Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Room at the Inn

What’s important to you when you check into a hotel? I realize that hotels have it tough, because everyone has different expectations of what good service is. One person has no interest in Internet access, while the next demands it. One guest requires an in-room media center, while someone else is more interested in security measures.

So I’m in Los Angeles for the SCBWI Annual Conference at the Hyatt Regency Century City. Now, this is not a flophouse by any means. It’s a beautiful hotel, recently renovated. The “rack rate” is $399 a night. (Full disclosure: I am not paying that much since I’m here with a conference.)

My question is, what should you get for your $399 a night? Here is my personal list of loves and hates in hotels:

I love these super beds hotels have these days. Six pillows may be a bit much, but I like being adrift on a great barge of a bed. It feels like a special privilege to sleep in one of these.

A beautiful view. It may seem silly to pay more for something you can’t take home except in your memory, but I love to look out at beauty.
Those cool showers with the curved shower curtain rods. You don’t end up with the shower curtain plastered to your bare body or water all over the floor.

Free Internet access in your room. I think that should be a given these days. Ironically, it tends to be provided in business hotels for $125 a night. For $399, you pay extra to get online.
A good working desk and chair with adjustable height. Right now I feel like my keyboard is under my chin.
Coffee maker in my room with good coffee: I like to have coffee before I meet the public. Including Room Service
Health clubs: these should be gratis. I’m not talking about a spa, but basic workout equipment. It’s hard enough to exercise on the road without feeling like you’re being nickeled and dimed to death

Those in-room junk food stores
posing as refrigerators. Here at the Hyatt, half the space on the bureau is taken up by a snack store with chips, cookies, raisins, and nuts. The mini refrigerator is packed with liquor, pop, candy bars, cookies, candy, and beer. There is no room for personal items I might want to refrigerate, for example, healthy items like milk or fruit or leftovers from dinner. Once again, there is a warning sign on it telling me that electronic sensors will bill my room if I disturb any of the items and warning me not to try and put my personal items in there. This is service? Why couldn’t there be a mini bar with items for sale for the convenience of guests and a couple of shelves for your own foods? That would be hospitality.

Non-dairy powdered creamer in those little packets with the coffee maker. Yick! Use real cream. It keeps for a long time in those little cups.
Cardboard cups. For $399 a night, you should get real glass. (BTW. the Hyatt offers to provide real glasses on request. It took two tries to get some.)

No Big Deal
I don’t care if they change the towels and sheets every day. I don’t do it at home, so why do I need it here?
Hair dryers: I don’t care if they provide hair dryers. You can’t count on their being there, so I always bring my own anyway. So don’t bother.
Iron and ironing board. Like I’m going to do ironing here.
What about you? What are your pet peeves and delights when you stay in a hotel?


Dahlia said...

I agree with you about most of your list (especially the icky powdered creamer!)

I tend to need the ironing board and iron just to make sure my clothes are crisp and fresh looking as my clothes tend to wrinkle up in my suitcases.

One thing I really appreciate is when I don't feel boxed into the room- I like a little space to move around, to pace if I need to, without bumping into furniture. And I love having a little sewing kit- you never know when you are going to have a loose button or a ripped hem - it always gives me peace of mind!

I honestly believe the more "business" oriented a hotel is, the better it is because they realize their customers' various needs and try to accommodate them as much as possible because they realize that if they do a good job, that customer is most likely to return.

MAM56 said...

Cinda, I have never seen an article on this, so just had to respond. Need the blow dryer, hate to pack it when every pound counts and costs. The ONLY time I iron is when I travel, because items get smooshed. they could skip the alarm clocks, I never could quite figure them out, they are all so different, so didn't trust that the alarm would actually go off. I use my travel alarm and phone and wakeup calls for back up.