jdd January 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I just use thesuitest.com to find better rooms instead of relying on the hotel writ large. You’d be surprised at the deals you can find at times once you depart from standard superior.

Another Consultant January 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Speaking as one who has been in the hotel business for over 30 years I think you’re all missing the point. The mission is not to give you what you want, that would be silly – it’s to give you what you OUGHT to want – and, generally, the more high-end the hotel the more this is true.

weary1 January 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Windows that actually open – well except for maybe in Hong Kong or Beijing.

x January 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm

I’d just like the basic things:
1. The room must be completely dark at all times of the day (i.e. there must be roller shutters or perfectly fitting covers for windows)
2. There must be no noise at all times of the day (i.e. there must be thick walls, preferably with foam insulation)
3. There must a completely silent A/C system (i.e. situated far away from the room, with pipes)
4. The bed must be big enough for any human being, no matter how tall, and with proper mattress
5. The bathroom must include options appropriate to all cultures (bidet, japanese toilet, squat toilet, etc.)

It’s incredible how almost no hotel satisfies these obvious fundamental requirements, and instead they spend money on useless stuff like what Mr. Tyler is listing.

mike January 8, 2014 at 5:45 pm

#5 – you must be joking

sailordave January 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm

in other words, Tyler wants his food, books, and destinations to be as exotic and diverse as possible, and his hotels to be all the same.

you are missing out on a whole category of adventures.

wiki January 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm

“Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” — Flaubert

Jethro January 8, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Keep the TV as just a TV. I don’t want to check out through the TV, I don’t want to order room service through the TV, I don’t want to purchase anything through the TV, I just want to watch TV. If a hotel must have those services, put a cheap tablet in the room (glue it to the wall if you’re worried about theft), or have an app that the guest can use on their phone, or build a decent website that can do those things.

Also, if a hotel still has a 4:3 TV, make sure that the TV service is set up correctly for that aspect ratio.

Jimbino January 8, 2014 at 5:53 pm

My ideal is the capsule hotel of Tokyo.

I stayed in Shinjuku for $12 a night, exactly what the youth hostel and local live-sex show charged for admission.

I got a fabulous (shared) bathroom with lots of hot tubs, a quiet capsule 10 floors above the street, TV and radio. Perfect.

No women! No kids! No smokers! Wonderful. Too bad I can’t see London, Paris, NYC or SF the same way. In one of those cities, who the hell would pay a premium to stay in any room!

James January 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm

I wish they would put those capsule hotels along the interstate, there is nothing more annoying than paying full price for a hotel that you will spend at most 8 hours in.

CD January 8, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Except there’s no reason to build them along the interstate, where land is plentiful and cheap. They make more sense in urban locations.

red January 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Windows that open are wonderful!
Also, could I please have a light by the bed that is both easy to turn off from a sitting position and offers good light to read by.

Willitts January 8, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Easier to jump from.

Bill January 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm

What I like in my hotel are cheerful, legal workers

Making above the minimum wage.

And,

A chocolate on my pillow.

Which do you think I will find more often?

dan1111 January 9, 2014 at 4:51 am

I don’t know. Do you actually find out the wages and immigration status of the workers at the hotels you stay at?

Rahul January 9, 2014 at 8:30 am

Why bother when you can use handy stereotypes? e.g. Latino accent = illegal. etc.

Chris January 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm

I agree with point 3 , but look at mainlinepower facebook page , who have the solution

Thehova83 January 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm

I’m claustphobic. So I like the modern, spacious, sleek hotels that, according to Brooks, are out of fashion.

Tim R January 8, 2014 at 10:25 pm

8. Mid-thickness blanket between the sheet and comforter. Many hotel beds these days have just a sheet with a 4-inch-thick comforter on top. If I use just the sheet, I am cold. If I use the comforter, I feel like I’m sleeping in a sweat lodge. I often either call down to the desk for a simple blanket, or end up cranking the thermostat to ridiculously high (or low) levels, to achieve equilibrium.

anonymouse January 8, 2014 at 11:29 pm

#3. Pack a electrical strip adapter. 2-3 feet of electrical cord they provide plus your laptop cord is almost always enough to reach the bed. They’re not that big (you can find small ones too) and I swear you could make money renting access at the airport during delays.

