My top 5 particular pet peeves about hotels, in no particular order

We all want our hotel rooms to be clean, quiet, and comfortable.  We want service to be prompt and friendly.  We want to get more for less (give us free internet, free food, and free water!).  And, when any of these wants are not met, we get irritated.  That’s normal.  I’ve noticed, though, that there are some very particular things about hotels that annoy me time and again.  I’ve weeded out the usual complaints and narrowed down the list to my top 5 particular hotel pet peeves (in no particular order):

Abrasive toilet paper

OK, come on.  You’re paying $289 per night for a room and they can’t spring for a roll or two of Charmin Ultra Soft?  Did the sandpaper manufacturers give them a particularly good deal?  

Towel hair

You know what its like.  You turn off the shower, reach for a towel and dry your face.  When you pull the towel away, you find a great big hair stuck to your face, and its clearly not yours (The hair, I mean. The face is most likely yours).  Yuck.

Forgetful internet

Crappy internet is pretty much a given at most hotels, so I won’t complain about that.  What irks me are the internet connections where you have to enter your name and room number not just once a day, but almost every time you open your browser.  If only computers had a way of storing information…

4 a.m. clock alarm set by previous guest

Its hard enough to get a good night sleep when traveling without this happening.  Every now and then, the guest who stayed before you had to get up early, really early, to catch a flight home.  And, the alarm is conveniently set to go off every day at 4 am.  You wish you had checked the alarm before going to bed…

In-room anti-sleep heater (or a/c)

You’re sound asleep in your hotel bed.  While you sleep, the temperature in your room slowly drops until it passes a threshold noticed by the in-room heater.  You are startled awake when the heater turns itself on with a loud click and a roar.  Over the next few minutes, the roar continues on and becomes a soothing white noise which lulls you back to sleep. Finally, the room’s temperature satisfies the heater, which stops abruptly with a loud click.  The click and the sudden silence startle you awake again.  If you’re lucky, you eventually drift off again.  But then the mercury drops lower…

Reader peeves

So, there you go.  Above are my top 5 particular hotel peeves.  I’m betting that everyone reading this has their own favorite peeves.  Please comment below!

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Comments

  1. For me it is: “we have upgraded you to a King Deluxe room” when you had already booked a King Deluxe room and the upgrade is no upgrade. Or, we moved you to a corner room. OK so? A corner room club level nice yes but otherwise who cares!

  2. Clock radios where how to set the thing was designed by Rube Goldberg. Seriously, sometimes i just can’t figure it out.

  3. For me it’s :
    Short showers. I’m 6’2″ so I’m not short but yet not a giant and I find many hotel showers too short. It’s like they hired a 4 foot tall team of plumbers (lollipop guild?)
    That HBO is the only “movie” channel. Do they even show movies anymore?
    Not serving breakfast until 6:30 or 7am. I know if I’m at the Waldorf I might not need to eat breakfast earlier but when I’m staying at the HIX on I-80 next to the truck stop I might need to get on the road by then.
    Fitness centers that aren’t open 24 hours. Why not. Do they really care if I work out at 4am?
    Showers that don’t drain well. Not really into the whole ankle bath. Also this only seems to happen in the gross showers with the towel hair.
    I”ll stop now so others can chime in. I agree with all your points and then some. It doesn’t seem that complicated to fix most of these issues.

  4. For me it is lazy or unknowing hardware installation. Particularly when the end pieces of a curved shower rod have the bump and set screw facing down because it was easier to install that way when in fact it was designed to be on top to give you something to hook the last loop over to keep the curtain closed.

  5. The lack of a hand towel holder. Maybe I want to use the same towel more than once.
    Speaking of towel hair… shower hair. On the wall of the shower.
    Hotel doors that slam impressively loudly. I understand the need to ensure the shut for security reasons and that guests should not let them slam but come on… There is no fix for that?
    And speaking of doors… Doors that don’t shut correctly because at $200+/night they can’t figure out how to get the door to hang straight in the frame.

