Anatomy of A Bad Hotel Room

I spend about a third of my year on the road, and back in the day I used to work for a hotel chain. So when it comes to resorts, I’m pretty discerning (OK, I admit it; I’m a hotel snob). While most of the places I stay in are lovely, every now and then I spend the night in somewhere less than luxe. The upside: it makes me appreciate even more the posh places I’m fortunate to stay in. And it’s helped me come up with this handy-dandy guide to telling if you’re in a bad hotel in 7 simple steps.


 1. Dated décor I’m not saying that your hotel room needs to look like a spread from Architectural Digest, but it does at least needs to look as if it was furnished sometime within the last five years. For Caribbean resorts, that means no oversized botanical-print bedspreads (or, god forbid, matching curtains); no mint green or Pepto Bismol pink; no generic tropical art; no shiny ceramic floor tile; no brass or gold bathroom fittings. Hoteliers: leave all those “design” details in the 80s, where they belong. Please.



IMG_41062. Hallways from hell You know these nightmares you have where you’re running frantically along a low-ceilinged hallway but can never seem to reach the end of it? ‘Nuff said.


IMG_4119IMG_41143. Dirt! When something as obvious as light switches are as dirty as these, I shudder to think how poorly maintained the rest of the room is. And did Housekeeping really not notice the massive cracks in the floor tile? Or do they simply not care?


IMG_41334. Eyesore views I’m not saying that every room has to have a panoramic beachfront vista; I’m perfectly content with a view of the mountains or a tropical garden. But a view of the water treatment plant? Not so much.


IMG_41115. Permanent hangers As someone who travels with a large wardrobe, this is my pet peeve. Are resorts really so afraid that people will walk away with their plastic hangers? And what if I need more than the half-dozen my room’s been allotted? Please, hoteliers, let’s get rid of the “perma-hanger” and re-stock with regular ones. Your guests will thank you.


IMG_41296. Faux-fancy bathroom amenities When I travel I’m expecting the hotel to have toiletries that are as nice as the ones I use myself, or that are at least from a recognized brand. I can only assume this resort was trying to cash in on the “cachet” of Crabtree & Evelyn by giving their house brand a similarly British-sounding name. I’m not fooled.


IMG_41227. Out-of-date electronics It’s 2013, people! Gone are the days when resorts could get away with Kmart-quality alarm clocks, CRT TVs and dated, energy-inefficient temperature control systems. For today’s traveler, iPhone/iPad docks, flat-screen TVs and complimentary (and reliable!) wi-fi are necessities that should be standard, no matter the category of hotel.











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  1. Hi Sarah,

    Great story. I wanted to let you know there is a solution to the permanent hanger problem.

    Goggle: convertahanger

    It’s a hook you can attach to the post of the hanger giving it a real hook.


  2. Great points! With the exception of the cracked tile – you’ve mentioned all of my pet peeves! When will some hotels in the region get away from charging for wi-fi? Having outdated television sets with no more than 5 channels? not to mention the horrible while towels that were purchased in the 80s !!

    I’ve stayed in a particular hotel on many occasions (work related – not by choice) and there was mold in the small refrigerator, whenever it rained the staff stuffed the door leading out to the “balcony” with bathroom towels – why? inevitably the rooms on that floor would be flooded!

    • JetSetSarah says:

      Funny how some hotels just don’t get it, eh Kathy? Oh well … good thing we (usually) have plenty of choice!

  3. Too funny. Love the thermostat.

  4. I agree with everything you have covered with the exception of Housekeeping not noticing the cracks in the floor tile. While Housekeeping could report them, I really blame hotel management for not inspecting the rooms and scheduling repairs or upgrades.

    I recently stayed in a hotel that had many of these flaws and need for updates, some worse than what you’ve shown. A shower with the ceramic tile soap dish broken off the wall, no lotion among the toiletries, etc. But the setting was beautiful, the only saving grace…

    • JetSetSarah says:

      Good point re the cracked tile, Debbra. It really is a management issue. Thanks for reading – and commenting!

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