Sometimes I think I’m the opposite of most hotel guests, at least when I read other people’s reviews. People raving about the club scene at some Vegas hotel pool is a definite clue I don’t want to stay there. Then there are the people who talk up the quiet, secluded beaches at some resort in the South Pacific. Again, I don’t want to stay there (there is such a thing as being too quiet).
My dad shared with me two recent articles by the hotel blog Oyster on their Top 11 Things We Hate and Things to Love about hotels. Going through the lists brought back memories of some of my hotel stays this year and how some of these favorites don’t seem to apply to me.
I don’t like room service. It takes just as long as going to the hotel restaurant and usually has the same menu. I’d rather sit at a real table and eat my food in comfort. I caved and had room service exactly once this year, when we arrived late at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. The food was great, but there was no place to eat in the room. We ended up delicately balancing several plates on a side table while Megan sat on the bed and I in the desk chair.
I don’t like designer toiletries. I am not a cool person and have never heard of these companies. All I want is something that lathers, rinses out, and is easy to open. What is this KenetMD stuff we have coming at Hyatt? I could care less about the Bliss products stocked at W Hotels. My favorite toiletries this year were the no-name coconut-scented items branded with the Hyatt Regency Maui’s Spa Moana.
I don’t like hi-tech rooms. To a point, they are very nice. Every hotel should have ample and easily accessible power outlets. I appreciate that almost all Hyatt hotels have an A/V panel next to the television. But when we stayed at the Andaz Wall Street, we had to ask our host to come up to the room and show us how to use the door key. There were so many light switches for different “zones” and “moods” that I just left all the lights on all the time.
I don’t like no lines at check-in. Again, let me qualify. I don’t like waiting, but I also need to know where to go. At boutique hotels, the whole sit-down-and-have-a-drink aesthetic unsettles me. Frankly the last thing I want to do when arriving at a hotel is to sit down. I’ll come back after taking my things to my room. At the Grand Hyatt New York, the Diamond check-in area was in a separate room with no obvious signage.
I don’t like mini bars, with local treats or otherwise. The local idea is nice; charging isn’t. You could give me a free $2 granola bar and I’ll be happy. But charge me $12 and I’ll never eat one. This is something I love about Andaz hotels: the food and non-alcoholic drinks are free. One of the biggest costs of mini bars is managing inventory and payment. If you just stock the thing and give it away (like toiletries) the cost actually become manageable.
So let’s switch to the things I love about hotels. I agree with everything else on Oyster’s list. Megan loved having her own vanity at the Grand Hyatt Singapore, and nothing annoys me more about hotel bathrooms than those that have enough space for double sinks but fail to utilize the opportunity. Megan has also gotten spoiled with regular access to bathrobes and slippers. The best we’ve had this year were in the Presidential Suite at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, made of terry with a soft velour on the inside.
Free drinks and WiFi are also pluses. We saved bundles by drinking up at the Grand Clubs in New York, Singapore, and Hong Kong. New York is just expensive in general, and Singapore has unusually high liquor taxes. Before becoming a Diamond elite, the free Platinum status that comes with the Hyatt Visa paid for itself in free WiFi and access to quiet rooms with better views.
Hotel status goes a long way to eliminating the issues on Oyster’s “hate” list. Resort fees are stupid, no matter how you justify them, and should included in the advertised rate. But the Hyatt Regency Maui has reduced resort fees for Platinum and Diamond members, and the Hyatt Regency Waikiki has eliminated them entirely for Diamond members. Bottled water charges are another annoyance. Hyatt hasn’t done anything about this …yet. I just grab a bottle from the gym. But Hilton, Starwood, and other properties will comp in-room water for elite members.
Other changes have nothing to do with elite status. I like that certain hotels, including the Hyatt Regency Maui, have started banning the practice of reserving pool chairs. There are few things that annoy me more than people who set their stuff down and then disappear. This doesn’t help you in Las Vegas, where hotels see it as something you can actually charge for, but I’ve realized that few hotels in Las Vegas are actually concerned about doing anything that doesn’t line their pockets.
I’ll have a few posts next week on hotel elite status, including another comparison table much like I made for airline programs. In the meantime, what are some of your hotel pet peeves?