  6. I’ve got to agree whole heartedly on the in-room anti-sleep heater, but I would modify it to say that it’s the in-room anti-sleep air conditioning that bothers me even more. I can deal with a much larger range of cold temps than hot. My husband and I have been on the brink of divorce a few times (ok, on the brink of him renting another room) over the fact that he would rather sweat than be woken by the AC. I on the other hand would rather be woken in order to be kept cool. None of these is ideal. It’s my absolute number 1 hotel annoyance.
    The next has got to be the couple in the next room having “relations” very loudly. Yuck.
    @TTF – I had no idea about that bump and set screw thing. Now I am going to have to confirm correct installation in my next hotel room.

  7. Weak or bad coffee
    Noises in the ac/heat
    Hair in bathroom or anywhere in room
    For elite members, no free water
    Refrigerator that is available to room occupant, not just for buying
    overpriced drinks and snacks
    Smoking by the swimming pools when children are primary users–this is
    actually criminal.

  8. To combat the heater and A/C noise issue you should try setting the thermostat to keep the fan to ‘ON’ instead of ‘AUTO’. That way the fan is always running and its only the click and the pump that cycles on and off and even that is much less noticeable when the fan is already on.

  9. Abrasive toilet paper
    Common are you the Charmin Bear? Apart from some rural eastern European hotels (or trains) TP is fine

    Towel hair
    Never have had this and if I did I would be walking to the FD for a chat.

    Forgetful internet
    I have long ago dumped in room internet for MiFi. So never have to worry about this one

    4 a.m. clock alarm set by previous guest
    I always glace at the alarm just to avoid this, its worth taking a minute when you walk in the room vs. an hours ruined sleep

    In-room anti-sleep heater (or a/c)
    Very annoying but fixable. Set the Fan to low and the unit will stay on. The heat/ac will still cycle on and off but the constant fan will provide the white noise

    My only pet peeve for hotels are adjoining rooms. These tend to have paper-thin sound proofing and it never fails that the room I am adjoined with has a room full of conventioneers.

  10. I also don’t like the water softener turned up so high you can’t wash the soap off you, out of your hair, out of the towels, etc.

  11. For me it is when the key card won’t open the door consistently………think Las Vegas, long way to the lobby.

  12. Very amusing post, but I’m pretty sure you just shot my productivity for the day because I will be thinking about this/coming back to the site all day! Some of mine:
    – doors slamming, but I always assume that’s the guests’ fault. If you’re checking out early in the morning/returning late at night, how can you not think “hmm, I shouldn’t slam the door?” Especially when people are staying several days and should realize that the doors are especially loud.
    – Along with having to re-enter the Internet info, only being able to use one device per free log-on at a time. What kind of weirdo needs their laptop and phone logged on, plus spouse’s phone and iPad? Me. Results in complicated negotiations: “I’ll download my emails and write responses, when you’re done downloading they’ll go out, I’ll pause my movie so you can look up driving directions.”
    – Hotel gyms without free water. If I can remember to pack workout clothes and shoes, then force myself to get to the gym, the least you can do is get a water cooler and some cups.
    – unstaffed check in desks. This just happened in Miami at an airport hotel: arrived on a flight getting in at 11:45 pm. Waited and waited for the shuttle, which arrived after 2 calls to the hotel by us and 2 others by another couple on the shuttle. We arrive at the hotel at 12:40 am. The door to the hotel is locked and no one answers while we repeatedly ring the buzzer. Finally a guest with a key returns to the hotel and lets us in. Still no one at the desk. I had been calling the desk with my cell in case the desk person had a phone with her, and that didn’t work. We did not get checked in and to our room until almost 1:10 am.
    – Smelly people at breakfast. I understand not everyone can shower before breakfast. Maybe you’re in a big group and waiting for your turn at the shower, maybe you just need something in your stomach before you can shower. But when I can smell you while we wait for the waffle maker, you need to use one of those hair-covered, slow draining, never-gonna-get-that-soap-off, things in the bathroom with the incorrectly installed curtain rod.
    I feel better now.

