Front Desk

Joe got it half right

Respected travel journalist Joe Brancatelli wrote a column I found in yesterday's Washington Post on his wish list of things he'd like to see in hotels. His point, which has some merit, is that many hotels are too concerned with "pillow menus, chocolate concierges and signature fragrances" and aren't paying attention the basics of hotelkeeping.

In general, I disagree with his thesis. Thanks to the Heavenly Bed revolution, most hotels and hotel companies actually pay slavish attention to the real basics: the bed, the bath and guest technology. Nonetheless, I agree with several items on his wish list; he's all wet about a couple of things, however. Let's start with those.

He wishes hotels had in-room coffeemakers. I don't know where he stays, but I can't remember the last property I was in that didn't have them. And, in fact, many chains, e.g., Loews, and hotels are in a race to see who can't install the fanciest coffeemakers with the most prestigious coffee roasts. He also estimates that half of hotels in the U.S. don't have power outlets and Internet jacks in easy proximity to the guestroom desk. I've been in a few—but only a few—properties in which I had to crawl around to find the jacks I need. Again, Joe's wrong about this one.

Now those items with which I agree: the need for hooks to hang garment bags, reasonably priced minibar items and TV channel lineups that include an array of news channels and not just Headline News.

Is the industry perfectly in tune with the needs and wishes of all its guests? Certainly not, but most hotels are much better equipped with the amenities and goodies that really please guests. And for me, anyway, I can't wait to check into the plushness of a modern hotel room, particularly after negotiating the torture that is air travel.

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