What’s A Hotel Room Worth?

The men in our family know the routine. Check into a hotel with one of us womenfolk and don’t pee, don’t unpack, don’t get comfortable. 

Why? It’s the dreaded This Room Isn’t Right syndrome. It’s hard to explain what makes us women want to change rooms so often. It isn’t any plan to be upgraded, more a matter of principle, that if a room in a good hotel is charging $$$, it should be as advertised.

When I checked into my room in Philadelphia, I was told I had a Junior Suite – a separate living room area, plus a large bedroom. I got to my room to find shreds of cardboard all over the floor, and flecks of black thread too, like what might come from someone’s socks. I called downstairs before unpacking and mentioned this and was told someone would come up promptly to vacuum. I waited and waited and while waiting I noticed that there was a stain on the carpeting, the bedskirt was ripped on one side, the end table had white paint on an edge – overall, the room looked abandoned, almost ready to be overhauled. I had to go out and as I left, I stopped by the front desk to tell them housekeeping could go in and vacuum, and mentioned at that time the room looked old and tired. No comment from the front desk.

I got back about an hour+ later and the room remained unvacuumed. I called downstairs and said I wasn’t happy that no one came up. They apologized profusely, offered me another room and I said yes. A bell man came to get my bag (****, see below) and moved me up quite a few floors to a much nicer room – not much bigger but looked newer and cleaner. The rest of my stay was perfect.

I get home to see an email from the Head of Housekeeping:

I am one of the Housekeeping Manager’s here at [I’m leaving out the name of the hotel] Philadelphia. I am emailing you to follow-up with you in regards to your stay with us. I wanted to extend my sincerest apologies that your original room that you had checked into was not vacuumed as thoroughly as it should have been and I am following up internally with our Ladies. I hope that the remainder of your stay was pleasant, your honesty and feedback is essential in continuing to improve the service we provide to our guests. What could we have changed to make your stay more desirable? Your opinion is valued and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

I wrote back:

Thank you for your nice note. Your staff was kind enough to move me to another room when my two requests to vacuum the carpeting did not bring anyone. Beyond all the debris on the carpet, the room was dingy. Like it needed a complete overhaul. The bed skirt was ripped. The bedside end table closest to the door was scratched  with white paint on the edges. There was a stain on the carpet under the window. The thermostat didn’t work very well. So I’m glad I got moved. I was very pleased with my stay. Thanks again for reaching out.

Then a response:

Thank you for your complete honesty. I understand that our product is becoming outdated and I am very happy to tell you that we are undergoing a complete hotel renovation starting as soon as next Monday, November 9th. The rooms will be split up between dates but you will definitely love the new rooms once they are turned over. Please feel free to reach out to me for any future stay and if there is a newly renovated room available at that time I would love to have you in one of those rooms. I am glad overall you enjoyed your stay and I look forward to seeing you again in the future.

Hmmmmm. That’s very interesting. So the hotel knows its rooms are outdated, knows that some (many?) need updating, yet I was assigned a room at full rack rate, a room that was about to be gutted, and they hoped I wouldn’t notice or care? I am also a card-carrying Rewards member in good standing, which alone should have eliminated the first room from where they put me. Isn’t that the whole point of the rewards plan?? To be rewarded, not punished?

I know the object of a hotel is to be fully booked but when the management knows that a room is undervalued because of its outdated appearance, it should be so-priced. Maybe someone would like a room that is dingy and worn if the price was right, maybe half the rack rate? In any event, management knew full well my room was one about to be redone yet the front desk staff was non-responsive when I told them the room was not up to the chain’s standards!

Here are my set of standards:

1. Cleanliness above all. That means, for me, a room doesn’t have to be massive or have a living room, but what it has in it should look brand new. Stains in a rug, or on a chair are a huge turnoff. Same with bedding, even if its the bedskirt.

2. A comfy chair, or two, in the room, with an ottoman. Lots of times after a long day of sightseeing, it’s good to plop down in a chair and take a power nap. Many today only have a chair at a desk, which means a nap has to be in the bed. I don’t like to do that.

3. A flat screen TV that has actual HD feed – not a flat screen that gets analog feed!

4. Plenty of charging outlets, especially at bedside.

5. Bathroom nightlights.

These two rooms, irregardless of their decor, would be okay for me. I don’t ever ask for a suite, but I do usually ask for a room one grade up from basic. And when I can, I look for a room on a Club Level. One of my favorite hotels is The Langham Pasadena, and their Club Level king rooms are perfection. That should be the gold standard. Not over the top. Just clean. neat. Quiet. What you expect to pay for.

A comfy chair. A bench at the end of the bed. Good quality lamps.


A bedside clock that can be dimmed!!!!



**** The bellman who came up to move me came at the request of the front desk, not by me, and he brought the luggage dolly and took my small suitcase and laptop bag for me. In the room he asked if I wanted my suitcase up on the luggage rack, etc etc, all the things a bellman would do when checking in of you so requested his service. But I did not. It was a courtesy gesture for the inconvenience of being moved.

Question: Would you have tipped him?

57 thoughts on “What’s A Hotel Room Worth?

  1. This is so funny. My wife, and her sister, are serial room changers. We just got back from a vacation in Canada and in all but one hotel, my wife found fault with the first room. I don’t know any men who have this idiosyncrasy. I try and be patient with my wife but I find the room changing unnecessary most of the time. In your case, it sounded justified. I like that your hotel management was communicative. That speaks well for them.