  13. Hotels that cost $289.

    BTW, since the Boarding Area migration, I’m finding that I have to enter my name and email every time I comment on a blog. Previously, this was remember by my browser from session to session.

  14. @Amy – along the line of smelly people at breakfast is people who show up barefoot to breakfast – usually only where breakfast is self serve in an “area” rather than a restaurant.

  15. This is not a hotel peeve per se, but tripadvisor doesn’t seem to be very reliable anymore on what is a good hotel and not. I use to use it quite a bit for deciding the best hotel to go to and now I’ve had multiple experiences where the reviews don’t match the actual experience. Recommendations for other review sites?

  16. Sheets that do not fit a bed. Recently stayed at a hotel where the bottom sheet was stretched so much that it only came over the mattress by one inch. Obviously it came loose during the night as I rolled over. I also hate sheets that have holes in them, no matter what the size of the hole is.

  17. Good post. I’d add poorly managed checkin and unstaffed elite lines. Took me 45 minutes of waiting in line to check in to a W yesterday as a Platinum. At $350+ a night, that’s enough to ensure I never return.

    And agree with Deltapoints’ comment – we’ve upgraded you to the room you booked is totally unacceptable.

  18. As I usually spend about 80 nights a year in hotels, I’ve got plenty of pet peeves.

    You hit on most of the common ones. Air conditioning/heating systems are probably #1. Why hotels don’t have simple thermostat controls is beyond me. I just want to set a comfortable temp and forget about it. I don’t want to figure out what high/low means for that system, or read lots of instructions on how to set the temperature.

    Another egregious violation of the KISS principle is, as mentioned, alarm clocks. After the 3rd or 4th unexpected wake up call, I learned to ALWAYS check the alarm clock. If it looks “complicated,” and I’m not sure if an alarm is set, I just unplug it. I travel with a small, simple portable alarm clock so I don’t have to try to figure out the hotel’s. Why hotels don’t buy idiot-proof simple alarm clocks amazes me.

    My final pet peeve is the “free breakfast” that so many American motels offer. It’s usually pretty unimaginative and low quality — something you eat because it’s free, not because it’s any good. A culinary upgrade of these breakfasts would be much appreciated.

  19. Pushy bellhops! Why can’t they just ask if assistance is required and take “no” for an answer? I’m pretty sure that if I can get my carry on backpack from the city bus to the airport check in, to the overhead compartment and to whatever transport we took to the hotel that I am capable of getting it from the check in desk to my room!

  20. I really hate alarm clocks that are preset at some ungodly hour that I do not want to wake up. I seem to have run across recently the trend of the coffee pot not being plugged in, so I have to crawl under somewhere and plug it in. Speaking of which, not enough electrical plugs as well. And if there is a shower only situation, not being able to turn on the shower and test the water without being in the shower to do so (Four Points Vancouver Airport- I am talking to you on this one).

  21. Well, it’s not the hotel’s fault, but …

    Hall-talkers. (especially after the bar closed..)

    And their hall-runner progeny.

    Both of which are typically door-slammers.

  22. I agree 100% about the toilet paper pet peeve. I always (unless I forget) bring a roll with me on vacation.

    I’m at a hotel that asks you to log into the Internet every time you use a device but the speed is really good when it works. Got 800+ Kbps speeds which is great.

    What about expensive parking? The Vancouver Hyatt has parking for $40 a day, I’ve seen higher rates in Hawaii though. Crazy expensive I think.

  23. BYOTP, that’s my motto. Not only is the TP abrasive, but it is THIN, microthin in fact. FYI, try Cottonelle Ultra. 😉

  24. All the bogus ( nickel and dime) charges on the bill at check out when you are in a hurry and don’t want to dispute them all.

  25. Showers that don’t drain and shower heads coated in lime so water just trickles out. I now carry a small paper clip and poke the holes.

  26. Adjoining rooms and their seemingly paper thin walls. I don’t want an adjoining room, please don’t put me in one.

    No convenient outlets next to the nightstand.

    Being upgraded to a Westin Workout room.

