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Our Perfect Hotel Room | Don't Ever Look Back

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Our Perfect Hotel Room

Our Perfect Hotel Room

We’ve spent over fifty percent of the last three months sleeping in hotel rooms and our experiences have ranged from poor to excellent. We admit that the two of us can be pretty fussy but none of the hotels we’ve stayed in thus far would be a clear 10 out of 10.

Some have come very close, but every hotel has been lacking something.

That got us thinking about what our perfect hotel would include so we decided to put together this list and share it with you. Note that these aren’t extravagant requests – most of them are basic things that every hotel should be getting right.

Checking In

Welcome cookies from the Padre Hotel

Welcome cookies from The Padre Hotel - a great touch!

Friendly Staff

First impressions really do matter! Don’t put an employee on the front desk that seems to hate their job and the world – it really shows. We want someone welcoming us who’s helpful, friendly and makes us feel special.

A Welcome Gift

It’s always nice to get a little something when checking in, whether it’s a simple welcome drink, a traditional gift (eg. Shell Lei on Big Island, Hawaii) or some chocolate chip cookies. These small treats instantly give you a positive connection with the hotel and the expense to them is minimal.

The Room

Comfortable beds at the Embassy Suites in San Antonio

Comfortable beds at the Embassy Suites in San Antonio.

A Comfortable Bed

The primary reason you’re in a hotel room is to sleep so a good, comfortable bed is essential. Research has shown that an uncomfortable bed can deprive you of one hour of sleep per night, so sleep in a good hotel bed and you’ll be fresh and ready for the next day’s adventures!

A Good Selection of Pillows

Every person has a different preference when it comes to pillows but when you arrive at a hotel and all of them are soft and lumpy, it’s enough to make you pull your hair out. Hotels must start providing a variety of pillows – your guests will truly thank you for it!

Free Wireless Internet

There’s a simple formula we seemed to find during our hotel stays – the better the hotel, the more expensive the Internet connection. It’s time that hotels got up-to-date with the 21st century and started offering free Internet to their guests. If cheap motels and hostels can do it, so can you!

Accessible Electrical Outlets

In the digital age, it’s important to have a conveniently located electrical outlet in your hotel room. You should be able to charge your laptop at the desk and your phone next to the bed – pretty simple, really. Oh, and don’t get us started about the location of some outlets where you can’t even plug anything in once you’ve got the travel adapter connected.

Noise Reduction

The last thing you want in a hotel room is being able to hear the guests staying in adjacent rooms or walking in the hallways, particularly when they’re inconsiderate and make as much noise as they like. We know that it’s not an easy problem to fix in existing buildings, but there’s gotta be something that can be done to reduce the noise.

The Bathroom

Magnificent bathroom at the MGM Grand Signature Las Vegas.

Magnificent bathroom at the MGM Grand Signature Las Vegas.

A Good Layout

For many hotels, the design of their bathrooms seems to be an afterthought. Features like a double sink and glass-enclosed showers are great but far from essential – we just want hotels to get the basics right. At the very least they need to have the toilet paper within reach (if you have to lift your ass off the toilet, there’s something wrong!) and provide adequate ventilation.

Clean Towels

If your hotel room’s towels smells like the hotel pool, they shouldn’t be in there. We’ve encountered towels that reeked of chlorine on more than one occasion and even if it is because of the industrial detergent they use, please ensure we have fresh-smelling towels upon arrival.

Other Nice-To-Have’s

Parking lot

Free parking would be great - paying $20/night for self parking is not cool.

Rewards For Declining Housekeeping

Sheraton Hotels offer a $5 incentive (to use in their restaurants) if you decline housekeeping. We rarely use housekeeping as we think it’s completely unnecessary so this is a nice way to reward a guest. Plus it’s eco-friendly – it saves water, electricity, natural gas and chemicals and although you may not think so, one day without housekeeping really can make a big difference.

