My Top 5 Hotel Pet Peeves

I have stayed in way too many hotels over my professional lifetime and over my pleasure travel lifetime.  A good hotel is a good thing when one is on the road, clearly.  I don’t need perfection – though I know it when I see it and love it – but I also have some pet peeves that REALLY turn me off to a property or even a chain. These are by NO MEANS the biggest problems in the world but, with that, what follows are, in no particular order, what ilivetotravel finds annoying in a hotel experience. 

  1. Bath robes for giants.  Either giants are the vast majority of hotel guests or hotels are slightly clueless.  Yes, I am a short guy but some of these would be evening gown length for most people.  And the average height for a man/woman in this country is not 6′ – that I know of anyway.  I understand a 6’2″ giant needs to cover his/her modest parts to avoid catching a nasty cold but these are below the knee even for them!  The W Hotel in DC did really well in this category with reasonable length robes.  Thank you.
  2. Dark carpets.  No, I have no skills in terms of interior design so this is not an opinion based on the look of the room.  This is about dark carpets affording a hotel the opportunity to be a little more lax with cleaning carpets.  I am not saying hotels with dark carpets do not clean as often as they should BUT why stay somewhere where that opportunity is a little easier?
  3. Drafty windows.  You’d think that this is not a common issue.  And you are right.  But in January this year I had TWO back to back hotel stays where the windows did not properly close.  These were in Chicago and DC during very cold spells.  But besides the cold, I could hear street traffic late at night so I dreaded what it would sound like in the morning.  In both cases, the windows were not closing properly, something I would expect someone would have caught before me.  Both times, I called to have it looked at.  In one case, the hotel immediately just changed rooms for me (giving me an upgrade in the process – GREAT customer relationship building move) and, in the other, I had to call a second time an hour later because no one had come to take care of things… (bad customer relationship building move).
  4. Poor lighting.  This really gets me.  I NEED to see.  I know you are trying to create a mood.  Ever heard of dimmers??  Or at least offer some lamps with good strong light and others without it.  I stayed at a VERY nice DC hotel where none of the lamps seemed to have much of a light bulb making my ability to read anything impossible.  Come on!
  5. The waste culture.  One of the largest hotel chains I have stayed at, across all their brands, seems to do a poor job of minding waste.  That I know of, they don’t participate in any program to recycle used soap, for example.  Or when I hang my towel back, it still gets replaced the next day.  But what really takes the cake is how they take my still half-full little shampoos or lotions and replace them.  I understand you want me to have enough and not run out (thank you for that).  Go ahead, add the new bottle but LEAVE the half-full one there so it doesn’t go to waste.  One little bottle doesn’t make a difference but add this up across all their properties and rooms and nights, and that’s a heck of a lot of not caring about being wasteful.  This chain is not the only one doing this, sadly.

I would love to hear YOUR pet peeves when you stay at a hotel!



  1. 1) Lights as you already mentioned. What do they have against overhead lights?

    2) Lack of outlets, especially by the nightstand. Come one, we all got phones, tablets and often laptops. I know that I’m far from the only one that sit in bed with laptop watching TV. Alright I an live with the powercord stretched across the room. But to have to decided unplug alarm clock or light on nightstand so I can have my phone charging on the nightstand (not to mention have to pull it out) is annoying

    3) All hotels have those stupid keep the earth green fliers all over. I think we got it. If not just put out one, stick it onto the door to bathroom or something, stay green don’t waste paper especially when your not doing what the paper say. I hung up my towel because I could reuse it, yet have new towels every day, you did change the sheets in the bed, yet I put out the card as you said to d. Ohh yeah that oversized robe i hung it up nicely just to discover you replaced it to.

