Grievances with ordering room service?

Back to Forum


This topic contains 26 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  RHMAngel 19 Jul 2018
at 21:30

Viewing 12 posts - 16 through 27 (of 27 total)

  • nevereconomy

    All of the above but usually coming off longhaul flights or after long working day just glad to eat in my PJs in front of the TV so I will forgive a lot!!

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    My only grievance about room service (never use it myself) are the flies that congregate on the trays left outside rooms overnight….

    3 users thanked author for this post.


    Another gripe is a variation on esselle’s comment…..

    And in this case, the giveaway is that the meal that you’ve ordered has a fancy dancy ooh-la- la description to justify its mouth, sorry, eye watering price …….

    Then before you or even LP have time to visit the little boys/girls room your door is being chapped ……

    You usher in your locally sourced Artisan Beef and Abbots ale Pie with freshly handpicked petit pois accompanied with Pentland Pommel Puree smothered with virgin cow’s milk butter !1
    A fine meal you’ve tantalising ordered from the “Chef’s palette ” menu awaits you in the comfort of your room. .

    Warning sign no. 1 : your delivery boy warns you that it’s piping hot !!
    Warning sign no 2 : Your mashed potatoes are presented on the plate like a work of art that wouldn’t look out of place in the Tate gallery.
    Warning sign no 3:The 7 garden peas have arrive in a mad container as a side dish .
    Warning sign no 4: The butter for your stale roll seems to have just been mined from a Gulag in Siberia !!

    All this to divert you from the fact that your main course is still broiling away 5 minutes after its been removed from its microwave hell !!
    And to disguise the fact that your overpriced main course is actually and if you’re lucky from the gourmet range you’ll find in your local supermarket.

    But to be fair there are many LOCAL branches of Farmfoods & Iceland, plus someone does have to go in and HANDPICK these expedient meals , so they’re not really misleading us, are they ?

    So exactly the opposite of lukewarm —hotter than the core of the earth on the inside and colder than a polar bears nose on the outside
    Making it too bloody dangerously hot to eat !!

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    I love room service, always have. I stay in nice IHG or Hilton properties, nothing fancy. But I adapt myself to the room service experience. Never order anything that needs to be served hot. Assume a 90-minute window for your meal’s arrival, be pleasantly surprised if it appears early. I don’t really care exactly when it’s delivered … I’ve not ordered anything that needs to be served hot. Caesar Salad and Club Sandwiches are always a good choice, they don’t need any condiments which are sometimes forgotten. Consider all the BS charges as part of the cost, it’s worth it to me not to have to visit the restaurant in person. Unless my order arrives in 20 minutes, I don’t add an extra tip.

    What I’d like to see: order something online, trot down and pick it up. Sign for it, that’s it.

    Kudos for asking … if hotels asked their guests what they want instead of spending money on foolishness that nobody cares about, the travel experience would be far better.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Communication is always the most difficult issue. Ordering online would be wonderful. Take the success of Just Eat in the UK: I used to have to call my local takeaway. It was always noisy, the person taking my call often had a heavy accent, and I had to spell everything and repeat. Just completing the whole transaction took over 5 minutes and a lot of energy. No I just order online through my app – I don’t have to spell anything out, no one has to ask me to repeat anything, everything is clear and payment is done by card with no hassle. If you order online – or even better through an app – that would take away any communication issues and I would welcome that.

    Some people may wonder why communication to the hotel room service is so difficult? Well:
    – If English is not your first language then understanding English spoken with a heavy accent can be difficult
    – The staff are often in a noisy location, often have a thick accent, or speak poor English
    – Staff are sometimes not trained well in the menu

    There are some challenges with an online/app service:
    – After placing an order you must get a confirmation, and an ETA – like when you place a call
    – There has to be some way of requesting changes. For example, side salad instead of fries. The best way
    is to provide some pull-down menus with options for each item i.e. “select side items” etc. But problems
    start when for example you want a double portion of vegetables. If you call someone, they will be able to
    check if this is possible for you straight away and then make the necessary changes on the order

    My problems are usually:
    – Description does not match what actually arrives
    – Poor English in the menu sometimes makes it difficult to understand
    – Substitutions and changes. I once ordered a “double” burger. Instead I got 2 single patty burgers.
    – Kitchen closes for room service at X and I sometimes miss the deadline by just a few minutes. So annoying.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Thanks for your feedback, everybody! I got some great ideas and a better insight from your answers, we’ll be sure to use your inputs to improve the service we’re working on!

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Assume a 90-minute window for your meal’s arrival, be pleasantly surprised if it appears early.

    Really? I’ve never waited for more than 30 mins for room service and it’s usually 20-25.

    It is normal to be given a time window when ordering (25-35 mins is usual) and long before 90 mins, I’d be on the phone to guest relations, sorting it out.

    I seldom encounter any problems with room service and the minor ones are usually oversights that are easily corrected – to be honest I have more issue with hotel breakfasts, where they think it is OK to keep displayed hot food lukewarm for extended periods of time, including sausages, eggs etc.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Assume a 90-minute window for your meal’s arrival, be pleasantly surprised if it appears early.