JWatts January 9, 2014 at 10:35 am

In addition to an extension strip, I pack a multiprong adapter with a built in night light.

Dan Lavatan January 8, 2014 at 11:41 pm

You need Motel 1/16th:
1. Pillows are in fact empty pillowcases.
2. No service people at all. You select room key from vending machine.
3. Electrical outlet can be moved where you want since wiring is not fixed to wall with pesky outlet covers.
4. Bathroom is not ventilated and has steam from boiler from industrial laundry in basement. You will need to bring your own hangar.
[5. Omitted] Motel 1/16th also cannot afford to have #5.
6. Remote does not have battery and channel is set to ABC. NBA is on ABC this year so is NBA-relevant channel.
7. Breakfast consists of carbohydrate free snow from walkway.
Look forward to your business. Motel 1/16th – 1/16th the cost, 1/16th the service.

alex January 9, 2014 at 1:46 am

I stayed at a hotel in Reykjavik that had NBA TV for a day or two, then the channel morphed into NHL Network.

Roy January 9, 2014 at 4:21 am

That was lucky, the NHL is vastly superior to the NBA.

dan1111 January 9, 2014 at 4:54 am

It was probably best midway through the morphing process, though.

Massimo January 9, 2014 at 9:52 am

Most mid-tier hotel chains satisfy these requirements. These are fairly common.

Ed January 9, 2014 at 11:51 am

In the U.S., I’ve also found that cheap-to-mid price hotels will provide clean rooms, decent service, reliable and free internet, and free (and decent breakfasts), while expensive hotels will often fail on one or two of these points.

However, the difference is location. The cheap-to-midprice hotels I am talking about tend to be out in strip mall land, near interstate interchanges and airports, with little within walking distance and no public transportation. If you find a cheap hotel in a city center, you will be wishing we had something like the Tokyo capsule hotels in this country.

Ed January 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

“I want to order my food and drinks together, and I want you to take my credit card as soon as you deliver my check!”

This is also a pet peeve of mine. What is the benefit to the restaurant or customer from putting the check on the table and then having the server disappear for a half hour, even when the customer is visibly pulling his wallet out when the check arrives? What I just described seems to be the standard way restaurants in New York City operate, I’m not sure if its the case in the rest of the country.

Gordon Haff January 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

My list would be largely different:

1. Quick and efficient check-in. Maybe more hotels need to have the kiosk thing.
2. Refrigerator. I don’t care if I have a minibar or not.
3. In room coffeemaker. Yeah it’s sort of ick but it’s better than nothing.
4. Quiet ventilation system that I can adjust easily.
5. Free WiFi (that works).
6. Generous and well-placed electrical outlet.
7. Unless, it’s a really small room, comfortable chairs (or small sofa). Decent desk chair.
8. Being able to buy reasonably priced beer in lobby is nice.
9. Top sheet on bed–it’s not universal
10. Clean, hot water, decent water pressure, etc.

jmh January 10, 2014 at 12:19 am

Something equally simple and almost never executed:

TV signals that are not “stretched” to fill a widescreen– so that round shapes, like the ABC or VW logos become oval, and skinny basketball players instantly become built like linebackers.

I’ve actually attempted to have hotel staff reset the feed, to no avail.
It’s surprisingly unpleasant, and bleart-making, to watch that kind of imagery for a week’s stay.

M.H. January 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm

What do you mean by the “new” David Brooks?

Raul Vinci January 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I’ma surprised that no one mention the quality of the, um, commode. I been in some hotel where the flush suction nearly ripped my underwear off. In others, the tank seems to flow 5-8 gallons of water at each flush. Having a properly designed defecation chamber is the sign of sophistication

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