    4) Please stop turning the AC temp down to 64 in the room, I like it 72 which is why I set it to 72. Now it’s freezing in the room and I now have to use the heater to get temp back to comfortable levels. Why waste energy and run the AC on a empty room at 64 all day? Don’t sound very energy efficient.
    Eje Gustafsson recently posted..Playing with shadowsMy Profile

  2. We share a few of the same pet peeves, Raul. My biggest wish is that hotels found a way to adopt the systems in Europe, where the room key has to be placed in a terminal by the door to turn on the electricity…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Surfing Under the Golden Gate Bridge – Pic of the WeekMy Profile

  3. D.J. one of my pet peeves with the key power terminal is that they really need a set of outlets that is NOT controlled by that terminal. I end up always having a dummy key that I leave in so my stuff that I need charged can get charged when I’m out of the room. Which circumvent the reasoning for the key power terminal. It’s a good idea but badly executed at almost all hotels. We all surround us with electronic gadgets that run on batteries that needs charged….
    Eje Gustafsson recently posted..Playing with shadowsMy Profile

    • Eje/DJ – I do like power being controlled to avoid waste but totally agree that I may be leaving stuff charging and then we are just forced to game the system!

  4. Bath robes for giants!! Haha, that is so true! I wonder why they are always so huge, especially when many of those who use them are women :-O
    Miret recently posted..Interview with DJ MosakenMy Profile

  5. 1. Lack of good lighting.

    2. Lack of power outlets.

    3. Overpriced in-room internet access. I don’t understand how a lot of backpacker establishments give free wi-fi, but so many 4 and 5-star hotels try to charge $10 or more per day to access their internet.
    Ryan recently posted..Conquering KilimanjaroMy Profile

    • Ryan, on number 3, I think it is the business travelers who spoil the hotels into making money out of what should be a convenience in this day and age (like hot water, A/C, etc.)… Notice the lower star hotels usually give it for free – not as much business traveler traffic. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I have so many! How about the hangers that are stuck to the closet? Soooooooooooo annoying! You mentioned robes, but I am size 6 (shoes) and always feel like a duck wearing the slippers!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..My hOtel: St. Pancras Renaissance, London @stpancrasren @renhotelsMy Profile

    • I agree with you on those slippers, Mrs O. I am tempted to call guest services when I get those monster slippers and ask them to bring me a pair of scissors so I can trim them down 🙂

  7. I am so with you on the lights! I like to be able to see! Dim lights irk me, but what drives me even more nuts is when I can’t find the switches! They need to be fairly obvious – I may be in a different hotel every night or two while on the road, and I don’t want to spend 5 minutes trying to figure out how to turn the lights on or off!
    As for the soap – in an effort to be environmentally conscious – I have been known to bring my soap from the first hotel to the next hotel! I carry a plastic travel container just for that purpose! I use the same bar of soap at home, so why not on the road! Have noticed in Europe that more hotels provide a bath gel instead of soap bars….love those – so much easier to transport!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Stepping into Old World Charm at the Nottoway PlantationMy Profile

    • @Anita, yes, sometimes it is hard to find the difference in things like switches from one hotel to the next! The bath gel idea is good in some many levels (no wrapper to go to waste, no soap to go to waster, etc.). Thanks for sharing your pet peeves!

  8. Hair dryers that are chained to the wall, especially in 4 and 5 star hotels. REALLY?
    Leah Travels recently posted..Next Up: Camels, Cars, Colorado, Canucks & KahakaiMy Profile

  9. Oooooh I loathe those bathrobes for giants too! LOL
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..On Being HomeMy Profile

  10. outlets and lights are two of my pet peeves at hotels! a girl’s gotta look good! its hard to do when the lighting is off and theres no where to plug anything in!
    lola recently posted..One Day Stay: Kennebunkport, MaineMy Profile

  11. I too have a problem with the oversize robes, I’m way too tiny for those! And, the lighting, such a strange issue! But, I’d also have to agree with Lola, not enough outlets?? How does THAT happen!!??
    The World Wanderer recently posted..History on the Hudson: Photo Essay.My Profile

  12. Lack of outlets, for sure! I also hate when hotels have terrible bathroom lighting. Maybe it’s a girl thing!
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..Getting fancy with London high tea.My Profile

  13. I concur on the lighting issue. I often like to read a book while traveling or staying in a hotel. I don’t have a lighted kindle, so I need light.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Walleye Days fishing week snowed out in WisconsinMy Profile

  14. dark light in hotels DRIVES ME CRAZY! though i wont name names, i stayed in a very well known hotel where the lighting in the bathroom wasn’t much better than candlelight. how useful is that?! xo, the wino
    thelazytravelers recently posted..jetsetters: @suitcases2My Profile

  15. Thin walls and thin windows. Really? There are a bunch of people crammed into one building. Insulate it!

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