No Ridiculous Fees

Crazy hotel fees, we’ve seen them all! Look at a hotel room service menu in the USA and you’ll see extra charges for taxes, a delivery fee, a service charge and a gratuity. Then there’s hotel parking – one hotel charged $19 per night for self-parking yet we could park on the adjacent street for free (and it was much closer to our room!) We understand that nothing comes for free these days, but please be transparent and reasonable with what you’re charging guests.


Suggestions from our Facebook Fans

We asked our Facebook fans what their perfect hotel room would consist of and received some fantastic responses! A lot of the things we had already (which was great to see!), but there were plenty of other great suggestions.

Henry Lee – Free wi-fi, in-room safe, extra pillows/blankets, a mattress that is neither stiff as a board nor soft-squishy, lots of accessible electrical outlets (gotta get `em charged!).

Jeremy Jones – My list was a comfy bed with great sheets, acting like a hotel (free breakfast, laundry, etc), and offering great excursions that are difficult to do on your own.

Jessalyn Pinneo – Free wi-fi (in the rooms, not just the lobby), lots of outlets (not all of which are built into the bases of lamps), pool, gym/fitness room that’s bigger than a closet, in-room mini fridge and microwave, comfy bed with soft sheets, knowledgeable staff who give good directions and have suggestions for activities/places to eat…that’s what’s at the top of my list!

Nomadic living and travels – An incredibly comfortable bed with soft sheets and different range of pillows, soft-hard. Good coffee, with cream in the fridge. A full breakfast buffet with fresh food that doesn’t end too early. Free-wifi. A clean pool with jacuzzi. A clean, homey bathroom with heated floors. A great view, with private balcony. Sound proofed rooms. 🙂

Cailin O’Neil – Free wifi of course – at TBU I won a 2 nights stay at the Mint Hotel in London they had an iMac in the bedroom and an iMac in the TV room and the tv was hooked up to an iMac and all three were inter connected it was awesome! you could also check out on the computer.

Runaway Brit – Comfy bed, fridge, TV and remote that actually works, balcony, bath, bathrobes, HAIRDRIER, outlets that are close enough to plug your laptop in and sit up in bed using it. I could probably think of loads more!!

Claudia Critelli Boothe – We are frequent members at one hotel that always puts my favorite snacks in the room before we get there. That’s my favorite thing!

If you could design a perfect hotel room, what else would it have?


  1. Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with wi-fi! If there isn’t any wi-fi at all or they charge a fee, I won’t even consider staying there just in principle. 😛
    Technosyncratic recently posted..East Side Gallery: Artwork on the Berlin Wall

    • Posted October 30, 2011 at 4:51 am | Permalink

      Good for you! We totally would have loved to have done the same and did often refuse to pay the exorbitant fees. Unfortunately a lot of places didn’t reveal whether wifi was included or not until you actually arrived and the shadier places said free wifi was included (but only covered the lobby itself).

  2. Posted October 30, 2011 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    Jacuzzi?! Never had one in the hundreds of hotels we’ve ever stayed at but wouldn’t it be nice if it was made a standard amenity for all hotels? One can dream. 😛
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Memphis Tours Egypt: 2 Day Trip to Cairo & Giza Pyramids

    • Posted October 30, 2011 at 4:51 am | Permalink

      Haha that would be nice, but you know that you’d be paying big dollars for the luxury! We sure can dream though. 🙂

  3. Posted October 30, 2011 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Nice post guys.

    I totally agree with you on all counts. I’d never heard of the option to decline housekeeping – must remember that!

    I generally stay at the Hilton (they aren’t as overpriced as some people think! In fact the Waldorf=Astoria on Park Avenue in New York was one of the cheapest hotel options the last two times I’ve stayed there!) Also I’m a silver member in their Hilton Honours program so sometimes I get little freebies like room upgrades, access to their executive club (free breakfast, canapes and drinks – heck yes!) and snacks (cookies, chocolates, fruit or water.)

    I dream of free wi-fi! I was asked to pa AUS$30 per day on my last day in Melbourne. Ridiculous! I ended up opting in to using my iPhone as a wi-fi hotspot (and suck up the phone bill instead.)

