I’ve been in and out of three different hotels this month. And it’s really got me thinking about my ideal hotel must-have list.
Because…you start to experience the features of one particular hotel, and you think, “Now really…why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?” For example, at the Crowne Plaza City Centre in Tel Aviv, there was an electric outlet IN THE SAFE. I never realized I needed an electric outlet in my in-room safe until I found myself with a dead laptop and a day’s worth of meetings. No problem. I just locked the laptop in the safe, all plugged in, and when I came back to the hotel, it was all charged up. (Thereby freeing me to work from the bar downstairs, with a glass of Israeli white.) I repeated this in-safe charging experience with my Canon G11. And my Canon 350D. And my iPhone. And my iPad. It was awesome.
Another example: At Tel Aviv’s Crowne Plaza City Centre, the hotel was right across the street from a grocery store. A big one. This was fantastic because I was able to buy a box of granola bars and a bunch of bananas and–voila–no disgustingly expensive hotel breakfast to worry about.
Ah, and did I mention that this hotel had a full Holmes Place gym on the 10th floor? No dinky hotel gym here. This was the real deal. And IT WAS FREE.
The only downside to the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv? Internet was expensive. EXCEPT if you listened to Bernie at the front desk and learned that there was an unsecured wireless hotspot in the hotel bar, but only if you sat close by the windows. Unfortunately, the signal strength was such that it took 36 hours to download The Life of Brian. But it was fine for e-mail.
In Chile, I stayed three nights at the Sheraton Vina del Mar. As you can see, the hotel rooms are a bit old-school. Clean, but old school. (That being said, the bathroom shower suffered from poor tile work. And mildew.) I liked it here because the hotel gym was free and the spa was open until 10:30 pm. Unfortunately for me, they couldn’t fit me in. I also liked it here because they provided slippers. I am a sucker for hotel slippers.
The last place I laid my head this month was the Radisson in Santiago. I got an awesome rate of $135 per night, and given that it was the #6 hotel on Trip Advisor, I thought I would give it a whirl. Here’s why I liked it:
1. Seamless free wifi everywhere. Honestly, I was always connected. Some hotels say free wifi, but the moon needs to be full on the 3rd Thursday of the month for the stars to actually align and the wifi connection to be clear. Not so here at the Radisson. Seriously…totally free wifi, totally everywhere. The gym, the breakfast room, the elevator. Someone at the hotel knows what they’re doing.
2. A very good gym with fantastic views out over Santiago and the mountains.
3. Free breakfast. With tortilla. I am a sucker for breakfast tortilla. Ah, and queso fresco.
4. Some of the nicest hotel staff I’ve ever encountered. And you know I stay in a lot of hotels. I checked in around 9:30 am on Thursday and my room wasn’t ready. They told me to head to the breakfast room and help myself. (I have an oil painting of that happening in America, the land of supposedly good service.) I questioned my bill at the end of my stay and they immediately gave me the hotel manager’s card and told me that if I got back to the US and had any questions or problems, I should contact the hotel manager immediately. And most importantly…they remembered my name. This has not happened to me at a hotel since I stayed at the Four Seasons in San Francisco a few years ago. I love it when hotel staff remember my name. (Although it weirds me out when they call me Mrs. N because I start looking around for my mother.)
5. THEY SENT ME A PERSONAL E-MAIL AFTER MY STAY. Thanking me for my feedback. (I filled out their standard hotel survey online.) No form letter here. This was the real deal.
So–I’m in the midst of compiling my list of hotel must-haves. Omnipresent wifi, a good gym, FREE SLIPPERS, free breakfast, a safe that fits a laptop…
What else? What are your hotel must-haves? (Or well, the hotel things that you think are super cool.)