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An Open Letter to Hotels Everywhere

Free advice on how to furnish a thoughtful hotel room

Whether it’s for business, pleasure or a combination of the two, travel is my life – which means some weeks I spend more time in hotel rooms than I do at home. My time away from my family is an expense I take seriously and when I book a night at a hotel, I’m signing an unwritten contract with the hotelier or hotel chain. In exchange for my business, you’re going to offer me a restful night’s stay with exceptional customer service and amenities that simplify (and sometimes add luxury to) my visit.

free advice for hotelsWhile break-your-heart-luxurious extras endear me, the placement of what’s in a hotel room transforms me from a one-time visitor to a loyal ambassador who’s willing to share my finds with others.

In an effort to help hotels deliver on their promise, we polled the GoGirlfriend community to find out what thrills them about hotels – and what leaves them wanting. We found that not only were they willing to share, they were eager to offer up solutions. If you’re a hotelier, please consider this your unfair advantage to building a loyal following of ambassadors who will sing your praises.

And please feel free to steal ideas and implement them far and wide.

 “Where” is as important as “what” in a hotel room

Furnishing a thoughtful hotel room begins with understanding what’s most important to your guests. A luxury B & B owner in California once told me he and his wife spend a week each year staying in every room in their inn to enjoy the experience as their guests do. It always results in changes that improve their customer’s experiences.

Since that exercise isn’t possible for most hotel managers, here are some simple upgrades from a female perspective.

Outlets – Hiding outlets behind beds, sofas or under desks may have been a design trend in 1975 but in 2013 we shouldn’t have to rearrange furniture to charge our devices. Embrace and incorporate the mighty outlet into the design of the room by providing easily accessible, multiple outlets for our multiple devices. Even better, install USB, micro USB and Apple-friendly chargers on the desk or bedside so we can recharge without hunting for our cables. Thanks to Susan Cohan, Tom Moreau, Jillian Walker, Darleen Witmer, Lisa Hanly, Lisa Stansbury, Jodi Echakowitz, Karyn Climans and Emily Dockrill Jones.

Phones – A phone placed by the bed is for a wake-up call. When placed on the desk, it’s for work or room service. Every hotel room should have two.

Ironing board – A free-standing ironing board is a must, especially when we’re traveling with someone else. A fold out board in the hall between the bed and the bathroom can result in unnecessary victimization of roommates. Thanks to Jacki Yovanoff, Lori McMillen Brown and Jenn Annis for contributing their colorful gripes to this issue.

Mirrors – Recently at a hotel in Phoenix, a friend complained about the lack of a full-length mirror. I told her to look behind the behind the bathroom door – where she could enjoy a charming view of herself sitting on the toilet. As a solo traveler, she had no need to close that door and would never have found it without my help. The fix? Position the mirror in the entrance hall or main room where there’s ample lighting and space to move around. Thanks to Myra Brown and Kristine Robinson for sharing their thoughts on mirror placement in hotel rooms.

Light switches – Placement of light switches should be intuitive, not a treasure hunt. From the bed, we should be able to turn out all the lights (drawing the curtains from here is an added bonus). The light for the bathroom should be in the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom and lighting, a self-lit make-up mirror separates a good hotel room from a great one. Thanks to Jessica Wilzig Gottlieb and Karen Wilson for this gem.

expectations of great serviceHairdryer – Regardless of how small the bathroom is, there’s always room for the hairdryer – even if it’s hung on the wall. A hairdryer hidden in the closet with the pillows and blankets frazzles us – not a good state of mind as we leave your hotel for the day.

Towels – While we understand the high value of real estate in a bathroom, towels above the toilet is a disaster waiting to happen. Whether it’s emerging from the shower or standing up and bumping them, a capsized towel in the toilet is no fun. Ever. Thanks to Greg Wright for sharing this idea.

What do we GoGirlfriends love about our favorite hotels? Fast check-ins, sitting area in the room, curved shower-curtain rods, lots of hangers for dress pants, free parking, a hot, nutritious breakfast and an exercise room with up-to-date, clean equipment.

I’d love to hear what you think it takes to furnish a thoughtful hotel room. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let’s continue the conversation!

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A night light in the bathroom would be wonderful. You either stumble about a strange bathroom in the total dark or you are blinded by the bank of lights over the mirror. It would be easy to do these days with a built in LCD bulb.

Pool & Hot Tub!

These are great tips. From the simplest detail to the most luxurious add on hotels can make your experience charming and memorable or nightmarish. Either way I am sharing the experience. So aim to please. Outlets are a necessity. What charms me immediately though is the simplest of greetings when it is personal and cheery: good morning Mrs. Schuck. That makes me happy and it should be standard.

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