  27. My list of pet peeves grows with every hotel stay.
    1. Key quits working. I stayed at one hotel and my key needed to be reloaded every time I left.
    2. Pools and fitness center not open 24 hours (they don’t have a lifeguard).
    3. Pet Friendly hotels that don’t have separate pet friendly rooms. Pet Friendly is great for people with pets, but why not limit those to specific floors. I shouldn’t have to sit or sleep where a dog had been the night before.
    4. I love the room upgrades when they mean something. I got upgraded to concierge level. It was a floor requiring my room key to access the floor from the elevator. Normally this floor had a lounge, but it was not open on weekends. The “upgrade” provided no benefit to me.
    5. Reviews – while not specific to each hotel review sites and rankings have become less useful. I booked through priceline and was “upgraded” to a 3.5 star which was far inferior to 3 star hotels I had stayed in the past.

  28. 1) Unstaffed elite lines.
    2) Remote controls. Why do they never seem to work or, if they do, I have to use all my body weight to press down on the numbers to get them to take effect.
    3) TV channel lists on the TV. Seriously, it’s a pain to keep hitting the menu key and trying to memorize the channels that I like. A paper copy works just fine.

  29. I always turn the fan for the heater/AC from auto to hi. It creates white noise which is continuous, and if the heat or AC cycle, the fan is already running.

  30. 1) Gyms that have equipment that has never been maintained, barely works or is from 1920.

    2) No listing of tv channels

    3) Elevators that take forever. I should not have to wait more than 2 minutes for an elevator.

    4) Hotel staff walking by trays and items left in the hallway, without taking them or throwing the garbage away.

    5) Hotel gyms that are not 24 hours

    6) Lack of electrical outlets near bed to plug in cell phone

  31. Complicated shower controls. Luckily, this doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s so frustrating. Usually when I’m outside the U.S. You just want to wash and get clean, but you’re not sure whether to pull, push, turn or twist something to get the water going. If you choose wrong, you’re suddenly hit with a blast of cold water or whatever and frantically trying to shut it off.

    On a related note, showers with weak water pressure. That always triggers a request for a room change. I can be forgiving about a lot of things, but that’s where I draw the line.

    Ben at One Mile At A Time had two posts about his hotel habits that are funny reads:

    “Seven Hotel Habits of Mine”

    “Three (Strange) Hotel Habits of Mine”

    There was also an article in Slate titled, “The Mystery of the Missing Hotel Toothpaste.” I never really noticed this, since I always pack my own toothpaste.

  32. When hotels use the theft deterrent hangars but the hooks on the back of the bathroom door are for regular hangars. Good luck hanging clothes anywhere but the closet, where suits apparently will just un-wrinkle themselves magically.

  33. you hit 4 of my top five–starting with the TP – I actually carry little travel-size rolls of Charmin Ultrasoft with me! My next big peeve is the constantly blimking lights on the newly installed smoke detectors in some Hampton Innn rooms …so, now, alomg with my own TP I carry a sleep mask!

  34. My wake up call was at midnight. I never got back to sleep and complained about it to front desk next am when they asked how it was. Got points for complaining. I think housekeeping ought to see that this doesn’t happen. It never even occurred to me that it was my responsibility.

  35. 1. Resort Fees. These are a fraud and a ripoff. Very common in Vegas these days and other places. Since these are forced payments I feel they should be forced to just add that to the room night quoted. They tell you you get FREE local calls. Free Local calls that is exciting in 1980, not 2013. Everyone has a cell phone. Oh but you get free internet. Big deal. Usually the internet stinks but more important is many people have smart phones and have minimal need for internet. I do use it but in that 25.00 daily fee this is no deal. FREE NEWSPAPER- Are you kidding? MGM says Free use of gym. Oh sir not the main spa gym- we have a crappy room in the basement for you. You threw a few treadmills in there and we call that a gym. All a big scam. Steve Wynn states his customers demanded report fees. Is he kidding? In fact the old pay for 24 hours internet was a lot less than these fees anyway.

