Friday, January 18, 2019

Hotels Rooms

No matter where you stay, you will find similarities as well as differences. You might say there are variations on themes however there are some constants. The artwork is almost universally bad. There is a universal, sole supplier of hotel toilet paper. (It is not available to the public because the public would never buy it.) All bathroom mirrors are oriented so that you can see the TV either from the bathroom sink or the commode. The coffee maker, if there is one, universally makes bad coffee. However, a coffee maker in the room ranks much higher than one without. (Rooms where they bring you a pot of coffee always arrive late but are of the highest quality, strongly correlated with room price.)

Bed firmness positively correlates with room price as does the slight variations in mattress height.  Creakiness of bed frames correlate negatively. (This article does not cover hotel beds that take quarters but I'll send you a roll of quarters if you venture to stay in one.) While the quality of the furniture also correlates strongly with room price, all hotel furniture features a certain sheen of ick. (Ick sheen is negatively correlated with price.)

I have little to say about the free toiletries (other than none of them are good) while I have a lot to say about bathroom layout. While most layouts work reasonably well for a single traveler, many present a challenge for two. Electrical outlets not arranged near mirrors make hair drying difficult (unless hairstyle is not important) while a lack of mirrors in some hotels makes simultaneous preening nearly impossible for a couple.

Sinks are a particular pet peeve. At one particular hotel, one sink has a residential sized kitchen faucet over an airplane sized sink making it nearly impossible to wash one's hands without the water cascading over the counter and down the front of one's pants. The other sink has a faucet so small that it's impossible to wash one's hands without also rubbing ones hands along back wall of the sink (which brings us back to ick).

Beyond the bathroom, room layout varies from comfortable and inviting to "What were they thinking?" Doors that swing open to block access to something else such as a closet or sink, for example, or closets that are nothing more than a coat rack. Drawers at floor level to replace a typical dresser might be perfect for toddlers but can be a literal pain in the back for older folks.

Some have motion-sensitive nightlights (with varying degrees of brightness and sensitivity) while others are pitch dark. We recently checked into a hotel room and after I claimed my side of the bed, I noticed our room's lack of nightlights, automatic or otherwise. My side was farthest from the bathroom; that plus the room's layout made reconnaissance necessary. A midnight trip to the bathroom would require navigation around the bed, avoidance of an ottoman (Dick Van Dyke style), and walking down a short corridor to a door that automatically swung closed to the dark and windowless bathroom. I made note of the orientation of the commode. (Which way did it face?) I made note of where the toilet paper was. (Would it be on my left or right?)

There's nothing more disorienting than waking up in the middle of the night in unfamiliar surroundings, unable to see, with an urgency to pee.

I moved the ottoman out of the way and propped the bathroom door open. I filled the coffee maker with water and loaded it with a plastic coffee pod. I brushed my teeth and readied for bed. When I climbed under the covers and snapped off the reading light, I discovered the light from outside our window would be glaringly sufficient to light my way (or see from outer space). My logistical preparations, which have become standard operating procedure, were completely unnecessary.

The coffee was still terrible.

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