In the past year I’ve stayed at more hotels than I did in the entire decade preceding it. All this time checking in and checking out has made me think about what I value in a hotel. Some other thoughts have also come to mind.
What I Value
Location: In many cases proximity to a specific road, attraction, or pedestrian-friendly locale will be a determining factor in hotel selection. After a day on the road I have a strong preference to walk to wherever I have dinner.
Cost: When I’m looking for a hotel I scope out the rates for the given location and date. This leads to the formulation of a perception of a fair price. When I am picking out a hotel cost is a factor, but I’m willing to pay for quality (despite the fact that I once stayed at the Cooperstown Motel).
WiFi: Having cable television in a hotel room means little to me. Having a good wireless internet connection in a hotel room means a lot to me. I detest when a hotel advertises Wi-Fi then has a pitifully weak signal or coverage only in the lobby. I also detest when a hotel has an additional charge for wifi. I’m like an elephant when it comes to bad WiFi experiences; I won’t forget. (I also can’t decide how to write WiFi/Wi-Fi/wifi.)
Parking: It frustrates me that some hotels try to hide parking fees. I’ll pay for parking, but I don’t want it to be a surprise when I arrive.
The Smell: Some hotels have a bad smell. And it’s not just cheap ones. Unfortunately if you ask a hotel clerk “Does your hotel stink?” they will always say no and some will be offended. Since an objective opinion is impossible to acquire before check-in, I’ve resorted to opening windows and traveling with Febreeze.
Mattress: For many years I found hotel beds more comfortable than my own because I owned an $80.00 mattress and box spring set from Swope’s Sweepers and Sleepers (your one stop location for beds and vacuum cleaners). Mid-grade mattresses in hotels were an upgrade. Thankfully those days are gone. Right now I have a good Serta mattress and high thread count sheets that almost convince me I’m sleeping on a cloud every night. Hotel mattresses do not measure up to this standard, and that’s okay, I just hope to avoid the mattresses that remind me of gymnasium tumbling mats.
What I Think I Care About (But Probably Do Not)
Pool: In all my travels I can only definitively remember using a hotel pool once. I have already picked one hotel over another because of the pool and then never set foot in that pool. It’s sad, I know.
Fitness Room: Just like pools, fitness rooms are not places I tend to frequent in a hotel. In reality it is much more important to me if there are good running trails or sidewalks near the hotel, for I go running very often.
Why do hotels only offer bar soap? What do they do with all the leftover pieces? I travel with my own liquid soap, so I avoid hotel soap. One time I recall seeing a liquid soap dispenser at a sink. It seems to me like there should be more of them. And I really am curious what happens to all the leftover bars of soap. Are they recycled? Maybe I don’t want to know.
Most of the hotel freebie toiletries mean nothing to me. I wish they offered mouthwash. I have only used a shower cap once in my life, and it was for a non-conventional purpose. here’s the story: While traveling I bought a Sansevieria in a small container. The plant was growing in a mix that contained a lot of pumice, and every time I turned the pot would fall over and pieces of pumice would scatter on my car floor. This was frustrating. The frustration ended when I put a shower cap around the pot to hold the pumice in place. And that is the only time I have ever used a shower cap.