    2. Hotel programs telling you the great perks you get for being Diamond, Gold, Plat etc and then you have to tell the front desk the amentities you are supposed to get. They usually don’t know, or care. So much for “status”

    3.No refrigerator in the room, or it is filled with mini bar items. In a high end room I would like a space for a few drinks.

    4. Towels like sandpaper, motel 6 towels, towels from that old Holiday Inn from 1975. Bleached beyond belief. Those are so stiff they will crack under use. I am talking here about premium rooms usually 200-300+ a night, some as high as $500 a night. How about some decent towels.

    5. Front desk cant give you a working key. You get to your room and thing doesn’t work. Or better yet how many times did you get checked into a room that is occupied? Happens to me. Even BETTER! last year the milepoint convention-somebody is entering the room I ust checked into. With a working key. I call front desk. They have little concern.

    6. Parking fees (non city hotels)Parking at city hotels is nuts, but outside a mid city location charging parking fees is a RIPOFF.

    7.TVS that barely work or have a crappy picture. Room service trays that are left in the halls for many hours or even a full day.

    8. Reps at the front desk (you are exhausted) They are punching like 100 keys into a computer. Hundreds of keys. Is it that complicated?

  36. @Brent I forgot a few you mentioned. The electrical outlets are amazing. Even in new hotels. They have a million of their plugs in most outlets or hide them behind furniture. I bring my own adapter to handle a few plugs and it extends a few feet. Good for laptops, cell phones etc.

    @Charlie- Thanks for the tip on the ac/heat units. That definitely makes sense. So when it is quiet you don’t get the startup noise.

    Also hotels that try to be funny and give minimal soap and towels. Or minimal refills on an expensive room.

  37. Housekeeping knocking on the door at 8:00 am to clean your room! You should be able to dictate housekeeping time–something on the reservation.

  38. Even worse than Ollie’s 8am room cleaning is when they knock on the door that early and wake up infants despite the do not disturb being on the door. Talking to you Sheraton Detroit Novi.

  39. You missed a big “green” trend that has started in the last 10 years. Hotels in tropical or other high heat areas who think it is OK to give the central air conditioning units a little break at night. Result – you went to bed under your duvet and then wake up at 3AM sweating. Not cool! And usually it takes a few trips to the front desk to find someone smart enough that can disable this “feature” on your room. If I paid $300/night at a 5-star hotel and I want it as cold as a meat locker, please deliver.

  40. In no order

    1. Missing hair drier (noticed after shower)
    2. 2-3 towels when you have made the reservation for 4 in 2 double beds
    3. Kleenex with only 1 left
    4. Repeat- connecting doors, can hear everything
    5. Repeat- bad tv picture
    6. HD TV – why do they buy hd tvs but not pay for hd programming?
    7. Missing Do Mot Disturb sign in the room

  41. I have a Sound Machine that I keep in my luggage at all times. It has a “White Noise” setting that can block out hotel air conditioner noise, slamming hotel doors and hallway noise. I can sleep through it all as long as I have my Sound Machine on.

  42. No mention of the curtain you cant completely close in the room that gets direct morning sun? Usually the same one with some terrible pulley chain that’s tangled up..

  43. Lack of A/V inputs on the TV. I loathe that I’m not allowed to bring my own entertainment in some cases. At a minimum, there should be a working HDMI port that I can plug my phone into for movies…

  44. Can’t have bathroom light on without also having fan on (until I pull the grill off and unplug the fan:-))

    TV remote works on both TV’s at Residence Inn with 2 TV’s. I am watching one TV, turn it off and it accidentally turns the other TV on.

    High Def TV but only Standard Def analog programming

    Desk with non adjustable chair that is not on wheels

    Hotels that advertise free local shuttle within X miles of hotel but the shuttle driver is unavailable when I want the ride and the hotel refuses to take a shuttle reservation for the next morning in advance.

    I bring my own extension cord so the lack of outlets is no longer an issue.

  45. Oh, I also LOATHE bathrooms that don’t have fans in them. What happens when you’re sharing the hotel room with someone else and they take a dump? It takes FOREVER for it to be useable again. Argh. Also hate places that don’t give you an iron.

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