My Top 6 “Must-Have” Hotel Amenities

In my daily work life I help clients with their business travel; I get first hand reports on their likes, dislikes, the quirks and the nuances of their travel and what is important to them. In my personal/business playground (hooray for R & D) I aim to experience on behalf of my clients. It’s one thing to have an on-demand butler but I’m talking about some of the basic, must-haves we have come to expect as standard when staying at a hotel. For some it’s in-room coffee, for others the daily paper. Whether you are traveling for business or leisure, the hotel you sleep at can truly enhance your travel experience. Whoever said hotels don’t matter, “you’re hardly in the room” was wrong!

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 Here are my top 6 must-have hotel amenities.

6. Continental Breakfast:

This one receives an honorable mention because while it is a highly valued amenity, the reality is that many premium hotels do not offer a complimentary breakfast.

These days, we are lucky to pay for a good breakfast; on average $20 to $25 for a generous and delicious breakfast at a luxury hotel is fair.  But, unfortunately, many places fall short in this department. For this reason it is a notable plus when a property does offer a complimentary continental breakfast.  Even if a light meal of coffee, fruits and pastries, it certainly helps to get prepared for the day ahead.

5. In-room Digital Concierge:

You know, those multi-outlet devices equipped with USB plug-ins, usually formatted into a desk or nightstand, where you can plug in multiple devices at once? It’s a small detail but one that elevates the technological know-how and ability of a hotel. How many times have you checked into your room only to spend the first 10 minutes looking behind drapes, nightstands and headboards for the nearest place to charge your mobile phone, laptop or tablet? In an age of convenience, having your device charging within arm’s reach is one that is valued (especially if, like I do, you use the alarm clock on your mobile device!).

4. Bathrobe & Slippers:

This may not seem essential but think again. When you are pacing around your room getting ready to go out or stepping out of the shower, walking around on the cold bathroom tile, it’s nice to have slippers to keep your feet warm and clean. Likewise, the robe is a nice detail to keep you cozy in the usually cool, air-conditioned temps of a hotel room.  In a luxury hotel, lounging in the robe is an experience in itself!

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3. Gym on-site:

This is hugely important for many of my business travelers. Being frequently on-the-go makes staying fit and healthy a major challenge. Whether staying at a hotel for business or leisure, many guests appreciate the opportunity to squeeze in a workout when possible, even if an abbreviated session. Add fresh towels and water in the gym and you’ve got a major plus!

 

 

2. Complimentary Bottled Water:

Yes, it sounds simple. I believe this is an underrated amenity, one taken for granted. But for most travelers, it is hours from the time they actually get up, go to the airport, board a plane, factor in flying time and transport from the airport to the hotel; by the time we check into our rooms we are tired, spent and thirsty. When most hotels charge $5 to $10 for a bottle of water, it is remarkable and refreshing to find complimentary bottled water in a hotel room. In my book of travel, this a huge plus that never goes unnoticed.

1. Free WiFi:

My number one must-have! Some hotels do generously extend complimentary WiFi to their guests but it seems on average hotels charge $12 to $15 per day. Also trending is a tiered-service-plan in which guests can access basic service for free (good for checking social networks and email) while others requiring a greater bandwidth are charged a fee. This seems a little more reasonable for us social media geeks but when anyone can access free WiFi at the local coffee shop or public library, it is surprising this is not a standard guest amenity at most hotels. It should be, don’t you agree?

There you have it, my round-up of top, essential must-haves when lodging at a hotel, our “home away from home.”  What are your standards for hotel travel?

Mexico City in the Spring – One of Four Seasons

If you have never been to Mexico City I highly recommend it. Warm people, great food and much to see from Aztec ruins to modern art, the city offers something to satisfy any palette. The best part for me: it’s just a 3 hour flight from LAX!

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With the right planning it’s possible to enjoy the best even for those of us with more moderate budgets. During the spring the Four Seasons Hotel offered a “stay 2 nights get 1 free” package that made for a very reasonable average nightly rate. In addition, the Signature Travel Network offers guests (of select travel agencies only) bonus amenities such as complimentary upgrades (if available), free WIFI and $100 hotel credit , perfect for lunch al fresco in the lush courtyard or the fabulous breakfast buffet including a massive spread of fresh juices, traditional Mexican dishes, fresh fruits, pastries…you name it, the hotel provides it. 

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ImageThe last time I visited the city I stayed in a dorm room at a guest house run by Quakers. But that story will have to be for another time. If you have been there, how do you enjoy the city? Do you take the metro, taxis, buses?