Give me three wishes and I will tell you what I would change about hotel rooms.
Hotel rooms are snug. A commonly cited figure is 325 sq ft but I have seen much smaller in Manhattan (and usually much bigger in Las Vegas). But assume 325 sq ft, with a lot of the space consumed by the bathroom. The living space is small. Let’s declutter it.
Step one: eliminate the minibar and, definitely, eliminate the junk for sale that now sits atop tables and dressers in hotel rooms. I know greedy owners want the profits that come with selling me a 99 cent candy bar for $10 – but I am not buying.
I cannot recall the last time I bought anything from a minibar. I am thinking it had to be more than 25 years ago, when I had clients that happily picked up all manner of expenses. That stopped in a recession some time ago and so did my buying overpriced minibar stuff.
Of course if the hotelier insists – I have no idea why but if – I am okay with the Virgin Chicago hotel’s no minibar markup plan, where candy bars and Cokes are sold at High Street prices.
Another option: Kimpton’s $10 credit to “Raid the Minibar,” a perk extended to loyalty program members.
Ask hoteliers why minibar prices are so high and they spout mouthfuls of mumbo jumbo – citing fees by outside vendors, theft, other less explicable shrinkage – but I am not buying. The prices are high because they generate high profits. Period.
But that also generates guest outrage and – listen up – annoying guests is no way to build repeat business. Just stop it.
And, oh, by the way, a shop – possibly unstaffed – in the lobby by the front desk works fine for me, if the prices are High Street.
Wish two: remove the infernal hotel phone in the room. Who answers the thing? I don’t. Anybody with whom I possibly want to speak knows my cellphone number and I always travel with one, usually two. The only calls that come in via the room phone are sales calls I do not want to deal with so I do not answer.
Other than at hotels with no cellular service I cannot see any reason to acknowledge the existence of inroom phones. And, oh by the way, for cellphone customers on T-Mobile and Sprint, most newer phones can be toggled to work over WiFi at hotels with no cellular reception. That means the regular number rings, voicemail works, and it’s an adequate substitute for real cellular. But that’s assuming the WiFi is robust, an assumption that is dangerous to make at many hotels.
Either way, just rip out the inroom phone. That works for me.
Wish three: discard the inroom TVs. I always travel with an iPad and it is my TV. I have neither need nor want to play with the hotel’s remote, then attempting to figure out what paltry list of stations are available and, incidentally, I have never – as in never – bought a premium TV service from a hotel so you are not getting that money from me.
It was not bad when TVs were stuffed in armoires – they were easily ignored – but now they hang into the room and, frankly, I just do not want the thing. Please give mine to the Salvation Army.
Except maybe at that Virgin in Chicago because its televisions let guests stream their Netflix account – which I otherwise would do on my iPad but a bigger screen just might be inviting.
I really have to try that Virgin.
But at other hotels, please, practice decluttering tight rooms. Your reward will be happier guests.