The Five Easy Things I Want In A Hotel Room

by joeheg

Hotels spend time and money to figure out what their guests want the most. To find this information, they send surveys asking how the stay was and for guests to rate everything from the front desk to the room cleanliness, and even the fitness room. Hotels also have their employees watch Google, TripAdvisor and Yelp! to spot bad reviews so they can try to resolve the problems (in public, so everyone can see they care).

I’m going to save the hotels a bunch of money in market research. In no specific order, here are the FIVE things I want from my hotel room.


I’ve made it clear that one of my biggest pet peeves with hotels is the situation with pillows. They either give you too many pillows so you just end up throwing them on the floor, or they just give you one pillow per person. I’ll travel with my pillow for longer trips (Sharon always brings hers) but If I’m only going for one or two nights, I’ll just use what they give me.

I give bonus points to Holiday Inn Express and some other hotels that give you a choice of soft or firm pillow (and label each one on the pillowcase).



It should be no surprise to hotels that people are traveling with more electronics than ever before. It’s very possible that you need to charge multiple phones, tablets, laptop computers, cameras, and maybe even plug in a nightlight. In the bathroom, we have two toothbrushes to charge in addition to a nightlight and a hairdryer the next morning. This is in addition to the items already in the room, like the lights, alarm clock, TV, mini-fridge and coffee maker.

With all this in mind, and knowing darn well that hotel executives have just as many electronics as everyone else when they travel, why have I been in hotel rooms that have only 1 or 2 accessible plugs? If you’re at the point where you need to start looking behind the nightstand and under the desk for whatever you can find, and figuring out what light or clock you can unplug to have an open outlet, you know something is not right.

Some hotels have lamps with have an outlet or USB plug(s) in the base. Other hotels have installed multiple outlet connectors with USB on the nightstands. Both of these are easy fixes hotels can do to update the room to modern requirements. So what’s up with those who haven’t???


I’ve noticed a trend where only one side of the bed gets a nightstand, table or shelf. The other side is either right against a wall with just enough room to walk or has a chair and ottoman. This is usually also the side of the bed I usually sleep on.

I like to have a bottle of water by the side of the bed and I also like to have my phone nearby to hear the alarm and to look at the time (now you see why I want the outlet near the bed as well).

The room with the “closet” next to the bed was the most challenging of them all. I couldn’t even leave something on the floor next to the bed (lest you didn’t know, I’ve also become quite skilled at balancing a water bottle on the arm of a chair).

two beds in a room

Here are two perfect examples of the bed against the wall. This is usually in a room with two beds that only has a single night table, so no matter which bed you use, someone isn’t getting a table. Really? REALLY?


Why is it that some hotel rooms are so dark? Even with all the lights turned on, the room is still not lit up at all. I used to blame this on hotels changing to energy-efficient light bulbs but that excuse doesn’t cut it anymore because the newer bulbs are as bright as the old ones. It’s just a matter of not having enough lights in the proper places.


The Hampton Inn Charlotte-Belmont, NC stands out as one of the darkest rooms we’ve had. The light behind the TV might have been of some use if it wasn’t BEHIND THE FLIPPIN’ TV!

Of course, if they had ceiling lights in hotel rooms, that would probably end the problem. But we know why they don’t.

The other issue I have with lighting is in the bathroom. Why can’t there be a light in the shower? I hate taking a shower in the dark and it’s not difficult to install a light fixture in there. Here are two classic examples of the unlit shower, or as I now call it “The Shower Cave”.


One of the only things I still have to bring with me for the last 15+ years is a chip clip. Its function is simply to close the gap between curtains that’s formed when the two sides don’t exactly fit together.

blackout curtains

How do they design this so the light from outside the room shines through the crack all night at the exact point where your head is? Or if not that, then it’s the sunrise that peeks through the gap to say “Good Morning” at 6 AM. Kill me now.


