Chicken Scratches

What’s wrong with hotels

Anybody who needs to stay in hotels often knows there are certain areas where they could all do better. I tend to look at everything with an eye towards what could be improved. Here are some random thoughts on how hotels could be better. Some of these ideas are a bit far-fetched, but hey, that’s why I’m writing a weblog, not a manifesto.

More pricing logic

It sometimes seems like the cheaper a hotel is, the more services it provides. I’ve stayed in a broad range of hotels, from top of the line luxury suites to eight-cot-to-a-room hostels. Strangely, there are some areas where the lesser quality hotels actually do better. Why is it that when I pay $40 per night for a small family-run inn, there is personalized service and free wi-fi in every room, but in a hotel that charges $375 per night there is either no wi-fi available or it costs $20 extra? What are we actually getting for the higher price? Why do cheap hotels provide breakfast but expensive hotels don’t? It’s backwards.


After seeing watching a news report about hotel cleanliness issues, I’ve been a little bit paranoid about sanitation in hotels. A couple idea:

Get rid of the carpet

Carpeted floors are notoriously hard to clean. I don’t want to think about what kind of dirtiness people can leave on carpets that doesn’t get picked up by a vacuum cleaner. Get rid of the carpeted floor. Replace it with hardwoods, or if that’s too expensive, a synthetic material designed to not be too cold on our toes.

Auto-magically clean

Have you seen those coin-operated public restrooms in public cities that actually clean themselves after each use? Why can’t we refine this technology and use it for hotel bathrooms? When the maid comes in, he or she removes all the towels and paper products, closes the bathroom door, and presses a button. Instantly, the whole bathroom is sprayed with disinfecting detergent from a nozzle in the ceiling, rinsed, then dried with high-speed air jets.

Put the bed on hydraulic lifts to make it easy to clean underneath.

Instead of just layering a blanket on top of a sheet, use a large pillow-case-like wrapper for the whole blanket. Design the quilt with drawstrings to make changing the blanket case easy. There is nothing worse than tossing around at night and waking to realize the sheet has slid off the bed and you’re now face-to-face with someone else’s potential filth.


This should be obvious, but: free wi-fi. For everyone. Everywhere.

Provide an easy to use central control panel for things like the alarm clock, the thermostat, maybe even ordering room-service. Every hotel alarm clock has a different interface, leaving guests with no confidence they will actually wake up on time.

Digital thermostats for the showers. It takes me forever to get the temperature just right in an unfamiliar shower. I want to be able to just turn a dial or press a button for the exact temperature I need and let the electronics do the rest.

And more

The more I think, the more ideas I come up with. I know most of these will never happen, but it can’t hurt to dream, can it?

Feel free to add any ideas using the comment link below.

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