I admit it – I’m a bit of a hotel snob. I’ve stayed in many nice hotels – boutique hotels in Europe, Four Seasons and Ritz Carltons in the US – you get the idea. I’ve also stayed in some not-so-nice hotels (oh, the college years!), which I don’t even care to mention by name. If I have learned one thing about hotels it’s that I am willing to pay a little more (or sometimes a lot more) to stay at a classy hotel, in exchange for a more comfortable and luxurious experience.
In my growing book of hotel knowledge, I’ve learned that you just can’t hide a second-rate hotel. Even a so-called themed hotel, which looks great from the outside, can leave you wondering about the interior of the room and its contents. In the immortal words of Carrie Bradshaw – a squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit. Well for me, a cheaply themed hotel is just a motel with cuter decorations – it’s still a motel underneath.
There are several other little things that generally distinguish a classy hotel from cheap hotel – and I’m not just talking about chocolates on the pillow, although that is a nice touch too. When staying at your temporary home-away-from-home, little things – simple things – can make all the difference in the world. Even European hotels, which typically have smaller rooms by American standards, can be elegantly decorated and include many added luxuries that make up for the loss of space.
When staying at a hotel for the first time, there are a few things that I look for beyond the expected cleanliness and size of the room. These little things may, ultimately, help me decide whether or not I want to stay in that hotel again or even recommend it to a friend.
6 Little Things Every Quality Hotel Should Have
- Marble or Granite Sink and Tile – Ok, this one is more than just a little thing. Having nice marble or granite tile in every hotel bathroom can get quite expensive. But when I see it, I give a sigh of relief knowing that I picked a good one.
- Quality Towels – Hotels that offer thin, frayed, or small bath towels are just asking for a bad review. Towels must be big, they must be thick and fluffy, they must be soft, and they must be clean!
- Full-size Hair Dryer – I really dislike packing my own hair dryer. It is big, bulky, and takes up suitcase space that could be used for more cute clothes. So, when I travel, I have to rely on hotel hair dryers to dry my very thick, naturally curly hair. Most hotels provide some type of hair dryer these days. However, many cheap hotels will only provide a wall-attached hair dryer that can take up to 30 minutes to dry my hair. By that time, my arm is about ready to fall off and I want to throw the dryer across the room (but I can’t because it’s attached to the wall!) A top-notch hotel will actually provide a full-size, free-standing hair dryer in the room – usually wrapped up in a neat little silk bag.
- Gourmet Tea and Coffee – Many cheap hotels will not offer in-room coffee/tea at all. Then, there are nice hotels that offer in-room coffee/tea service but skimp on the quality of the tea/coffee. If I see gourmet tea such as Tazo, Harney and Sons, or even Twinings, I know the hotel is paying attention to detail. Also important – glassware – who wants to drink coffee, tea, or wine from a paper cup? Glass says class.
- Luxurious Bedding – A bed doesn’t require a pillow-top mattress to be good. Give me a soft but sturdy bed with luxurious bedding (look for a third sheet that covers the blanket) and I’m sleeping like a baby.
- Fancy Soaps – No-name bath products? Why bother? Cheap soaps scream cheap hotel. If I don’t see brand names like Aveda, H2O, Crabtree and Evelyn, L’Occitane, or something similar, I begin to wonder about the hotel in general and pray that I remembered to bring my own shower gel.
Little things – that’s all I’m asking for. But, I wouldn’t mind a chocolate on my nightstand every now and then either 😉
What are the little things you look for in a quality hotel?