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Random things I hate in hotels...

HOTELS have been around for a while. From humble beginnings in spare rooms of private homes and coaching inns for pilgrims and other early day travellers, they evolved into today's modern, convenient and varied accommodation providers for travellers of all classes and on all budgets. Yet, despite centuries of development and, more recently, an explosion of hotel review and travel report sites, there are still things that a lot of hotels seem unable to get right and that generally annoy me when I check into a hotel regardless of its location or star rating.

Take double, triple, or quadruple wrapped soap bars, for example. The first thing I want to do after a long flight and checking into a hotel is to wash my hands. Turn on the tap, wet hands, struggle with a bar of soap that's wrapped, mummy-like, in plastic the thickness and resistance of elephant skin... Seriously, do you want me to wash my hands or not? It's a soap bar for crying out loud, not a piece of toxic waste you need to protect me from touching accidentally! While we're in the bathroom anyway, what about showers that require a master's degree in quantum engineering to operate them? We've invented vacuum cleaners that look like space ships and strawberry-flavoured Pop-Tarts, yet hotels continue to install showers with more knobs and handles than a Las Vegas slot machine! All I want is a quick shower without having to re-engineer the universe before going for dinner! Some hotels try to be helpful and put a little sticker with operating instructions next to the shower, but let's be honest -- if you think the showers in your establishment require instruction stickers, it may be time to refurbish your bathrooms!Please don't even get me started on bedside room control panels! Snugly tucked into your bed, you're supposed to be able to control all the vital functions in the room like air-conditioning, lights, etc. These units have become more elaborate and harder to use the more widespread they have become and, many times these days, have more buttons than an elevator in the Empire State Building. The buttons, in 90 per cent of cases, are not sufficiently labelled, so instead of switching off the room light, you end up putting on the do-not-disturb light or, worse, the make-up-my-room light, or you change the unit's display to show the time in Timbuktu and set the alarm to 9am Timbuktu local time.

It's high time we wrestle back some control from gadgets gone wrong like room control units -- give me a proper bedside table with an easy to understand alarm clock and, in the immediate vicinity, a couple of switches: One for the do-not-disturb light, one for the room lights, one for the bedside reading light and a dial for the air-conditioning. Label them properly and put them on both sides of the bed! Many's a time the wife has smugly grinned at me and flicked the master light switch off only for me to find that I had drawn the short straw and ended up on the side of the bed that doesn't have a room control unit, light switches or buttons! Do not give in to the urge to add a make-up-my-room light button next to my bed -- I'm lying in bed, why in the world would I want to press the make-up-my-room light button!? Having mentioned reading lamps: Such lamps are called 'reading lights' for a reason and are supposed to emit enough light to enable me to read a book while lying in bed. Nobody should expect a reading lamp to light up an entire room. One of the conundrums of present-day hotel rooms, in my opinion, is that the reading lights are too strong and the desk lights too weak. Maybe I should take to sleeping on the desk and working in bedC* Martin Kubler heads up Iconsulthotels.

Speaking out By Martin Kubler Copyright 2008

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Publication:Travel & Tourism News
Date:May 1, 2011
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