Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What I Want in a Hotel Room

This overdone room at an inn in Alberobello, Italy,
featured a bed on a glass floor that appeared to float
over a bed of rocks. The chair in the foreground is
an uncomfortable antique. The tiny room, which
looked like a stage set, had no space for luggage
and little space for people. After one night, we were
able to move to a much larger space, though still
pretty odd -- it was in a trullo, one of Puglia's
iconic conical houses.

Sometimes looks count, and sometimes you just want comfort.  Sometimes photogenic hotel rooms turn out to be supremely unpleasant places to stay. Antiques may conjure feelings of coziness and authenticity, but they can also be uncomfortable to sit on and easily damaged if you put your luggage on top. Rooms in some super-trendy hotels (I'm talking about you, Mama Shelter, in Lyon, France) can feel like afterthoughts, as if the designers had never stayed at a hotel where they had to open a suitcase, recharge a phone, or brush their teeth.

I wrote a short New York Times article on what I want (and don't want) in a hotel room. Click HERE to read the article. 


  1. I’d like hotels to provide a simple cotton blanket; a down comforter is only required if the heating doesn’t work.

    Also, can the business economy hotels (Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, etc.,) please not give up on real glassware. Paper & styrofoam cups for every-single-thing is going to far in the cost cutting arena. I prefer my night cap in glass and my coffee in ceramic, thank you very much.

  2. Totally agree about single-use cups in hotel rooms. Also, the single-cup coffee-makers are in the same category as tiny bottles of shampoo. As for the blanket, I prefer to sleep under a warm cover in a chilly room, preferably with an open window if weather permits. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Two additional things are musts in hotels rooms: more electrical outlets, especially near the bed and more light.

  4. Yes! Though there's a trend now of bedside lamps with electrical outlets and even UBS built in.

  5. A night light (similar to the #1 Ikea LED units) for the bathroom would be a great help. No need to leave the bathroom light on and the door partially closed for a little light to avoid bumps when navigating an unfamiliar room in the middle of the night.