13 Things That Hotel Guests Absolutely Hate

From the expectation of being pampered to the conveniences available, hotels should be oases; a home away from home. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, all guests should expect, at the very least, cleanliness and good service. Staying at a hotel should be an experience, not a chore. So what happens when your expectations fall short? Here are 13 resounding pet peeves from experienced travelers.

1. Poor customer service

hotel receptionist

Customer service is everything | Source: iStock

When you’re checking into the hotel that you’ve so carefully chosen, good customer service should be the least of your worries. A hotel guest should be greeted with a smile and treated as a paying customer, just as they are. Lost reservation? Room isn’t ready? These are just a couple things that are totally unacceptable to travelers like Mark from Ohio, who has traveled extensively while working as a National Geographic photographer.

2. Room is unclean

hotel room

A clean hotel room matters | iStock.com

If you’ve ever really thought about what may have taken place in a hotel room prior to your arrival, it’s probably enough to make you think twice about ever staying at a hotel again. For Krissy, an avid traveler from New Jersey who is a stickler for perfection and appreciates the finer things in life, cleanliness is of the upmost importance. Upon arrival to your room, you should expect it to smell of fresh flowers and appropriately-used cleaning products, not make you wonder what kind of guests stayed before you.

3. Less than perfect bedding

Source: iStock

Are those sheets clean? | Source: iStock

Clean bedding is a non-negotiable according to everyone we spoke to for this article. So why are there so many horror stories about people finding unmentionables in hotel beds? Whether it’s bed bugs, sheets that aren’t tucked in, or a comforter that you just know hasn’t been washed, collect your belongings and run as fast as you can.

4. Finding hair that doesn’t belong to you

Woman is washing her hair

Woman is washing her hair | iStock.com/esp2k

While this falls into the previous category, it deserves a mention in itself. The mere thought of finding hair anywhere in you room makes Heather, a young professional and traveler from Philadelphia, cringe in disgust. No matter where it’s found — a strand on the pillow or in the bathtub — hair that did not come from your head has no place in your hotel room. Simple as that.

5. Poor insulation

businessman working

How thin are those hotel walls? | iStock.com

Ah… vacation. An oasis of serenity to which you have vacated. Until, all of a sudden, you’re woken by the incessant chatter of the people above you, or worse yet, the squeaking headboard of your neighbors next door. Mackenzie, a business traveler from Florida, can’t stand when she’s unable to get her beauty rest before an early morning of meetings.

6. Early checkout times

door with a please do not disturb sign

Early checkout times can ruin your plans to sleep in — or enjoy last-minute sights. | iStock.com/DragonImages

We understand that there needs to be some sort of guideline for when guests have to be out of their rooms. But what about those times that your flight isn’t until the evening or you’re not in a rush to leave? Kristin, a traveler from San Francisco who appreciates a more relaxed, luxurious style of vacation, takes great notice of hotels that will not accommodate a late checkout. It is vacation after all, and there’s no need for the front desk to shame you for sleeping in.

7. Pet hair and smoking odor

Source: iStock

If you travel with Fido, at least keep him off the bed | iStock.com

People either travel with their pets, or they do not. Similarly, people either smoke, or they do not. What if you’re a person who neither smokes nor like animals? Heidi, a Colorado resident and avid dog-lover, would bring her pup along wherever she went if she could. Her father, on the other hand, is allergic, so finding a happy medium can be an issue.

If you’ve booked a hotel that happens to allow pets, but you are highly allergic, sneezing the whole time probably isn’t your idea of a vacation. Furthermore, if you’re not a smoker, you probably won’t be too happy if you’ve been booked in a room that allows smoking. The point is, when you book a hotel room in a place that allows pets or smoking, it’d be nice if the front desk actually gave you a room that agrees with your health or lifestyle.  

8. Bad continental breakfasts

little girl eating breakfast

Adorable little girl having breakfast at restaurant | iStock.com/travnikovstudio

Don’t you love when hotels act as though providing a “free” breakfast is their greatest contribution to modern society? Well, newsflash — it’s not actually free; after all, each guest did pay for his or her room. What’s with the stale bread, lack of good cereal options, and produce that looks like it’s been sitting out for days?

Stephanie, who currently resides in Texas but has spent the past several years traveling and living overseas with her husband, hates that American hotels don’t do continental breakfast the right way. “What is wrong with the U.S.?” Stephanie asks. She tells us, “If you go to Europe, you get all the meat, cheese, fruit, and assorted pastries you can imagine during breakfast, even at small inns. However, U.S. hotels have turned a continental breakfast into an apple and bowl of dry cereal.”

9. Lack of TV options

Teenager girl with remote control laying down

No cable? That’s almost a requirement for hotels these days. | iStock.com/manaemedia

It’s always nice to lounge around in your hotel room before or after any activities you have planned. And what’s worse than no TV at all? Having a TV in your room without having a clue how to work it. Brandon, a young professional based in New York, has visited countless hotels, and said, “The guides, the channels — everything is different than what you’re used to. Once you do finally master the process of turning the TV on (Why are there always several remotes?), good luck finding any of those premium channels that were promised when you booked your room.”

10. Cheap toiletries

travel toiletries

Travel toiletries | iStock.com

For most people staying at a hotel, chances are they’ve had to fly in order to get there. We all know it’s not likely that we’ll be able to get through security with each of our favorite products, whether it’s high-quality shampoo or your favorite shaving cream. According to Elizabeth, a professional based in Tampa, Florida and an avid traveler, there’s nothing worse than having to settle for cheap products when you’ve already spent money on a hotel room.

11. Slow Internet connection

Source: iStock

Nothing’s worse than constant buffering | Source: iStock

It’s hard to believe that free internet is not a common hotel practice, but that’s the reality of it. Catherine, a New York resident who travels often for work, says there’s nothing worse than having to pay for the Internet, or being granted limited access during your first 24 hours, then being reverted to the days of super slow connectivity.

12. Weak shower head

man washing hair in shower

Man washing his hair | iStock.com

Unless you’re trying to escape civilization and spend your vacation holed up in your room, most hotel guests generally have some sort of event to attend or occasion to celebrate. Maria, a party planner and wedding coordinator whose work brings her to a wide array of hotels, said, “Whether you’re a groomsman in a wedding or are simply getting ready to go out to dinner with your significant other, having a weak shower head can really put a wrench in your grooming process.”

13. Old carpet

person cleaning a carpet

Just how many times has your hotel carpet been spot-cleaned? | iStock.com

While carpets are a reality in most American hotel rooms, a certain amount of upkeep should be expected. According to Ali, a traveler from Maryland who frequents hotels across the country, hates that — even if a room has been vacuumed between each guest — carpets retain some odors that will just never come out.

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