10 things about hotels we love and hate


“Why can’t outlets be at eye level,” Seinfeld creator Larry David said in the movie, Clear History. “What, are they like genitals … we have to hide them; why are we hiding outlets?”  Many a late night has been spent on hand and knee moving bedheads, desks and pulling on lampwires to locate the elusive hotel powerpoint. So it’s a relief when a new or renovated hotel positions them in clear view (abundantly), and even better when there’s a universal adapter and USB outlet. AB


There is nothing worse than a gorgeous hotel room, immaculately designed, undone by bad lighting – by glaring overhead lights or misplaced lamps that one must turn on manually. This is why a hotel room with in-built lighting schemes is a revelation: You press a button, and the entire room reconfigures to “evening mode”. This is something that is appearing with increasingly regularity – at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, for example -– and it can only be encouraged. LR


Formerly “youth hostels” were solely the reserve of stinky backpackers who would compare bedbug bites like they were badges of honour. These days, however, the growing number of “flashpacker” hostels that blend unique design with a sociable atmosphere make hostel stays worth a go for any traveller keen to save money and make friends. BG


Forget five-star toiletries and obsequious service. Our Tiny House Hotel  in Portland, Oregon provided cute-if-confined accommodation that’s pure fun. Boring business trip? Try an Airstream trailer hotel on a rooftop in Melbourne or Cape Town. There are tree houses everywhere – and hotels carved out of ice in colder climes – or stay in a decommissioned Boeing 747 near Stockholm airport. Seek out the unusual and move your travel accommodation from uninspired to barely believable. DMG



The idea sounds so welcoming, so refreshing, so hospitable. But it’s usually something overly sweet, sticky and garishly garnished, and you don’t want to drink it but have nowhere to put it down without creating rings.  (And you American hotels can keep your warm chocolate chip cookie welcome, too. Clutching something soft and buttery in your hands while trying to pull a carry-on and open the door to your hotel room is not easy.) JD


You’ve just flown in from Australia, or spent the day out exploring; now you’re back in your hotel room and wouldn’t mind watching the news before bed. But there are four remote controls. There are devices here that could well send a rocket to Mars. And there are instructions written for an astro-physics major: guess I’ll read my book instead. Why can’t hotels keep it simple? One remote control, one TV … imagine? CT


It doesn’t happen at Best Western. Have you noticed how many times you’re interrupted when staying at a fancy hotel? Turn-down service, sir? Need your water replenished, sir? Need more towels, sir? Like an extra chocolate, sir? Fancy a chat, sir? In the bid for good service, hotels forget: our rooms are our havens on the road – the only home we’ve got. While we appreciate the diligence, in truth we’d just like to shower without worrying about someone barging in on us. CT


If the idea of lathering up using Trump’s signature soap, before donning his monogrammed gown and slippers isn’t already enough to put you off, consider the fact that this reviewer’s travel companion was ordered to wait two hours after check-in time before her room would be ready. And at cocktail hour, we were moved along after one round. Let’s just say that the service here is very Trumpesque. We gladly left the empty gift shop without taking a whiff of Success, Trump’s signature scent. AB


You know what? Just a plain old hot tap and a cold tap would be fine thanks. We don’t want to be wowed by your unique system of coaxing water from a shower head. We don’t want to try to operate something that an astrophysicist would struggle to decipher every time we stay at a new hotel. Just a hot tap, and a cold tap. BG


You’ve just arrived after a long-haul flight from Australia, as stuffed as a cushion itself,  and all you want to do is to leap into bed. But, wait, first you must not only dismantle the proliferation of all manner of superfluous decorative cushions in all  shapes and sizes – including the peskiest ones that resemble giant draught stoppers – atop the bed but also find a place in the room to put them as you sleep. AD

Contributors: Andrea Black, Anthony Dennis, Jill Dupleix, Terry Durack, Ben Groundwater, Belinda Jackson, Brian Johnston, Nina Karnikoswki, David McGonigal, Lance Richardson, Craig Tansley and David Whitley

5 / 5 stars