Login | Register | Subscribe to the GG RSS Feed

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 a world seeking to emerge from covid lockdowns and 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 the 90's but in the 2020's 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 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!

Related Stories

Rate This post


I agree on the night light thing. Since hotels have none, I end up keeping the bathroom light on all night with the door ajar. Windows. I understand in the litigious US of A, hotels need to prevent folks from throwing themselves out the windows (or else the hotel could be sued?!!). Ok, fine. But for those of us who dislike A/C and only use it when absolutely necessary, can't we still have the option for some FRESH AIR? There ARE ways to allow windows to open up only so much, while at the same time preventing an entire body from throwing itself out the window. Bedskirts. Am I the only one who gets the skeevies when I see hotel beds with bedskirts that hit the floor? I always had images of food crumbs, bugs, and god only knows what...as being hidden behind that bedskirt. I'd much rather a bedskirt that's at least 2" above the (usually carpetted) floor. Towels. Can't we get nicer towels that don't feel like cardboard? Carpetting. Am I the only one who never walks barefoot in a hotel room ...esp when there's carpet? Blech. I'm sure those things are very rarely cleaned.

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.

Post new comment

GoGirlfriend Recommendations

Travel Planning

Lonely Planet


Membership is free and with it you can set up a profile, vote on stories and post your opinions.

Already a member?

Not a member? Join!

Most Recent Comments

  • On Club Orient - St. Martin, Scribbles said "The naturist beaches on St Martin are really quite special. There are many choices and opportunity for getting an all over tan. There are naturist hotel accommodations also. https://naturist.sx is a great place to learn about all the naturist opportunities on this beautiful Caribbean Island "
  • On See-it-All-Touring or Destination Vacation?, oneearthhotels said "Amazing places to go ... hope to visit sometime soon!!"
  • On 6 Tips to Survive (and Thrive) in Self-Isolation, admin said "Thanks Bat-El for the great tip. We've included your link in our Bonus Ideas from our Community section so others can enjoy. I really enjoyed the Stonehenge tour ... it's on my bucket list!"
  • On 6 Tips to Survive (and Thrive) in Self-Isolation, Bat-El Galor said "My name is Bat-El, and I'm working in collaboration with Travel Trend website. We've recently published a post -"Top 100 virtual tours around the world". After looking at these wonderful tips to survive in self-isolation; It occurred to me that our post could also contribute to your readers with further virtual tours resources. The post includes 100 links to virtual tours and unique experiences around the world. Feel free to check out the link and enjoy your travels ... https://www.trvltrend.com/technology/virtual-tours/ Cheers,"
  • On Cuba Travel ~ 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Go, admin said "Thanks Gordon for the update ... and given most routes to the resorts on the coast are an hour+ and it's Cuban warm, that money for a beverage is a great tip!"

Blogs We Love

beautiful Vancouver, British ColumbiaCheck out our GoGirlfriend Facebook page to follow us as we seek new adventures and create memories in our own part of the world.