Hotel pros and cons and why I forget

I stay in a lot of hotels. In general, it is not an exciting experience. People, whom I encounter, who have no experience of business travel, think that it is like being on vacation all the time. Staying in a hotel is generally an OK experience. Indeed, I find most hotels amazingly forgettable – possibly within minutes of checking out. For the most part, I only remember a hotel if it is very bad [and there have been a handful of those over the years] or it is exceptionally good [and, I am pleased to say, a few are].

However, I might remember a place because they made a brave effort …

This week I am traveling and stayed in a couple of hotels. One of them [which I am not going to name or even say which city it is in] was, for the most part very nice. The room was comfortable, there was a bar with a reasonable atmosphere and a health suite with a nice pool. Overall, there was nothing to complain about. But what makes a hotel special is its attention to detail and a few things stand out in this place.

Internet connectivity in hotels is very variable. I expect to get a reasonable WiFi connection at no charge and I am rarely too disappointed nowadays. This hotel offered a free service, with limited performance, but it was good enough for me. I connected with my iPad and it required me to enter my room number and name. Once I was connected, I never needed to log in again. So far, so good – it is very hassle free. I connected my phone too and that was fine. Later, when I went to connect my laptop, the system announced that I could only connect two devices to the free service. I thought that this was an unreasonable constraint. I am unlikely to be using the Internet from more than one device at any time. I was traveling alone, but, if I travel with my wife, I can easily imagine us having 7 Internet connected devices between us and I do not think that we are particularly unusual.

Although I like hotels which have contactless keys, which just need to be in close proximity to the lock, this place had the next best thing – a swipe card. These are just fine when they work and mine did work flawlessly. I was surprised, when I first tried to charge something to my room, to be asked for my key card in stead of my name and room number. They swiped it and a check was printed which included my name and room number. This was quick and efficient, which was pleasing. However, I realized that the design has a fatal flaw. If I lost my key or it was stolen, until I noticed and reported the loss [which could be a while], someone could easily make charges to my room, as I did not see how they could verify a signature. Worse still, having made a charge, the illegal possessor of my key would see them room number on the check and pay a visit. Although I never assume that a hotel room is impregnable, this would be rather too easy.

There is some good news. They fixed something that I find very irritating. At almost all hotels, to request “Do not disturb”, I need to hang a card on my door handle. These almost always blow off as I open the door and I have to bend down to replace it. Not a big deal, but annoying nevertheless. These guys have the problem nailed. Above the door handle is a small magnetic disk.

Evernote Snapshot 20151201 175219

On the top of the DND card, there is another one.

Evernote Snapshot 20151201 175220

The magnet is powerful enough to hold the card in place however briskly I opened the door.

Evernote Snapshot 20151201 175220.1

Well, at least they got something right …

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2015/12/03/hotel-pros-and-cons-and-why-i-forget/