Hotels mean never having to make the bed and pizza that's a phone call away, but there are plenty of downsides too. Here's the top five things hotels across the globe should fix to make business travel a more pleasant experience.
A good chunk of my life gets spent in hotels, and quite frequently that experience gets translated into poorly shot YouTube videos like the one blow . Over the years, however, I've come to identify some common problems that afflict hotels of all stripes, from five-star luxury outfits to cheap and cheerful airport options. Here's the five things I'd really like to get fixed to make business trips more pleasant and productive (chosen from a much longer list of minor annoyances).
5. Sink plugs: missing and/or useless
When you enter the bathroom in an unfamiliar hotel, there are two frequent scenarios that you face. Firstly, the previous guest may have stolen the plug from the basin. Alternatively, the plug may be one of those stupid built-in ones operated by a lever, which seem primarily designed to allow water to leak out rather than to keep it in. Either way, there's not much chance of being able to have a decent shave. My longstanding emergency solution is to travel with a mug I can use for this purpose (and then rinse for drinking coffee), but how hard is it to offer the old-fashioned option of a proper sink plug on a chain?
4. No information in the room
Any well-organised hotel should have a folder (or an A4 sheet, or a wall poster) in the room telling you what time checkout is, what services are available, how to access the in-room Internet and so on. A surprising number don't. Sure, I could ring reception, but why not save me (and the frazzled staff) the trouble?
3. No lights on the ceiling
If there's a Hotel Rooms 101 design manual, the first instruction must be: "Ceiling lights are evil. You can only use lamps." This is a poor decision on several levels, starting with the simple fact that you can't see anything in the room. I'm here to work, not to seduce someone. Yes, a desk lamp is a nice addition, but it works much better if there's also some overhead lighting. It's also an environmental mess: one overhead bulb would be better than six distributed around the room. And having just one light (and one for the bathroom) would save a lot of confusion over switches.
2. No alarm clock visible at night from the bed
Most hotels have an alarm clock. However, many have it built into the TV, and many others have low-lit options that you can't see without switching on the room light. I like to be able to see at a glance what the time is, especially when jet lag means my body clock can't be trusted. (No wonder my BlackBerry always ends up serving double duty as a backup alarm.)
1. Not enough power outlets
It's a not uncommon dilemma: having to unplug the TV, or the only lamp near the desk, simply so you can plug in your PC and get charging. I always travel with a power board, so I really only need one, but finding even one can be tricky sometimes. Other common power niggles: points that are so close to the wall or floor you can 't fit in a bulkier adaptor, or rooms which switch off all the power whenever you leave, making it impossible to charge up your PC.
OK, enough whining from me. That's my take — what would you like to see hotels get right more often? Tell all in the comments.
Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman can live without a fridge in his room, but finds it tough going without a kettle. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.