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What Annoys You About Luxury Hotels?

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Even luxury hotels have small irritations. 

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Even luxury hotels have small irritations. 

Pet peeves at places that do almost everything right

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Sometimes I wonder if any hotel designer has ever washed their face, turned off the lights, or stayed for more than five minutes in the luxury hotel suite they designed. Or—my biggest pet peeve—tried to throw something away in one of those little silver trash cans you find in five-star hotel bathrooms. The ones with the foot pedals? They are all over the place. There is no elegant way to open one. You stumble over it, and the can slithers around on the cold floor. I long for a small, lid-less trash can to fling my crumpled Snickers wrapper into.  

When you are a travel professional, you know the irritations of poor design. And so, in the spirit of making it better for everyone—and yes, to vent a little—I asked AFAR editors and travel advisors for their luxury hotel pet peeves. Just for fun! And maybe some hotel designer is out there listening? 

I’ll go first. Those slippery little silver trash cans aren’t the only bathroom oddities on my list. I’ve stayed in so many hotels where I have to press the button to keep the hair dryer on. This is so strange, and it’s a thumb workout that I don’t want. Can I not be trusted to turn off the hair dryer? 

It seems like electricity in general is a sore spot:

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“This might be controversial, but I hate when there’s one light panel that controls all the bulbs in the room. Just give me an old-fashioned switch that I don’t need a degree to operate.” —Laura Dannen Redman, AFAR digital content director 

“I need an easy way to turn off the lights at bedtime but still leave something small on in the bathroom so I can find my way in the middle of the night.” —Henley Vazquez, Passported, NYC 

“Those bright blue alarm clocks that flash all night should be banned.” —Monique Brendel Thofte, Passported, NYC

“Complicated lighting systems with 100 switches that have to be sorted out. There should be one master switch, next to the bed, that turns everything on or off.” —Ignacio Maza, Signature Travel Network 

“No outlets near the bed and/or difficult to find or access outlets in general. Why? How? The amount of furniture I’ve had to move . . .” —Michelle Baran, travel news editor, AFAR 

Then there are the amenities. Or lack thereof.

“Why do they tie the belt of the robe around the robe three times and so tight it’s impossible to quickly throw on when you get out of the shower? It’s the same level of frustration as unraveling your headphones. And, this seems to be a European thing, but when they put pillows and blankets in a baby crib. Super dangerous, no thanks!” —Monique Brendel Thofte 

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“I hate not having a coffee maker in the room. The in-room Nespresso should be in any hotel above a certain level. No, I don’t want to go downstairs and sit in your restaurant to have my morning cup, nor do I want to pay $20 for it to be delivered to my room on a silver tray.” —Henley Vazquez 

And while we always appreciate good service, it doesn’t take much to cross the line. “Housekeeping staff should not be banging on the door at eight in the morning, as if there was a fire on property,” says Maza.

I often immediately put the Do Not Disturb sign or switch on when I arrive in my room. But frequently, there is a call soon after. “We noticed your Do Not Disturb sign is on. Would you like service?” I know this is coming from a good place, but which part of Do Not Disturb do you not understand?

What are the little things that bug you about hotels? 

Vent to me at annie@afar.com

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