Have you ever been the victim of poor hotel room design or wondered why hotels do some of the things they do? According to a recent Qualtrics “Hotel Pain Index” study, room cleanliness and surprise surcharges are among the top concerns for travelers. No matter what your elite status with a loyalty program, even a meticulously clean room design can lead to frustration if the simple things don’t work as planned. How many of these hotel irritations have frazzled one of your trips? Check out the ways some hotels are working to fix them.
1. Housekeeping visits at the wrong time
It never fails. If you have just a few minutes of free time in your room, housekeeping is sure to come knocking (sometimes even ignoring the “Do not disturb” sign). There has to be a better way, say the staff at The Mantra Samui in Ko Samui, Thailand. The hotel has an app for guests to schedule housekeeping, room service, and any needed maintenance visits at the touch of a button. The online menu also helps guests to avoid any potential language barriers.
Swanky wine and spa hotel Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, near Valladolid, Spain, takes a simpler, but equally effective approach, by letting guests request scheduled housekeeping times via door handle signs the night before.
2. Cramped closets without enough hangers
Moxy Times Square has a handy solution for extra closet space: Look under the bed! Space is at a premium in this historic building, so designers are installing pull-out drawers underneath beds. Wall pegs with wooden hangers are ideal for blazers, jackets, or robes, which can be hung side by side. Designers used the simple room design concept of Japanese ryokans, which also led to a fold-up table and custom leather chair that helps to save even more space when not in use.
Many TownePlace Suites by Marriott properties are giving some extended stay guests closet envy thanks to a partnership with The Container Store, which provides a custom “elfa” closet with shelves, drawers, and hangers perfectly crafted to make efficient use of space in a hotel room.
3. Dangerous middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks
Surely, you have seen some hotel beds with corners sharp enough to slice an apple. Luckily, the Hotel Sanchaya on Bintan Island, Indonesia, wants to protect you with a convenient switch that turns on a subtle under-bed light to guide you to the bathroom without waking you or your partner up or stubbing your toe. Other hotels, like the Delta Hotel Ottawa City Centre, have installed motion-activated night-lights in the bathroom to guide you.
4. Not enough power outlets
No one should have to rearrange an entire room of furniture to find an outlet. While many hotel chains are installing bedside outlets, Holiday Inn Express has taken notice and is putting them everywhere. Its new design concept has power outlets at community tables in the “great room” lobby area, by the beds and desks in guest rooms, and even in the exercise and breakfast areas. It’s not just electrical sockets, but USB ports, too.
Holiday Inn’s newer properties also provide moveable desks on rollers making it easy to work from any corner of the room. Going forward, all newly built and renovated Holiday Inn hotels in the United States and Canada will use this design.
5. Shower woes
The Hotel Eastlund in Portland, Oregon has solved a major bathroom conundrum. With a hole placed strategically in the glass shower stall, travelers can turn on the shower without scalding their hands when reaching in to adjust the water temperature. Many Courtyard by Marriott hotels, including one of the newest in Guatemala City, are introducing a similar concept in newly built properties by relocating the shower handle out of the trajectory of the showerhead. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on those European hotels with a half-glass panel that does little to keep shower water from soaking the floor.
6. Awkward room service interruptions
Murphy’s Law says that the second you step into the shower, your room service will arrive. Who wants to answer the door in their underwear or towel? If it’s only coffee you want, you’ll appreciate that Charlestowne Hotels has high-end coffee and filtered water machines in the hallways of many properties like the French Quarter Inn in Charleston, South Carolina. Housekeepers save time by not needing to clean in-room coffee makers, and you can caffeinate without calling room service.
Omni Hotels and Resorts are known for a similar, free perk for its loyalty program members with knock-and-drop morning beverages (like coffee, juice, soft drinks) left outside your door at a pre-selected time; no awkward, pajama-clad interactions with hotel staff.
Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs, known for its in-house water parks for families, has added an adult-friendly perk: turndown service with wine! Once the kiddos are asleep, parents can enjoy their pre-ordered wine and cheese pairings. The staff will text you to see when you’re ready so as not to wake up the kids with a knock on the door.