10 Hotel Room Fails

15029850140_66eac6f649_zA hotel is a business traveler’s home, a refuge from a stressful day. So when there’s something annoying about this haven, it can be really annoying. Many brands and properties have fixed the two classic biz traveler pet peeves: inaccessible outlets and expensive, slow Wi-Fi. But there are still plenty of things I find in hotel rooms that make me crazy. Here are my top 10 hotel room annoyances:

Alarms that go off in the middle of the night. Neutralizing the alarm clock should be standard procedure in making up a room for a new guest.

Placement of the phone on one side of a king-size bed and the clock on the other. Occasionally, I order a wake-up call. If I sleep where I can see the clock in the middle of the night, I can’t get to the phone without a big scramble.

Glass-topped desks. These make a mouse crazy—the one you’re using to try and pound out that last-minute report or email. Grrrr. (Or whatever an annoyed mouse might utter.)

Too many or too-complicated light switches. I once had to call engineering to help me turn off a bank of lights before sleeping. It shouldn’t be rocket science. Master switches are awesome, especially to use as you exit, but please make them simple to understand.

Needing to check in daily when Wi-Fi is free. My patience is frayed when my perk slows me down by asking me to type in my last name and room number each day. Can’t it be smarter than this?

Amenity bottle labels that are impossible to read in the shower. I get mad when I wash my hair with the conditioner. (A corollary: I also get mad when I can’t tear open the wrapping on the soap with wet hands.)

Bathrooms incorporated into the room with glass walls. Please don’t assume I’m here by myself. I need some modicum of privacy. And don’t make me have to worry about keeping all the water in the shower.

Tiny vanities with limited counter space. I shouldn’t have to fear my things will fall into the toilet.

Hot beverage setups without tea or with herbal only. Sometimes we tea drinkers feel like second-class citizens.

The TV tuned to the hotel channel during turndown. I make an effort to conserve energy, so it bothers me to enter the room and have the TV on. And I have no interest in learning more about the hotel brand while I’m in the room. I wonder how many times ever in the history of humanity a hotel guest has made a buying decision based on the hotel channel or the beautiful, expensively produced book on the desk.

Which hotel room situations make you crazy?

Photo: Flickr/wackystuff


  1. I think for so many years the hotel industry was like the auto industry. They took customers for granted. Not until recently when as the market has increasingly tightened have they decided to begin to listen to the customer. All of what you have written are annoying to me as well. However, the one that you didn’t write about that stands at the top of my list are the “pet friendly” hotels. It’s not that I don’t like pets, but there are certain types of pets, because of their hair, that I am allergic. I think that brands should become more sensitive to this when registering customers.

    • Nancy Branka says:

      Great point about pet-friendly hotels and allergies. I’ve also been on flights where dogs onboard caused passengers to go rifling through their bags in the overhead bin, desperate for their allergy medications.

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