Monday, March 3, 2014

My Hotel Rating System: Stars are not sufficient!

Here's my first stab at a more complete hotel rating system, let me know if I'm missing anything. It's not in a great "checklist" form, yet, but I tried to put more explanations in.
  • Quiet room - 15 points possible (yes, this can be negative)
    • If the hotel is in a city, near an airport or busy highway: do the windows sufficiently block noise?
    • There should be no gap under the door. If the hotel can fit the bill or GOD FORBID a newspaper UNDER your door, you will not be able to get sleep. -5 if there is a gap big enough for a bill, -10 if a newspaper could fit.
    • If there is an adjoining room, is the adjacent door relatively soundproof? I should not be able to hear my neighbors speaking in normal voice tones, nor be able to identify the TV show they are watching. -10 if this adjoining door is not sound dampened.  Hint: hollow core doors are NOT acceptable.
    • Are the pneumatic closers on the bedroom doors quiet or result in door slamming?
    • Are hallway floors dampened? For example, with carpets or rugs. Or, do you have an echo chamber?
    • I'd better not be able to hear the ice maker. Put those things in a closet or only in the lobby.
  • Wifi/networking - 15 points available
    • If you advertise yourself as a "connected" hotel or mention "high speed Internet in the room" - you MUST have wifi. Wired only is not acceptable.
    • I should be able to read email, twitter, facebook and other web browsing without significant delays or drops. The hotel should reasonably expect 2 connected devices PER ROOM. If you're hosting a technical conference, assume 5 connected devices per room.
    • I should not have to type "I agree" to your terms and inane services more than once a day.  Who do these "agreements" actually protect?  Couldn't the hotel just post a notice on your key card and save me the annoyance?
    • If I pay for 1 day of network access, that needs to be 24 hours from when I pay for it - not 24 hours from when I checked in.
  • Clean room - 10 points available
    • Pillows should not be dusty/musty.
    • Blankets/duvets/comforters should be clean.
    • Spare pillows/blankets should be stored in bags to keep dust mites out.
    • Other items are assumed to be clean.
  • Environmental policies - 10 points available
    • If you have signs up in the room saying the sheets are only changed every 3 days and towels left hanging up will not be changed: is your cleaning staff aware of these policies?
    • Does your cleaning staff leave 1/2 used amenities (like soap and shampoo) or replace items every day? (I once had a maid cleaning my room while I was there throw out a bar of soap that she saw me open and use once. She knew it was new, because she had just thrown out the "old" one.)
    •  Do you have cream, sugar, sweetener, etc - packaged separately or in a "combo pack" that gets thrown away if one item is used?
  • Well lit room - 5 pts
    • Mood lighting is great, except when I'm trying to find that black charging cable.  You should have a ceiling mounted light in addition to bedside and table lamps.
  • Counter space in the bathroom - 5pts
    • Fancy designer "pedestal" sink? Subtract 20 points. I need somewhere to put my toothbrush, face wash, contact lenses, makeup, etc.
  • Easily accessible outlets - 5pts
    • Can't be filled with your devices, nor "worn out" (loosey goosey so that plugs just fall out)
  • Usable shower - 5pts
    • Shelves to put things like mini shampoo and conditioner, that don't just slide off and hit my feet.
    • Good water pressure, high enough to get my head under.
    • If shower curtain is properly employed, I should not get water everywhere.
  • Amenities - 5pts
    • Coffee pot in room?
    • Shampoo, conditioner *and* lotion? (Note: "Shampoo plus conditioner" is a joke for people with long hair).
  • Pillows and bedding - 10pts
    • Some people love feather pillows, but I'm allergic so foam should be readily available (in the closet in a sealed bag).
    • Some folks love a squishy pillow, some need more firm. If there are 4 pillows on each bed, at least 2 should be firm and 2 soft.  All four the same is going to leave 50% of your guests unhappy. 
    • Duvet/comforter/blanket should NOT be made of feathers, unless alternatives are readily available (calling to front desk is okay).
  • Desk/task chair - 5pts
    • If you're advertising yourself as a business hotel, you should have an adjustable hight/pitch chair.
  • Hair dryer - 5 pts
    • 1 point if you only have the super compact ones that eat long hair in the most painful manner
    • 4 points for full sized hair dryer (okay if it needs to be requested).
  • Sufficient mirrors - 5pts
    • Assuming that one person might be wanting to do things like blow-dry their hair while someone else is using the toilet, have a mirror outside if the bathroom
I have a whole separate rant on disabled rooms as well, from traveling with disabled relatives (I'm sure their list would be longer):
  • Disabled people like nightstands, too, as they also wear glasses, have a cell phone, etc.
  • Disabled rooms should be available with a second bed for a care taker, who is not necessarily their spouse.
  • Disabled people have things like toothbrushes, glasses, contacts, makeup, etc, too - give them counter space in the bathroom!
  • Disabled showers should drain and not run over, as it turns out people with disabilities don't like water every where and all over their stuff, either. 
  • Are the doors to and in the room easy to open for someone who may not have "normal" muscle strength and agility?
  • Remember: you can meet the letter of the law and still have a completely unusable room for both those with physical disabilities and those without.  Would you want to sleep in this room?  Could you take care of an elderly or disabled relative in this room?  If not, rethink your design.
    • An example room in the Travel Lodge in Bath, UK: no counter space in bathroom, no nightstands, no closet (just a rack, as apparently they didn't think disabled people could open a door?), an extremely heavy fire door (but they could open that thing?), no tables in the room and no suitcase rack.  We took furniture from the lobby to give my folks somewhere to put medication, glasses and phones to charge that wasn't the floor.
Any additions to either list? Would you weight other items more heavily?