Top 10 Hotel Hospitality Must-Haves

I often mention to my husband that I’d love to have a pied-à-terre in the city. His answer is always the same.

“It’s called a hotel.”

Truth be told, if money were no object, I wouldn’t mind having an apartment in several cities, a condo on the beach and a cottage in wine country. Oh, and a staff to run them all. Too much?

Perhaps hotels really are the right answer, after all.

Recently I was contacted by the fine folks at Fairmont Hotels – West Coast asking for my opinion on “must-haves for staying at a hotel”.

So I got to thinking, what qualities would make for the ideal hotel stay?  What does perfect hospitality mean to me? What would it take to make a hotel seem like my very own pied-à-terre?

Cue the dream sequence music and cut to a scene of me arriving at my hotel in the complimentary limo.

Fairmont Hotel San Francisco

Fairmont Hotel San Francisco

The ideal hotel stay would begin as I stepped into the lobby. I’d be warmly greeted by the friendly and attentive staff. There would be no lines for check-in and moments later I would be heading to my room.

Once inside, I’d unpack into the plentiful dresser space and put my suitcase away. Out of sight, out of mind. No suitcase around because I “live” here!

Before heading out to explore the city/visit a winery/lounge in a poolside cabana, I would stop by to see the knowledgeable, helpful and patient concierge to get a recommendation for dinner.

Upon my return, I’d freshen up then pour myself a glass from the bottle of wine provided by the hotel (or a local vineyard). Of course my room would be equipped with a wine bottle opener and appropriate glasses. One would expect this of any civilized place, right?

After a delicious dinner (note to self: remember to thank the concierge!) and taking a pass on dessert, I would return to my hotel and end my evening enjoying an after dinner drink and cheese plate in the hotel bar.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

By the way, the after dinner drink would be wine from a comprehensive and impressive wine list. The bar would have ample choices of wines by the glass and know the proper temperature at which to store and serve wine.

But I digress…

Tucking into my room for the night, I would be greeted by the classic, always appreciated, never cliché chocolate on my pillow.

The perfect confectionary night cap.

After plugging my phone into one of the many available bedside outlets/USB ports, I’d sleep like a baby in my soundproof room.

The next morning, shortly after breakfast, I would head to the gorgeous hotel spa for a bit of relaxation and pampering.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

Back in my room, wrapped in the plush hotel robe after a shower, I would spend some time primping.

Drying my hair with the whisper quiet yet super-powerful hair dryer, I would make a mental note to visit the hotel gift shop to pick up some of the hotel’s signature shampoo and conditioner (produced locally) because they smell so darn good.

After all this, I’d be ready to enjoy another day. And another, and another and another.

I wouldn’t mind this particular version of Groundhog Day.

I’m asking a lot, right?

Hey, Fairmont posed the question, the least I can do is give an honest response.

Hotel Hospitality Must-Haves

Narrowing down my fantasy list, here are my top 10 hotel hospitality must-haves:

  1. Excellent customer service – Friendly, helpful, efficient. This is the foundation for everything.
  2. Drawer space. Hotels seem to be phasing out dressers of any kind. Why is this? I want to have room to unpack and not have to live out of my suitcase.
  3. Comfy robe. Do you know how much room my robe takes up in my suitcase?!?! Room that could be used for shoes!?!?!
  4. A good dryer. OK, I’m weird. I judge hotels by the quality of the hair dryer. My pet peeve? Dryers that sound like a jet engine but have as much wind power as a toddler blowing out birthday candles.
  5. Local products. Every hotel should offer a bit of their local flavor. Showcase what makes their location so special. A bottle of wine in Sonoma, some prickly pear candies in Scottsdale, a sea salt scrub on the coast, something like that. Remind me that I’m in Santa Fe and not Santa Monica.
  6. An excellent hotel bar – maybe rooftop? – with an excellent food and drink menu.
  7. A corkscrew in the room. Even if the hotel doesn’t supply a bottle of wine, I just might bring my own. Let me bring the corkscrew home as a souvenir and I guarantee I will use it (and see your logo) more often than I would a dumb pen. And glass glasses, please. No paper or plastic.
  8. Power, I need power!!! Specifically in the form of more readily accessible plugs with a couple of USB posts thrown in for good measure.
  9. The spa. Ahhhhhhh. Pampered guests are happy guests! May I share a little unsolicited, uncompensated, unsponsored,  advice? If you ever have the opportunity to stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, try the Watsu pool. My #1 favorite, most memorable spa experience EVER. Trust me.
  10. Finally, of course, chocolate on the pillow. It’s a little thing but a sweet way to end the day.

Now it’s your turn. Who wants to play along? What are your hotel hospitality must-haves? Your favorite luxuries?

(Please note that all of these opinions are my own and the only things I received from Fairmont are the photos to make this post pretty.)

