As I travel a lot because of my job I often stay in hotels overnight.
“Great” I can hear you saying. “Everything done for you; a maid to clean your room each day. Bar and restaurant at your disposal. Fantastic; can I do that?”
Well you’re not wrong when you say those things but there are drawbacks too. Most hotels, and I stay in quite a few well-known chains, really lack the basic ‘home comforts’ that we all take for granted.
Let’s think about that. OK we have a bar usually, just down a few flights of stairs to take you down to it and a lift (Should you need it) to take you back. Brilliant, you say, but hotel bars are often filled with large groups of men and women who probably don’t get to go away very often and, sadly I’m afraid, behave like they have just been let off the leash. So the quiet drink you were envisaging might not be as quiet as you planned. Then there’s the cost. Some, but not all I might add, charge more for a single glass of wine than most supermarkets charge for quite a decent bottle. Why is this, you ask? Well its all to do with having a captive audience who sometimes will ‘call in for a nightcap’ on their way from the reasonably priced pub down the road and charge the cost to their bill. It’s easier than fiddling about with money at that time of night and when there’s a queue to check-out next morning it’s too embarrassing to ask why it had cost you more to have a drink than stay there.
Well maybe, but you do have a restaurant where you can get food and you don’t have to clear away or wash up. Again, true but there are so many degrees of what a kitchen delivers ranging from fantastic to totally inedible. So you don’t really know what you’re getting until you get it! Get it? If you’re at home and you spoil the meal then you can eat something else but if your out and the food is rubbish, would you really order something else from the menu? Complaining often means they will give you another load of inedible food, or mess with the plate-full you have just sent back. You may not have to pay but you’ll rarely leave the table satisfied.
A yes, I hear you say but you get a nice room where you can sit in private and eat if you want. I agree, room service can be a bonus for the weary traveler, who doesn’t want to mix with other weary travelers, but hotels have a nice habit of adding a tray charge to bring it to your room. So not only are you paying extortionate prices for the hotel stay, drink and food, they charge extra for something which should be part of the service!
So while we’re on the subject of rooms, there is rarely a comfortable chair to sit and watch whatever TV channels they decide you can watch. Some of the larger hotel chains still only have 5 channels but they add another three sports channels as a bonus, which is great for those who want to sit on the bed and watch sport all night. Hotels please note: Not everyone wants that ! Free-view is available everywhere in the UK and the bonus to the hotel is, It’s FREE. Sitting on a bed for several hours, reading or watching TV does nothing for the back muscles I can tell you. If it’s hot then some provide individual air-conditioning instead of allowing you to open a window. That’s fine but fresh air is much better than breathing your own recycled germs and being unable to sleep because of the noise of machinery. They seal windows to stop people jumping out and hurting themselves; may be if they provided some ‘home comforts’ people wouldn’t want to.
Don’t get me started on rooms near the lift.