    Really? I’ve never waited for more than 30 mins for room service and it’s usually 20-25. It is normal to be given a time window when ordering (25-35 mins is usual) and long before 90 mins, I’d be on the phone to guest relations, sorting it out. I seldom encounter any problems with room service

    Me too – I was surprised to read about people’s problems on this thread, because over many years I’ve always had prompt delivery. However, on the phone to room service I always ask how long it will take. And my food invariably arrives hot or warm+! Maybe it’s the hotels I stay in….



    I think my record purchase was a room service burger at the Hotel Kämp in Helsinki. It started at something like €30, which was bad enough. But once I’d paid the “tray charge” and given a tip, it was something like €45.00. And it came with cold fries and a limp salad.

    My favourite deal is the room service full English at the Sheraton Heathrow. Reasonably priced, always good quality and it has to be eaten just before going to bed, thus giving me an extra hour’s sleep in the morning.

    Now let’s get onto grievances with mini bars……

    Safe travels,


    Chris in Makati

    To address the original questions from the OP, I think I’d be more likely to use room service if an internet-based ordering system was available. Ideally, I’d be able to place a room service order from my smartphone when I was on my way back to the hotel. If I could specify a delivery time, it could be delivered to my room shortly after I got back.

    It sometimes happens that although I intended to order room service, by the time I actually get back to the room I’m too tired to face the prospect of a 45 minute wait for food, so end up not bothering and just go to bed.

    As for the complaints others have expressed, I do agree that food needs to be served immediately after it’s ready to prevent it getting cold. I also agree about the extra charges for having it delivered. Hopefully, an ordering service such as is being proposed would solve the language and communications problems and allow hotels to provide a more streamlined room service.


    Of course, most here will be travelling alone but I recently stayed in a Hilton DoubleTree on business but with the family in tow. This hotel charged a tray charge per person not per order. A meal for me and my wife included a double tray charge of £10, with the standard £5. When I questioned it in the morning and asked how they knew my wife ate the second meal and that I wasn’t a glutton and ate both, they waived all the fees. Very cheeky.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Jurica, if you honestly and seriously spot a gap in the market for filling a dire need in awful room service, service, food – akin to App ordering like gig-economy ordering for food, you have our sincere best of luck. So my comments. Based on FOOD and charges, rather than personnel and any undercurrents of English speaking or not. They’re not a telesales trying to sell me something, they’re customer service immigrants or not. And more often than not I’m overseas so I never expect perfect English.

    1. Like many others I don’t care WHO is picking up the tab (company or not) – its the OUTRAGEOUS surcharges, tray charge, delivery charge – what from the basement of kitchen to a floor above in the same building ?! Come on PLEASE…hotels just think people have no conscience for the companies they work for in outrageous charging, and feel individuals aren’t personally paying. Well I care about my organisations I’ve worked for, and rip off is rip off regardless of who pays.
    2. Its going from the same restaurant KITCHEN up a few floors – how is this rocket science ? enough to justify all mentioned in bullet 1.
    3. As others have mentioned temperature of the food. The condensation of the lid covers or at worse cling-film ruins the food in my opinion.
    4. Agreed on the empty trays the cleaners in the morning are expected to collect.


    a) away on business or not, I realise I have never ever been an area that I didn’t feel safe AROUND the local hotel to simply go buy a take-away (carry-out) OR even a regular restaurant asking if they do carry-out, within SAFE walking distance, and food still pipping hot walking it back.
    b) You get to see more than the inside of an airport, taxi, hotel and business building or meeting rooms. Sure it may be a local walk opposite the hotel or a few streets max, but you get out nonetheless.
    c) Feeling no sense of guilt bringing takeaway food to your room. Feeling with a receipt you saved your company money in expense claims.
    d) Mostly the quality of the food and choice reigns supreme.

    And lastly if I’m away on business in my own country (rare), I invariably have my car – so I drive. So if I’m overseas, then b) trumps.

    I’m quite OK even in dusk, not straying too far from the hotel’s safety. If its that late at night and dark, then its clearly too late to eat anyway. Honestly no front of reception or concierge has ever given me disapproving looks. In fact some have cheerfully pointed out the nearest and best.

    So Jurica, find and fill that gap and maybe business guests will shake up the awful reputation of hotel room service the world over. Disrupt the room-service market the way AirBnb has, Deliveroo, UberEats etc – top end hotel chains or not. Medium chains, to global top end chains – generalising they’re ALL shocking god-awful value for money, even in countries where service is paramount, (Japan).

    Unless hotels start demanding to check bags, I can’t see how they can stop people bringing in food, the way that say some movie theatres stop & search for contraband stating only food & drink bought on the premises can be consumed. Hotels doing that would require a massive enforcement shift.

Viewing 12 posts - 16 through 27 (of 27 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Business Traveller July / August 2019 edition
Business Traveller July / August 2019 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below