The problem has been solved by having one curtain for the window that pulls all the way across or the novel idea of having one curtain slide behind the other one by an inch or so, so they overlap. Geniuses came up with these solutions but some hotels still use the old technology and until they all learn, I’ll always have to bring a chip clip with me. (Others say they’ll use a clothes hanger from the closet for the same purpose)


I could have come up with more than five things but I wanted this to be a list of problems that hotels can easily correct. If you want me to enjoy a stay at your hotel, then just get the simple things right. Don’t have me walk across the room at night to grab a drink of water while having to remember not to step on my phone charging on the floor. Then don’t have me wake up at the buttcrack of dawn because the sun is streaming through the curtains, and take a shower in a lightless cave, but yet still need a flashlight to look for my clothes because the room is too dark, At this point, it’s not going to matter how large the TV screen is or what brand the toiletries are; don’t be surprised when I say on my survey that I didn’t have an extraordinary stay that surpassed my expectations.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


How Traveling Together Can Show You Were Meant For Each Other – Your Mileage May Vary October 20, 2017 - 2:01 pm

[…] give away things you want. You may have read that one of my biggest travel complaints is that hotel rooms with two beds usually only have one night st…. During this trip, we stayed at two hotels where I didn’t have any table, shelf or even a […]

JohnnyBoy July 14, 2019 - 7:09 pm

Love the chip clip idea. I am going to try it, since this is a pet peeve of mine as well.

However, number one for me is decent insulation/construction, so that I can not hear people in the rooms above, below and next to me, or the road outside. None of the other stuff matters much if the room is too noisy to sleep.

Christian July 14, 2019 - 8:09 pm

Great idea on the chip clip. I’d add a frosty a/c for number six.

potcake July 14, 2019 - 9:49 pm

A few more:

A real door on the bathroom. While we’re at it, no windows between room/bathroom.
A desk, or some form of reasonable workspace. Working on the bed just gets old.
Showerheads that are above your head.
Water pressure in the shower.
Tubs/showers that drain.
Thermostats that really work.

I could go on and on.

joeheg July 14, 2019 - 10:22 pm

Totally with you on the bathroom design. What about this mirror placement.

Jason July 14, 2019 - 10:32 pm

Hooks and towel bars! I get that hotels want me to reuse the towels, but please make it easy for me by giving me a place to put them to dry properly.

I also have to potcake on a shower that drains and doesn’t fill up with water backlogged by the past thousand guests’ hair and grease.

Ana July 23, 2022 - 12:59 pm

Yessss! Two of them please

Stephanie Woods July 14, 2019 - 10:47 pm

Air conditioning that really works. Not air conditioning that says it is 65 degrees but feels like 72 degrees. Water pressure in the shower, a shower head that’s high enough or adjustable or on a hose-not everyone is 5′ 3″, and HOT WATER! Doors that actually shut all the way-can’t believe I actually had to say that-but I’ve been to two hotels in the last month where they DID NOT shut all the way. A luggage rack in this day and age of rampant bed bugs.

P Gerr January 22, 2020 - 5:55 pm

No need for the chip clip. Use a hanger with clips from the closet.

JohnB July 23, 2022 - 5:16 pm

Bingo! We use the pants hangar!

Alice Carroll July 27, 2020 - 8:51 pm

I agree when you mentioned that nightstand are a must-have when thinking about a hotel stay. My husband and I bring a lot of devices like tablet and video cameras with us when we go on vacations so having an accessible area to put them while we are in bed would be quite convenient. Once travel restrictions become a lot less stricter, we will sure go on a vacation right away.

JohnB July 23, 2022 - 5:19 pm

You think hotel rooms are bad? Try cruise ship cabins! Just came off the MSC Virtuosa which had no plugs near the night stands. We had researched the plug situation before sailing. We had to bring extension cords and magnetic hooks so my P2 could use his CPAP machine. Oh, and NEVER, EVER sail with MSC, they absolutely suck as a company!

Adam July 23, 2022 - 7:46 pm

For me….a fan that makes noise in the bathroom.
Give people some privacy.

Beachmouse August 10, 2023 - 2:47 pm

Simplified plumbing fixtures that don’t require an engineering degree to figure out how to turn on the shower. Newer builds have actually improved in that regard, but there are a lot of older properties that still have that issue.

Robert August 10, 2023 - 5:43 pm

Lighted light switches. At least one by the entry door. If you arrive late and the light switch is not where you expect it to be, it can be a trial to find a light in a dark room. Also, in the middle of the night, trying to find the bathroom light switch.


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