What you want in a hotel

Kolarbyn eco lodge in Sweden
Kolarbyn eco lodge in Sweden

Lately I’ve been asking people about what they want in a hotel.

The response is surprising.

It’s not better technology, bigger rooms or fancier service. People want basic stuff, done well.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Real milk. Australian travellers seem to hate UHT and coffee creamer.
2. Real coffee, not instant. Please give us real coffee, preferably not in a pod because they’re terrible for the environment.
3. A selection of teas beyond basic black tea. A tea pot would be good and a recyclable tea bag or compostable tea leaves would be better than anything synthetic or bleached.
4. Bathrooms with bathtubs that are separate to showers, plenty of bench space, and hooks to hang towels on.
5. Power points and light switches that are in easy-to-find, logical places.
6. No more plastic water bottles. Please provide filtered water in refillable water bottles.
7. Free, fast WiFi. As one person said, ‘How is this even a question any more?’.
8. A selection of pillows, a top sheet and a proper doona cover.
9. Thoughtful amenities like condoms, razors and good quality shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion, preferably in a refillable ceramic pump pack that stays in the room (this is contentious: some people hate refillable toiletries).
10. Air conditioning that is easy to use, windows that open, and access to a balcony or outdoor area.

It’s so straight forward. I receive endless press releases about keyless entry, upgraded entertainment systems and fancy mini-bar items when all that guests really want is a decent cup of tea or coffee, fresh air, the ability to control the temperature and lighting, a comfy place to bathe and sleep, and access to the internet.

I stayed at a hotel recently that had wonderful art throughout the hotel, lovely staff on reception and a great bar/restaurant. The problem? The shower leaked all over the floor and there was nowhere to put anything in the bathroom. Literally no bench top or hooks. You had to put your wash bag in the sink or cram it into the extremely narrow cupboard above.

These things seem obvious but I fear designers, architects and hoteliers get so carried away with being cool that they forget about basic functionality.

I am helping out at TEDx next week in a session about Hotels of the Future. I am pretty excited about what will come out of it but I am also wondering; will all this desire for luxury and technological advancement be replaced with a request for simplicity, ease, affordability and user-friendliness? I shall report back.

Which hotels do you love? And why?



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