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  1. My first experiences with travel began when I was 4 years old. I travelled to Expo ’67 in Montreal with my family. My uncle was a Monsignor in Canada so he had some good connections for accommodations for a large family…an empty seminary. Sink, cot, and Crucifix on the wall…shared dorm style bathroom. All of you luxuries are what I would look for today, if someone could come rub my feet at the end of the day that would be a coup de grâce. Love the post!
    Beemie recently posted…You’re cordially invited…My Profile

  2. Something to talk about at lunch…

  3. As the mother of a 12 and 8 year old, we MUST have a pool and we MUST have a hot tub that allows children. Then everyone’s happy!
    Katy recently posted…Thankful for LaughsMy Profile

  4. Must haves include a comfortable bed,free coffee and/or breakfast, and abundant towels. I stayed at the Fairmont Hotel in Montreal and it was fabulous! Apparently John Lennon stayed there! My husband works for the Fairmont Hotel actually,he is on a part-time basis now but we are familiar with the chain-he mentioned we should stay at their San Fransisco location next! Hope all is well!
    Deanna recently posted…Book Review: Accidental HappinessMy Profile

  5. #”s 1,4,6,8 and 10 are tops for me:)

  6. AMEN to Number 4! I’ve started bringing my own (travel-sized) hair dryer because what hotel rooms offer doesn’t cut it for my thick hair.
    Kathy G recently posted…Prayer of an Anonymous AbbessMy Profile

  7. I think you and I could be great travel-buddies! My requirement is a QUIET room. No noisy elevators, air-conditioners or rude people allowing their children to disrupt my peace.
    Leslie Anne recently posted…Comment on Haunted Baldwin County Alabama by CraftyHopeMy Profile

  8. Mo… when I used to work at a hotel part of my joy was to make baskets for the VVip’s. I would call the VIP’s secy and find out his/hers favorite things..i.e. Liquor, after shave, books, etc. I once made a basket of Clarins products worth beaucoup bucks for a VVip’s wife. I would be delighted to have that basket waiting for me!!

  9. I agree with everything on that list, especially the corkscrew and accessible power. And, I’ll add one – free internet!

    • Yes!!!! I don’t understand why the moderately priced hotels provide free wi-fi but the fancy pants hotels make you pay for 24 hours at a time. Usually I just “need” a half hour to an hour to check email, catch up on my blog reading and review celebrity news.
      Mo Lux recently posted…Top 10 Hotel Hospitality Must-HavesMy Profile

  10. I agree with all your suggestions….but I need a make-up mirror. Some hotels have the ones attached to the wall in the bathroom that have a light & a magnified mirror…a must have because the lighting is usually dim in the bathroom and with the higher vanities that are in vogue it’s hard to lean into the mirror to apply make-up! Also a full length mirror is nice!

  11. Yes and yes again! Quiet rooms would be near the top of my list and a variety of pillow firmness – I am not a fan of wimpy pillows! And it should go without saying, but sometimes it needs to be said: CLEAN. I hate when I’m paying big bucks and the cleaning is hit or miss.

  12. My #1 hotel must-have is a big bathroom sink counter plus cabinets or shelves underneath. #2 is bright, effective bathroom lighting. #3 is a tall upscale shower head with excellent water pressure. #4 is two long towel bars for bath towels. #5 is noisy heat and A/C to drown out my husband’s snoring.

  13. How about instead of noisy heat and air conditioning, we ask hotels to supply a white noise machine? Who needs a clock radio when we all use our phones as our alarm but falling asleep to the gentle sound of waves (vs. husband’s snoring) would be delightful.
    Mo Lux recently posted…Top 10 Hotel Hospitality Must-HavesMy Profile

  14. I am brand new here, but I had to chime in on this post. This reminds me of when I traveled to Key Biscayne, FL and stayed at the Ritz-Carlton there on the island. Looking back, I can say without hesitation that they nailed it to perfection! The food, wine, beautiful rooms which were very carefully considered had everything you could possibly want or need (my favorite: the tub and wonderful bed linens), and the wonderfully attentive, mannerly, and gracious staff. Lunch was spent outside right on the Atlantic ocean, and the afternoon was spent on the beach reading and getting some sun while hotel staff catered to my every whim (drinks, towels, magazines). After dinner was spent in their wood-paneled bar ensconced in a cozy leather-tufted chair. It was so very lovely and truly a relaxing getaway.

  15. great list, mo! chocolate is key! i remember my drunk friend slept on his chocolate and was wondering why he had chocolate in his hair.

    i like have an assortment of papers like the wall street journal. that’s a nice perk for me.
    catherine gacad recently posted…Dear Bloggers, Your Readers are Counting on YouMy Profile

  16. Great job, Mo! I am with you on everything you mentioned. I would only also toss in the need to have the tv clicker in a sealed bag – proof it was properly cleaned. Apparently they are the germiest things in a room …
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…Skating on Thin IceMy Profile

  17. I think you have done a fine job – and this on the heels of my week long stay at an uber fancy place in Jamaica. I have come to appreciate the robes – especially if they are super soft and cushy. I tend to judge hotels by their bathrooms and I LOVE the separate walk in shower and tub combo, throw in a TV which appears from nowhere in the mirror and I am in!
    But the little things are really nice, as you mentioned – real glassware is wonderful, as is in room coffee/tea. A complimentary bottle of wine would be lovely and it may be old school but I LOVE to get the local morning news paper. It lets you get a feel for the community and who knows, maybe find something really unusual to see or do!
    Laura Ehlers recently posted…Pssst, Buddy! Got Any of those ADHD Pills?My Profile

    • You are so right! I know that it all comes down to money but I lament the slowly disappearing “extras” that make a hotel stay special. Thankfully, the uber fancy places seem less inclined to cut back. Or maybe they just charge a little more and we don’t notice?
      Mo Lux recently posted…Top 10 Hotel Hospitality Must-HavesMy Profile

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