5 Annoying Hotel Design Flaws and How to Fix Them

5 Annoying Hotel Design Flaws That Should Be Fixed


Some Annoying Hotel Design Flaws are so patently absurd, you wonder what the designer (and the hotel exec who signed off on them) was thinking (or smoking). And while everyone has different pet peeves, chances are that if you're annoyed by a hotel design flaw, there are plenty of other guests who experienced the same frustration. Here are a few of the hotel design flaws and how hotels could fix them:

1. Unintuitive Light Controls 

While I understand and appreciate the convenience of a single master switch that can turn all lights on or off, what about the times you want some lights on but not others? In the latter case, I'd love for the light switch for the light I want on or off to be located in a visible location near the light–not always the case. I'd also like to be able to keep all lights in one room (for example the bathroom) on while all other lights in the bedroom are off. This is also not always the case–sometimes a single switch controls lights in both rooms.

The Fix: Rather than just relying on the designer or electrician's whim, hotels should guest-test proposed lighting setups to make sure they can easily and intuitively be turned on and off and work the way guests would expect, especially considering that one person may need to work in one room while the other sleeps.


2. Too Many Device Lights That Prevent the Room From Being Completely Dark

While we're on the topic of lighting, I find that increasingly, there are little lights associated with devices, whether the TV, the bedside clock or alarm, the fire detector, the iPad or tablet, etc. that are on even after you manage to turn all the room lights off. And these lights prevent the room from being completely dark, making for lower quality sleep.

The Fix: Hotels should consciously aim for a completely dark room when all lights are turned off, without light pollution from devices, but with the option of a nightlight (such as a plug-in, similar to what kids have) or a dimmer switch for the bathroom for those who may want or need a little light during the night.

In the meantime, I'll continue to bring duct tape with me to cover device lights and sleep better.


3. Insufficient Towel Hooks in the Bathroom

Sometimes it's apparent that the designer has never thought about what it's actually like to stay in the hotel room s/he designed–take towel hooks and bars to hang towels ( or lack thereof). Sometimes there's only one place to hang a bath towel, and no place to hang a second bath towel or hand towels and washcloths.

The Fix: It really shouldn't be that hard or expensive to install sufficient towel racks or hooks in all bathrooms, rather than forcing guests to drape towels over shower doors.


4. Glass Doors for the Bedroom, Bathroom or Toilet

I've stayed in suites where the separation between the bedroom and living room (which has a sofa bed) is frosted glass. What's the point of a suite where there's light pollution from the bedroom into the living room, which families use as a bedroom for kids, when it means the kids won't get to sleep if the parents are still up?

Similarly, a glass door to the bathroom is a terrible idea; if one person goes to the bathroom in the night, it makes it that much more likely the spouse or partner will be woken up from the light. And for the toilet–come on; even within married couples, most people want some privacy when using the bathroom.

The Fix: Solid. Doors.


5. Poor Soundproofing 

High quality soundproofing is admittedly expensive, but it's also what separates hotels people want to stay in from those people want to stay away from, especially in busy, loud cities such as NYC. Guests want views and natural light, but they also want to be able to sleep at night, not kept awake by traffic or the voices or TV of their neighbors.

Hotel Fix: Double or triple paned windows, hotels that have acoustic lining (in some cases neoprene is used) to minimize sound between rooms.

Guest Fix: Invest in a good set of earplugs that you can bring with you.

What are your pet peeves when it comes to hotel design flaws? What do wish all hotels would get right when it comes to design?

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