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The James-5

Book any major hotel online and you’re bound to receive a guest survey post-visit. While these can be helpful (when actually read), it got us thinking about what we do and don’t like in a hotel room.

Recalling some of our past US travels (staying in five properties in one month alone), we were faced with several surveys to fill out.

Most of the questions dealt with service, cleanliness, and prompt attention to any problems incurred. I think there’s so much more that hotels can look for in a hotel room’s overall design.

Summit Lodge one bedroom suite

Let’s begin with the electronics around the room. Countless times we’ve taken a piece of paper or hotel signage to cover glaring red power dots on the TV, current time on the microwave, and dimmed (or simply turned) clocks.

A mini fridge is great to have in a room, but let’s face it: no one wants to hear the humming sound. Can in-room hotel phones be muted or set to low volume?

Green-minded hotels often include a countertop sign asking guests to reuse towels if possible. However, do some of these hotels even bother to include enough towel racks to make that a reality?

How about hotels with pools? Is there bathroom space to hang a bathing suit to dry after a dip?

Sheraton Kona-1

While this could be seen as a laundry list of complaints, newer hotels actually pay attention to some or all of these concerns by including iPhone docking systems with built-in dimmers, long towel racks with plenty of space, a TV that sits inside a closed cabinet hidden from view, and microwaves put in another area of the room where you won’t encounter the insomniac special.

Loews Ventana Canyon-2

Our fave hotel chains include Loews and Kimpton, two standouts that really pay attention when designing a hotel room.

Our room at the Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson, Arizona had twin long towel bars, perfect for getting more use out of the towels, as well as a smaller rack right below the sink that held three hand towels. Smart design that goes a long way in keeping the hotel’s green responsibility in check.

Cannery Pier Hotel, Astoria

We’ve also noticed a recent trend of mini fridges starting to get their own closet, further dimming the occasional sound made to keep them properly cooled.

Hoteliers: lay on the bed in the room and look around. What would potentially disturb you from having a fitful sleep is something we travellers also see.

What are your favourite hotel design features? Flaws?

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