Last May, in a fit of bleary-eyed jet-lag, I made the mistake of checking into a hotel without running through the standard list of questions I normally ask at the front desk to ensure I get a good room.
When I got to my assigned room, it was hot,
smelled like disinfectant and had a view of a large exhaust fan. The air
conditioning hummed and vibrated so loudly that I thought an A380 was landing
on the roof. Despite wanting to just crawl into bed and crash after the 10-hour
overnight flight, I returned to the front desk and told the clerk that the room
was not acceptable. A few keystrokes and a smile later, she apologized, and
handed me the key to another room in a recently renovated wing on the opposite
end of the hotel.
What a change! The hallway to my room was
bright and new. The bathroom was spotless, the room décor modern and clean, the
air conditioner was already on, and I had a nice view of airport runways
without a peep of airplane noise.
I learned then that it’s always a good idea to
give your room a quick inspection as soon as you enter — to avoid having to ask
for another room once you’ve unpacked and settled in.
When I walk into a hotel room now, I always
check the view, the air conditioning/heating and the bed. I pull back the
bedspread to look for hair on the sheets or pillows, and I inspect around the
mattress edges for any evidence of bedbugs. If I’m planning to work in the room, I’ll turn on my laptop and check
the strength of the wi-fi signal. I also check that there are disposable
plastic cups for water because I’m never sure about the cleanliness of glasses.
I’m not the only one with a checklist. Janis
Cannon spends nearly 150 nights a year in hotel rooms. She’s spent her career
in the hotel industry, working in sales, as a hotel general manager and is now
a vice president at InterContinental Hotels Group overseeing brand management
for the Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo chains.
As soon as she walks in a room, she flushes the
toilet to make sure it is operational and checks grout lines in the tub and
shower for a solid clean seal. “It says a lot about the age and overall
condition of the room,” she said.
“I also check the floor space between the
nightstand and the bed, which indicates how thorough the room cleaning and
inspection process has been,” she said. Like me, Cannon checks for air
conditioning fan noise and looks out the window to see if there is anything that
might disrupt sleep.
What are the first things you check when you
walk into a hotel room? Please leave your comments on our Facebook page.
Chris McGinnis is
the business travel columnist for BBC Travel