posted in: Travel | 10

I don’t know about you, but when I book and stay in a hotel I have a set of minimum standards that I expect from my host. Naturally my requirements change depending on the amount I have had to pay for said hotel, and where in the world it might be, but even in the cheapest of lodgings there are certain things I do look for.

Zartusacan - Oasis Motel, Ocean Shores WA
Our room at the Oasis Motel, Ocean Shores, Washington State. 

Generally speaking, I don’t spend very much on accommodation if I can help it. I think I’d rather have more trips away costing less each time than fork out for five-star opulence; although I do like extravagance every now and again (who doesn’t?!). I am very happy to stay in a budget inn or a motel – I regularly use Premier Inn here in the UK and we used a plethora of motels on our recent road trip around North America. But even when I don’t spend very much money on my hotel room, there are a few things I expect from my little home from home when I check in.

So here’s my list of hotel room requirements… let me know if you agree with me or if you would add any additional things to my list in the comments below.

Zartusacan - Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Airport
Some luxury at the Fairmont, Vancouver Airport. 

What I Expect in a Hotel Room

First up, I expect an obviously clean and tidy space with white whites, especially on the bed and in the bathroom. There is something rather horrible about greying sheets and yellowing grout. Makes me shudder. On the same topic – dust free furniture and stain free carpets are also preferred, along with no offensive smells, especially cigarette smoke or bleach.

I was so surprised how many rooms we stayed in on our big road trip that had dust on the shelves and black mould stains around the bath; nothing a really good and attentive clean wouldn’t fix.

See, I said my requirements were pretty basic.

Floor Space

Enough space in the room to put my bags down without blocking all the available floor space (which could be in a cupboard or on a shelf, the room doesn’t have to be huge), walk around the bed (both sides if I am sharing the room with my other half so we don’t have to clamber over each other), as well as enough space to stand and change my clothes without falling over.

I think that’s a reasonable request. Rooms in Europe are generally small, and I’ve stayed in some really teeny rooms; it’s much better over in the USA where we all know everything is bigger.

Clean. Please.

No sign of bed bugs. After a bad experience at one hotel early on in our road trip this time around (I still don’t know which hotel that was as bites can take a couple of weeks to show up and we were staying somewhere different every night), we started checking for bugs before we committed to unpacking anything. I know we were lucky as bed bugs like to come travelling with you but there was no sign of any in our luggage and we didn’t have any further issues through the rest of the three months. I know bed bugs don’t necessarily mean the hotel room itself is un-clean, but I do expect staff to be checking for bugs daily and should they notice any, to do something about it.

Not too Hot. Not too Cold.

It might be a luxury in the UK, especially in a budget hotel, but air conditioning is something I definitely look for in some parts of the world where the night time temperatures are not conducive to sleep. And where there isn’t any, where ever I am in the world, I want windows that open (with fly screens if you’re in an area with mozzies) – no-one wants a stuffy bedroom.


Being as addicted to my phone as I am, having an accessible plug socket where I can plug in my charger is vital. Not having a plug socket next to the bed is one of my bug bears about modern hotels (I know I’ve mentioned this to you on numerous occasions!), but I know most hotels were designed before we carried around smartphones with us everywhere and so understand it was never an issue before.

Let’s just make sure there is a free socket somewhere in the room, whether that be level with the desk, close to the floor by the lamp, or near the tea and coffee making facilities. I don’t want to have to choose between having the television on and charging my phone. I know, I know.

A Locking Door

It might sound even more basic than some of the other things above, but in order for me to have a decent sleep, I need to feel secure in my room. I want a proper lock on the door, and a window that will lock shut too. We stayed in a couple of motels in the USA where the windows could very easily be pushed open from the outside, which did not fill me with confidence.

A safe is a bonus, although when we saw how quickly one receptionist opened it after the previous occupants had left it locked when they checked out I am now a teeny bit sceptical about leaving my valuables in one!

Running Water…

I don’t know about you, but I like my water hot for washing my face and cold for cleaning my teeth. So let’s have mixer taps in hotels that actually mean we can get both. This might sound a bit of an odd thing to include in my list, but the ability to get a glass of cold tap water from hotel bathrooms was not as common as I thought it would be. I dislike purchasing bottled water, much preferring to refill my Klean Kanteen, and really (really, really) hate luke warm water.

Light Bulbs

My final “must have” requirement is the one that hotels and motels are getting worse and worse at in my opinion. I want light. Enough light so that, with the curtains closed, I can see what I’m doing. Two little bedside lamps with yellowy bulbs just isn’t going to cut it for me. It might make the room more romantic or cosy, but it’s just annoying. Give me a big light, one that means I can see what colour t-shirt I’m putting on, read a magazine, do up my shoelaces.

And if I can have a switch for said light by the bed that’s even better and you’re winning Brownie points with me!

Zartusacan - Motel in Kingman, Route 66
Our motel room door in Kingman, Arizona.

Naturally, if I’ve chosen something a bit up from budget then there are other things I might also expect. And I should also add that no big light or having to choose between the television and charging my phone isn’t going to mean I’m stomping down to reception demanding a different room or my money back. These are just a few of the things I expect, on a very basic level, when I’m away from home.

What are your must-haves when you’re staying in a hotel? How bad does it have to be before you leave and go somewhere else? Add your comments below.

10 Responses

    • Splodz

      Having a kettle is definitely nice, but I really hate UHT milk and always forget to bring my own fresh milk (not that we get fridges in UK hotel rooms like they do in North America).

    • Splodz

      Oh my goodness I love my baths and have definitely struggled in loads of USA hotels where you can get about an inch of water before it overflows. Give us a proper big bath!!

  1. bigdavezz

    One thing I found that I now expect in all hotel rooms is free Wi-Fi….. a sign of our times maybe? providing the room is clean, secure and has comfy beds I’m usually happy to accept whatever I’m given for a couple of nights…. though must admit to being a little disappointed with our room in Vegas not having tea\coffee making facilities or a fridge. They really don’t want you spending any time in your room and want you spending your $$’s in their casino’s and shops…..

    • Splodz

      Wifi definitely – I can’t believe I forgot to include it in my post! And not just free wifi either, free wifi that actually works enough so you can use Skype to call home or upload a photograph to instagram. Priorities! I’m not bothered about the coffee machine in hotel rooms over in the USA, and rarely use the kettle provided here in the UK – I hate UHT milk!

    • Splodz

      Sounds like a good list. I forgot to include free wifi in my post didn’t I?! I’ve found from experience that even when it’s advertised it’s often not very good at all and we still ended up in a coffee shop.

  2. Shybiker

    I agree, agree and agree. Fortunately most good hotels now realize how important electronic devices are to us and offer many electrical outlets. Free WiFi is big, too. And, most of all, I want a safe, free place to park my motorcycle. I’ve learned not to assume all hotels have that, especially in cities.

    • Splodz

      I think hotels are definitely getting there with electric points and wifi, it’s certainly much easier now. And you’re right about parking – it’s so hard in the cities, it’s the same here in the UK.

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