Roundup: Five common hotel gripes

28 Sep 2016 by Craig Bright
Most complaints can be solved by a diligent concierge

No universal sockets by the bedside table

Many hotels now offer universal sockets in their rooms, particularly those that are new or have undergone renovation. While the convenience of adaptable power outlets is a big plus for business travellers, the positioning of these sockets can be somewhat limiting.

Placing sockets (and USB ports) at a work desk is a no-brainer – but having one or two conveniently placed by the bedside table is a great benefit for both business and millennial travellers.

The ability for guests to quickly check their email, respond to a WhatsApp message or simply surf the net in bed while their device charges adds a great deal of comfort to a hotel stay. Not only that, but bedside power outlets also ensure that guests using their devices as alarm clocks can be sure they will be next to their head and fully charged when they need to wake up.

Universal sockets at Wynn Palace Macau

Overly complicated lighting systems

A well-lit hotel room is undeniably a good thing – particularly if a significant portion of that is natural sunlight. However, some hotels take this idea and run with it a little too overzealously.

Having a vast array of lights to choose from in a room, from ceiling spotlights and desk lamps to floor lamps, reading and mirror lights, can quickly become rather overwhelming. Guests will often find themselves having to dedicate precious time either to deciphering the room’s in-built smart lighting system, navigating the correct sequence of bedside light switches or doing the rounds manually switching off every light, lamp and ornate lantern the housekeeping staff has diligently switched on in anticipation of your return.

A high level of in-room light customisation is certainly appreciated, but keeping it to a manageable number of lights would remove many a bedtime headache.

No complimentary in-room wifi

In the modern world internet connectivity is as much a necessity as access to running water and electricity.

Linking guests to the internet, particularly by high-speed wifi, is no small cost for a hotel to implement. However, to provide top-tier service to modern travellers, especially those doing business, providing such a fundamental amenity gratis to all guests is essential.

The lack of complimentary in-room wifi in major city hotels is all the more confusing when one considers that free wifi is frequently offered in a hotel’s public areas. While in-room access is often offered as a perk of being a loyalty programme member, the everyday necessity of remaining connected while travelling using a hand-held device has meant that complimentary wifi is no longer a luxury.

Having complimentary access to the internet goes a long way in combating “hotel room gloom” by giving guests the ability to remain connected with home and in constant communication with the world at large.

Service charge for a buffet meal

“To tip or not to tip” – this is a debate that has raged for many years, and was perhaps most memorably discussed in popular culture in the opening scenes of director Quentin Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs. Proponents of both sides of the argument have valid points – many staff often depend on tips/business owners should be paying a higher wage. And truthfully, leaving a tip typically comes down to whether it is the cultural norm in the destination you’re in.

That said, buffet-style meals can be a different story. While guests should be free to tip good service where applicable, receiving a discretionary service charge – typically in the margin of 10-15 per cent in Asia-Pacific – at the end of a bill for what is largely a self-service meal, can be harder to justify. Clearing cutlery, offering tea and coffee, and directing guests to their tables are services that proponents of the charge often cite as the reason for its inclusion.

However, when compared with the level of service that comprises an à la carte meal, charging the standard 10-15 per cent can be excessive. Add to this that not all restaurants give this added charge directly to the waitstaff themselves, and the fee quickly loses its standing. Far better to offer guests the chance to provide tips directly to staff as they see fit.


Non-24hr sporting facilities

Exercise facilities such as fitness centres, gyms and swimming pools are a mainstay of most top-tier hotels and for business travellers – the opportunity to squeeze in a short spell of exercise during a trip can be a welcome respite. However, the opportunities corporate travellers get to be able to do this can be sporadic, last minute and at all hours of the day. A quick run on a treadmill can do wonders for reinvigorating the body following an exhausting workday or a gruelling red-eye flight.

As such, fitness facilities are best offered 24 hours a day. With the advent of e-keys, access to such facilities can be given regardless of the time of day without the need for staff to lock the premises. Swimming pools, with the requirement that a lifeguard be present at all times, are indeed a different story. But for use of the gym’s treadmill or weights where supervision for safety reasons is unnecessary, 24-hour access should be available.


Did we leave anything out? Send us your most common hotel gripes at [email protected]

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