If you travel a lot for business, I’ll bet you can name the top five services all business travelers want off the top of your head — without thinking about it.
But, if you’re not a weekly road warrior, you might not realize what you want (aka NEED) when you travel until it’s too late — you’ve checked into a hotel and accepted the keys to the wrong room — the room that ensures you a bad night’s sleep and a poor start to your next day.
So, take notes! Here are five gotta-have’s for all business travelers:
1. Water pressure: There’s only one thing worse in a hotel shower than waiting 5-minutes or more for the hot water to kick-on: poor water pressure. You know those shower heads that spray water around your body — everywhere but on your body? Or, what about these other shower heads where water “falls” out of rather than sprays out of? You know the once’s I am talking about — the one’s where you’re standing in the shower literally dancing around to get your body wet. Yeah, those suck. Check the water pressure as soon as you check into the hotel room — don’t want until after you’ve eaten room service and it’s 11:15 p.m. and you’re naked ready to hop into the shower only to realize that, the water pressure is, well, non-existent. Or, worse, it’s 7:05 the next morning. Trust me, check the water pressure as soon as you check in.
2. A comfortable bed: Having a hotel room with an uncomfortable bed is like having a cell-phone without any signal bars on it — useless. There are many forms of bad hotel beds:
- The side-slope — the bed where so many people have slept in the exact same place that there’s actually a giant divot that forces you to roll towards the edge as if you’re sleeping downhill-sideways.
- The holing hiller: this is the bed where sit feels like there are rollers under the mattress pad that make it so you feel like you’re sleeping on 200 small wash clothes that have been individually rolled up and placed under a fitted sheet.
- The hair bed: this is the bed that, when you pull back the sheets, you see one lone hair that you know, without a doubt isn’t one of yours. The bed, no matter how good it is, instantly becomes, well, gross.
- The fingernail filler: If you’re a seasoned traveler, you know exactly what I am talking about here. If not, you’ll likely remember this bed from when your parents took you on cross-country trips and you checked into a one-story motel with only outside accessible room doors. Well, the beds in those rooms were covered by a comforter that was huge, yet only weighed as much as a sheet of paper. And, if you brushed your fingernails over it, it would tell you if your nails needed filing or not as it caught on everyone – even dead-skin on your feet. Another collective, “gross,” please?
- And, the squeakier: this is the bed that makes all sorts of noises from the slightest of movements. It will keep you awake all night long.
3. Someone to answer the phone when you dial zero: There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to order room service, extra towels or just confirm something with someone who works at a hotel and when you dial zero all you hear is ringing. I can understand the occasional slow-to-answer front-desk clerk at the Fairfield by Marriott or even the Hyatt Place, but at a full-service Hilton? What the heck? You check in to a hotel with six people working the front desk and no one answers the phone when you dial zero?
4. A fitness center with something that works: It’s tough enough staying in shape when you’re at home, much less when you’re traveling all the time. If the weather was always 72 and sunny, I would never care to see an indoor fitness center again. But, when you’re traveling to Chicago in January, Dallas in December or Seattle in March, you’re going to be forced to run on a treadmill or elliptical and lift some weights. But, you can’t do that when you hop on the Cybex and, nothing — no lights, no arrows, no moving tread. Why have machines that don’t work in hotels? Ever? Certainly someone else must have complained before me? When traveling, look at the fitness center pics on-line and realize that that’s the BEST that place has ever looked- ever. If the notel’s own promotional photo makes it look questionable, you can be guaranteed it’s goona be horrible in person.
5. Good food: Food is absolutely subjective. Heck, even the ALoft’s own restaurant-less food is better than most of the stuff you get at a full-service Courtyard Marriott. When you’ve flown all day only to reach your hotel and check in at 10:30pm and find that the kitchen is closed and the all-nite dining menu consists of nothing but corn chips and vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, you’re going to be cranky the next day. So, check your smartphone in and around the area as you’re riding your taxi toward the hotel and keep an eye out for something, anything, better than Burger King.
And, that’s it. Those are THE five things you want (aka need) when you travel. I mention Aloft intentionally as they’ve hit all five in each and ever hotel I’ve ever booked. I’d give the Courtyard and Hyatt Place’s both a 3 out of 5 and a Hilton Garden Inn a 2 for 5, at best.
But, don’t take my word for it — do your own research and make you own notes as, once you find that gem of a hotel in a town, don’t switch. It’s not worth taking a chance.
Oh, and, there’a simple trick for solving #1 our self. Hint: travel with plumbers tape and a Leatherman. Thats all you need to remove a shower head, pull out the so-called “water saving device” and replace the shower head without anyone at the hotel ever knowing you solved their biggest complaint — one room at a time.