We love hotels, but … here are our worst hotel gripes

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I should start by saying I am a huge fan of hotels. If ‘foodie’ is the term given to food enthusiasts then that would make me a ‘hotelie’.

I have stayed in a lot of hotels in my time, both as part of my job as a travel writer and as a result of my general wanderlust. It is worth mentioning these have been far from only five star hotels also. While I have indeed been lucky enough to grace the beds of some of the best hotels in the world, such as the Mandarin Oriental in not one, but three cities, and the Westbury in London, there have been plenty of small and boutique hotels, some mid-range 2–3 star places and even a few hostels – although I draw the line at shared dorms!

There are so many things I love about hotels. The (hopefully) pristine white linen and fluffy doonas – that must be what sleeping on a cloud feels like – bonus points for a pillow menu of course. The sparkling bathrooms and luxurious bathrobes, so much the better if the floors and towel racks are heated too. The ability to enjoy food and wine while watching a movie or a tv show in bed without having to feel the slightest pang of guilt. And that’s all before you’ve set foot outside your room.

Then there’s the buffet at breakfast if you’re lucky, the pool to lounge by, the convenience of a gym in the same building and of course the bar because it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world.

All these luxuries aside, there are a few qualms I have consistently with hotels across the board. Strangely, they all seem to occur in the bathroom.

For starters, do hotel designers deliberately try to make showers as difficult to use as possible? I like to think I am a fully-functioning, capable and sometimes bright human being, yet when it comes to turning on a shower in a hotel I seem to struggle more than any adult should. And, if I do manage to turn said shower on, getting the temperature right is a whole other matter.

wet floor

Secondly, once you have the shower on and are not burning or freezing, you then have the issue of trying not to flood the entire bathroom; another design flaw that I am sure architects came up with as some sort of revenge on guests. I can literally count on one hand the amount of times I’ve managed to wash myself without also cleaning the entire bathroom.

And finally, while we’re in the bathroom… the magnifying mirrors. Is that some sick joke? Why would anyone need to look at their pores so closely they can see the micro-organisms that are actually living in their blackheads? Those mirrors are the only things standing between me and a good night’s sleep in that cloud-like bed…

What do you want to say to hotels around the world? Tell us in your comments below.

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Written by SJ


Total Comments: 33
  1. 0

    I too have experienced the shower problems. I always draw the problem to the attention of the staff at reception. They almost always thank me profusely, saying nobody ever tells them about the problems on the spot. They just wait till they get home and write a bad online review.

    So people, please report faults while you’re there. The staff don’t test every shower every day. If they don’t know about the problems, they can’t fix them.

    • 0

      Barak: The problem, I think, lies with the Hotel Management these days, as not many Hotels have a single slip asking for comments, reporting things that need repairs or attention, or consumables that were not available. Things like condition of room, entertainment appliances, fixtures & fittings, cleanliness etc, etc. These slips should be easy to fill in, & should be left on checking out.

    • 0

      Barak – I am very cynical when I tell hotel management/reception about a fault and they say no-one has mentioned it previously, or they’ll look into it. Many people here have mentioned the shower design problem. That’s not something that can be fixed over night, like supplying an extra towel. Having worked in a hospitality area, one reason for the new design ”no shower screens’ is because glass screens meant extra time cleaning for house keepers, which led to increased rsi, and increased workcover claims.
      You can report a fault – but there is nothing to stop the staff from telling the next guest, and the next one, and the next one – ‘you’re the first person to mention this to us’. So I doubt things will change.

  2. 0

    I don’t like the modern showers that have no shower screen doors, so when you have a shower, a lot of the water inevitably wets the bathroom floor. You then have to use a towel (which are always in short supply) to wipe all the water up every time you have a shower.

  3. 0

    My biggest hotel gripe is lack of space for two suitcases. Most rooms are for two people but suitcase space is almost invariably for one. my suggestion: remove useless decor items and install a sturdy bench that can accommodate two large suitcases At the very least have two of the flimsy suitcase stands, not one.

    • 0

      Ever been to Tokyo. We stayed in 2 different hotels whilst there. One was ok with space. The other had room for the bed (up against one wall) and barely walking room along the other side. Suitcases needed to be lifted to waist height to get them into the room and onto the stand made for them. No room to actually turn a suitcase around and forget about ‘swinging a cat’. In this joint you couldn’t have swung a mouse.

    • 0

      For Mick: I stayed for a night in a superb hotel in Tokyo but also stayed for several days in the Dormy Inn Express at Asakusa – barely any wiggle room but had a little balcony looking over the river to the Tokyo Tree and had noodle suppers at 9:00pm for free – we loved it.

  4. 0

    My biggest gripe in hotels is when you are charged for wifi – plus that horrible long life milk that some of them expect you to put in your tea. Why can’t they leave some fresh milk in the fridge? Instant coffee is another one.

  5. 0

    When you see a large sign saying free wifi , and when you dine in their restaurant they tell you it’s for house guests only. L have a picture to send

  6. 0

    Worst hotels? Lautoka hotel in Fiji. Sheets had holes in them and were not clean. Hair in the bed (a minor problem). Replacement sheets no different. And then there was the fact that the building was a 100% wooden building which would have 100 years old. We stayed on the second floor as we realised it was a fire death trap but we had our escape plan sorted. Oh, did I mention the disco next door on the ground floor?
    We have never been able to beat that one. I’m sure few could.

  7. 0

    Lack of towel hanging space. Also if it is at the end of the bath the towels get wet when the shower is on. Curtains that don’t meet.

  8. 0

    To Mick up there !!:-) I just love it when they just pull up the Covers and fluff up the Pillows from the last pair of Shaggers !! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  9. 0

    Pillows …… Some pillows are quite disgusting and disguised under a pillow case … Still a minefield of germs and bacteria.
    A hotel in Rio yes Sth America one block from Coco-cabana beach was so disgusting and Reception in cahoots with house keeping brought me another to match the original.
    I eventually got a clean one….

  10. 0

    Small hotel in Athens during a summer heat wave . Stinking hot, literally. You paid extra money to turn on an air conditioner that was noisy but barely able to produce air cooler than outside ambient. And worse was the cupboards above a wardrobe full of blankets for the winter. They were liberally sprinkled with naphthalene flakes. It was like being in a hot chemical factory. Worst four prepaid nights anywhere.

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