The weirdness of hotels

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It might seem a little against the grain in this age of Airbnb and in-the-know private rental sites, but I've come to love hotels. Even the most basic have a comforting anonymity about them, which can soothe the over-stimulated brain. At the same time, hotels are the most idiosyncratic of places and the harder they try, it seems, the quirkier they get....

Hotels that keep theirs hidden

In which you find yourself moving through the room like a mime artist hoping to trigger something with the palms of your hands, assuming everything must work on laser sensors. Where’s the light-switch? Where’s the mini-bar? How do you open the curtains? Where’s the wardrobe? Where’s the mini-bar? Where’s the remote control? Where’s the mini-bar?

Hotels that have missed the point of mini-bars

‘In the mini-bar you will find a selection of complimentary snacks and soft-drinks’. I’ve just travelled eight hours to get here and handed my life savings to the taxi-driver. I wish for a hard drink.

Hotels that are so hip the reception is the the bar…

They have shelves full of classic vinyl in the lobby that you can play on the RECORD PLAYER IN YOUR ROOM. People are lounging around on Charles Eames chairs flicking through Monocle magazine because, ‘this is not really a hotel but a bespoke life-style experience.’ The only thing you need to feel comfortable in a place like this is a beard, an ironic Sailor Jerry tattoo, and a suitcase full of cool.

Hotels that rock like it’s 1978

A small plate of imperial mints on the pillow. It's the little things that count. Hotels that think you’re a (very petty) thief I am not going to steal your coat hangers. Really.

Hotels that have a floor where nobody goes….

The receptionist can barely bring herself to inform you about the business lounge on the 21st floor where tea and coffee making facilities await, and free Wi-Fi, should you need it. She knows she’s wasting her breath. But one day, on a whim, you decide to have a look. It is empty, the air is a little fusty, and it’s clear that you’re the first person to tread the carpet since the hotel opened in 1998. There is a sad optimism about the place that makes you want to plump up the cushions. Reassure the business lounge that it hasn’t been a complete waste of time. Nice view, too. Shame….

Hotels that really want you to feel at home…

The television knows my name. It wants me to have a pleasant stay. Why does make me feel like reading Death of a Salesman?

Hotels that have run out of ways to pander to your needs...

I've heard of eating the pillow, but a Pillow Menu is surely taking things a bit far....

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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