    A lot of hotels have begun offering a ‘pillow’ menu or in some cases 4-5 different options on the bed (yes, I road tested every single pillow!) Hilton and Swissotel are the ones that come to mind that offer that.

    One thing I also like is if hotels offer free transfers to airports/buses/train stations. Most hotels don’t seem to offer that option anymore though. 🙁

    Also fridges that have space/are able to take things out of without being charged. The Hilton Sydney have these god awful pressure pads for all their food/drinks both in the fridge and on the counter. If you knock over/take out something it gets charged to your bill and in my case (where I took everything out the fridge) ended up with a very nasty bill!
    Nicole recently posted..Stumble Bug Sunday – October 23rd, 2011

    • Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the big long comment!

      It honestly surprises us that more hotels don’t offer the option to decline housekeeping – it’s a great way to cut costs and avoids the unnecessary knock on the door at 8 in the morning if you forget to put up the DND sign!

      Wow, would love to know what price you paid for the Waldorf in NYC! We’ve got the Hilton HHonors membership as well and it surprises us how much nicer they actually treat you – most of our accommodation in the US was via Priceline and we got stuck in rooms next to the elevator and all but ONE occasion! Ridiculous, huh?

      We tether our internet where possible but sometimes the connection just isn’t reliable enough. Still, $30 AUD for 24 hours of internet is insane! Yet still, people must pay it.

      We’ve seen these pillow menus, but not enough hotels offer them unfortunately.

      Free transfers would be cool but you can understand why they don’t offer these – they just wouldn’t be profitable. But definitely a nice thing to have!

      Oh, and don’t get us started on fridges! I carry medication with me that must be refrigerated and you wouldn’t believe how many hotels in America don’t offer fridges at all! Then when you ask about it, they want $20+ to send one up to your room – a bloody joke, especially when it’s required for medical purposes. We encountered one of those pressure pad fridges at the Hyatt in Chicago – I’m sure they sting people like that all the time!

  4. Posted October 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you on pretty much all counts! Especially when it comes to the free wi-fi and comfy bed.

    I also really like when hotels nearby airports or big cities will offer free shuttle rides. For example, 2 of the 3 times I’ve stayed in Chicago I stayed in a hotel near one of the airports that offered free rides to/from the airport 24/7. One also offered free rides to the nearest train station. Which meant I didn’t have to worry about driving downtown! Bonus.
    Amanda recently posted..Photo of the Day: Wellington

    • Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes! If the hotel is located close to the airport then free transfers would be a deciding feature – it eliminates any worry about having to find a taxi or renting a car as you said. And that’s always a good thing in Chicago!

  5. Posted November 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Another vote for free parking/shuttle to the airport. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved over the years by taking the first flight out in the morning, staying at an airport hotel the night before, and leaving my car with them..
    The World of Deej recently posted..Deej’s Picture of the Week

    • Posted November 2, 2011 at 4:27 am | Permalink

      Great idea – never really though about using that strategy but it’s a good one.

  6. Posted November 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    It seems like wi-fi is the biggy! If I’m paying decent money I also lime to have a gym. Not being able to do a proper work out while on the road really gets to me. And youre so right about the nice staff. That makes a huge difference!
    Monica recently posted..Sunset Sunday: Exmouth, Western Australia

    • Posted November 9, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      A good gym is always a great facility in a hotel – we’ve seen some terrible ones that look like they haven’t been updated since the 80’s! And yes – it’s amazing how much your experience can vary if you have helpful and friendly staff.

  7. Esha
    Posted November 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Comfortable bed, light cancelling curtains, aromatherapy / oils and good bath/body – please also travel toothpaste not just mouthwash for a change, fast wi-fi free (or nominal charge), hotel wi-fis are slow!!!, room slippers, free bottled water and fresh fruit..forgot the fatty cookies/candy, good hot water shower with good pressure, and good TP placement/drainage in the toilet..just saying.

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