Our Perfect Hotel Room
As a couple who lives in hotels, certain memories immediately stand out when thinking about the ones we liked most (or didn't like). The thing to remember is that every property is different and not every hotel has control of your room size (hello NYC, the world of tiny hotel rooms). You also have to manage your expectations on the luxurious amenities available. For example you can't compare an extended stay hotel like a Residence Inn to the Ritz Carlton. They target different types of travelers and in our opinion we have had 5 star experiences at both brands.
Christine reviews every hotel we stay in on Trip Advisor and Google. As we share our hotel experiences we are very intentional to rate by comparing each hotel to other brands that are within the same price range and categories.
Opening the door to that perfect hotel room means you want to feel welcome and at ease in your new surroundings. It is going to be our home for the night, week, and/or month!
Upon arrival here is what we're both thinking about immediately:
Max: A room that is brand new or was renovated in the last few years. This could mean simply that thought and effort have been put into making an older room feel cozy. Many high-end properties have older classic room styles but thought and effort has been put in to make them feel homey and warm.
A drab colored room with a flower painting on the wall is no longer acceptable unless you’re at a Super 8. When I find this on the other side of the hotel room door I mutter and grunt like Ted Lasso’s Roy Kent. It’s 2023 people. Update your stuff. The first impression when a person walks into a hotel room is THE make-or-break moment.
From Christine: A view! It can be water, mountains, trees, airport runway, and/or a city view, but I want to see something out my window. I walk straight to the window and/or balcony to see what is visible. In advance I do research so I'm aware if a view is even possible so I can manage my expectations and book accordingly. We have stayed at very mediocre properties that had a view of the mountains or the ocean and extended our stay because of it. Hard to pay to have a mountain nearby, but if there is one, I’d sure like a view of it from my hotel room.
Perfect Hotel Room checklist for a couple:
1. Space for the luggage rack.
Most hotels have a luggage rack in the closet. Or if they don’t, they’re usually happy to bring you one. But what many hotels don’t think about is where that luggage rack should go in the room. A luggage rack to keep your open bag doesn’t feel helpful when it’s crammed in next to your bed. A couple of extra square feet of space that allows you easy access to your things instantly makes you feel more at home. Some places have added benches or counter space that can fit up to two suitcases which is always great.
We want great natural lighting during the day and warm but ample indirect lighting at night. Please please please don’t have a single bright white overhead light in the middle of the ceiling. Also don’t have a lamp in the corner that floods the room like the sun. If there is a lamp please have it on a dimmer. I recently stayed at the Crowne Plaza HK36 in New York City and the lighting was awesome. There was LED light strips behind the TV and the headboard of the bed. Not only did this save space but it lit the room perfectly from both sides. Having light coming from both sides of the room, the tv and the headboard, was warm very pleasant. It was well lit and created a relaxing mood. (Led lights are so cheap, and use so little electricity that it feels like this could be an addition to lots of spaces that)
2a. Bedside Footlights
This is mostly something you'll only find in luxury hotels or some Marriott Vacation Clubs, but it's been such a welcome perk! We're just talking about a footlight on each side of the bed triggered by a motion sensor when you stand in front of it. During the day you’d never know it was there. At night when you step out of bed, the light turns on softly and you can get to the bathroom without tripping over anything. This is the kind of thing you experience and then think, I need that at home. If you did want to buy or make some yourself, the price is very reasonable.
3. Extra space on each side of the bed
A couple extra inches on each side on the bed go a long way with two people in the room. Will Christine and I both be able to stand up and not be nose-to-nose with a wall? Being able to stand up and stretch your arms up without hitting a wall is a wonderful thing.
4. Two sinks
When you can't have separate bathrooms from your spouse then two sinks in the bathroom is a good substitute. Maybe you know how much of a game-changer this can be for your end of the day comfort level as you’re not jockeying to brush your teeth.
5. A comfy bed with great pillows
King-size bed with new pillows that actually support your head. I’ve been to too many nice hotels this year and loved the room till I laid down and my head sank through the pillow and right onto the mattress. Great sleep makes happy guests! And if you're like me and allergic to down pillows and request foam pillows only to get into your room and find down pillows - hold the front desk accountable at reading your simple request.
6. A large television
50-inch smart TV's cost less than $200 at Walmart. And the wholesale price would of course be wayyyy cheaper than that. In 2023, the TV in every hotel room should be at least 50 inches. My perfect hotel room would have one that’s 55 inches, hopefully a bit more. Again, even at some beautiful high-end properties the TVs haven’t been updated in a looooong time. For the cost of the hotel room, I want a big tv to watch my fav shows on.
A lot of Hyatt properties now have a Google Chromecast built into the Smart TV. This is so great. Casting our favorite movies and TV shows from the apps on our phones to the TV has never been smoother. The addition of the built-in Chromecast is a gamechanger. Good job Hyatt. I tip my hat to you.
8. A second workspace, even if it’s a small table
This might not be for everyone but as Christine and I both work remotely having a second place to sit and work that’s not the couch has become something we look for. And sometimes there is a small space or table but not a good chair for it. We’ve asked several times if the hotel could bring us up another chair and they’re usually more than happy.
9. Lounge Access
Most rooms have a minifridge now. And yes it’s good to have that. But our perfect room doesn’t always need one. Because how many times have you actually eaten those leftovers you put in there? Uh-huh. Exactly. We prefer lounge access!
During Covid many properties closed their lounges. In 2022 lounges have started to finally open up. Lounges are great because you can get breakfast, come back and have a quiet place to work and grab a snack. Then around 5pm they set up some appetizers and the bar opens up. Depending on the brand you can get unlimited bottles of water, plus very basic snacks such as chips and nuts during the day and then in the evening the you can get egg rolls, nachos, soup, etc. If you are going to be around the hotel more and staying at a Ritz Carlton or Intercontinental then adding Club access can be a money saver and you can actually have 3 semi-full meals right in your lounge. However if you're staying at Grand Hyatt, Marriot, and/or Hilton property with a lounge you will only see a meals for breakfast and snacks (some heavier than others) during the day.
10. A comfortable couch
Last but definitely not least, our perfect room has a couch so comfortable that you can nap on it. There are certain hotels that have the same furniture no matter where you are in the country. And this furniture is not good. Let me rephrase, this furniture is not comfortable. What good is the big TV if you’re uncomfortable on the couch??? A comfortable couch or chair is a must.
That’s it for now. I’m sure there are a bunch more things that we could think of that would make this list but we’ll leave that for another day.
So how bout you? What would your perfect hotel room look like?