  2. Hey Peter, men are just as picky. My husband does all the hotel booking in our family and he likes the rooms to be Papa Bear right. When he travels for business, his company pays for serious upgrades that we normally don’t chose for our personal travel with the children but because he knows what can be had in a more expensive room, he feels a non-suite room should still reflect the chain’s desire to get things right. There’s a difference in getting what you pay for and being a nuisance room changer. I think EOS, your wife, and my husband are just looking for value.

  3. I agree with Anonamommy. Value is what consumers want today. I don’t need my hotel room to be grand, but I do expect it to be clean and updated.

    Off-topic: the italics font on the new theme of yours is next to impossible to read.

    1. Re the font: AGREE! It is HORRIBLE. It’s like reading hieroglyphics. The only way I could improve on the font choices is to pay WordPress for an upgrade that would allow me to choose my fonts. I regret to inform you that ain’t happening. But your point is duly noted and acknowledged.

  4. i hate that feeling of having to tip the bellman for moving you! And yes – we move almost always. Room is : too close to elevator bank (noisy) or…. it is a connecting room (noisy) and on and on.
    Curious: why do you want a a bench at the end of the bed?

    1. Being serial movers seems to be a greater trend than I expected. I wonder what percentage of hotel guests DO ask to be moved – 20%? More? I’d be curious to ask a hotel rep.

      Both Mr. EOS and I like a bench for putting on/off shoes – it’s an easier reach than from sitting down in a comfy chair. Not having a bench is not a deal breaker, but I do like it. The obvious reason not to have one is if the room is already small – then a bench becomes in the way or a trip hazard.

        1. I never put suitcases on furniture. Period. That’s what those folding luggage racks are for. Not thinking about bed bugs but I do think about what if there’a a hotel fire. I travel alone quite a bit and when I do I am just slightly paranoid. I keep my suitcase zipped. My purse on top of it. And on top of that, in a folded neat pile, clean clothes so if there is a fire and we have to exit quickly, I am ready. I do not do that however when traveling with Mr. EOS. I guess he’ll save me.

        2. I used to travel alone all the time for business and would do the same thing with my suitcase and clothes, ready in case of emergency. I don’t think that’s paranoid, merely practical.

  5. I would not have tipped the bellman. He knew the request was from management and therefore shouldn’t have expected a tip either. I bet you did tip him.

    We travel a lot and our platinum rewards status automatically upgrades us. But I do remember early on getting the lower end rooms that returning guests wouldn’t have. It’s never fun to have to move but I think asking for a move for the right reasons tells the hotel that travelers care what they get. I know people who change rooms FOR the explicit reason of getting something free.

    1. Uh oh. I did not tip him. Two reasons. One, that I didn’t ask for him and two, I only had $20s. I wasn’t about to hand him a $20 nor did I want to ask for change. I doubt he carries change. I felt like a real jerk not tipping him and thought about looking for him later and handing him a $5, but I didn’t.

    2. Hi there Dirk – we are also Platinum travelers. We have not been upgraded in years! They always say either that nothing is available (fully booked) or they say we booked at the top of our category and so they won’t move us to next category.

      1. Anon. We travel off-peak because nine times out of ten the resort is not fully booked and upgrades can be had. When we traveled with the kids at peak times, spring break or ski weekends, we’d get the same response you did. It’s all about numbers.

        1. Dirk – we just returned from off peak trip to St regis Bal harbour. Rooms 900 for standard. 1900 for our one bedroom suite. Not full. They said our suite was top of it’s category – and an upgrade would be to bigger suite/different category, so the answer was “no”. I should have complained I guess.
          they do not win repeat customers that way.
          THE MOST ANNOYING thing: sharing hot tub with health club employees attending a conference and you just KNOW they are paying 1/2 or less than you for their rooms!!

  6. I would not have tipped the bellman. You neither needed nor asked for him. He knew that or if he didn’t it’s still management’s problem.
    If you ask to see the room before you complete the check-in process the desk often just happens to find a better room that suddenly became available.
    A completely different topic but one that raises comments is my supermarket trip today. I needed a couple of carrots. I was happy to buy a pound but not three pounds, the only size available. I didn’t want the ‘baby’ carrots or the dirt covered highly expensive organic carrots. Left that market and went to another which did have carrots by the pound. It had loads of apples, too. From Washington state. Cute little containers of fresh, chopped herbs were from Australia. Isn’t domestic parsley good enough?

    1. I don’t think I’d be comfortable asking to see a room first. That says to me that you are looking for something to be wrong. I prefer to go under the assumption that the room is right, hope it is right, then call the front desk if something is awry.

      As for those big bag of carrots – Shoprite carried those gigantic bags of carrots I figured only horse owners would buy – who needs 100 carrots all at once otherwise? Agree that one pound bags are hard to find.

      I saw a Food Factory episode on “baby” carrots. It was awful to watch how they waste a perfectly good carrot to make those stubs.

      1. I’d ask only if I got a sense from the desk that my room wasn’t going to be one I’d choose under any circumstances. If I’m alone, I have more security preferences. The other side of the coin is being surprised by a much nicer room than expected or an upgrade. That has happened, too.

        1. I just thought of something- does anyone ever get the feeling the front desk person wants a 20 palmed to him/her/ZE?? I think so

        2. Funny you should say that. I read the blog The Points Guy who is an expert on all things travel, not just how to use your points. His readers are high end travelers as a rule and many of the readers made the same suggestion. It would never occur to me.

        3. Now that I’m thinking about it, I remember at La Quinta when we didn’t like our first room. a staff member drove us around in a golf cart showing us other room options until we said ‘this will do’. LaQuinta is a sprawling property so this method probably made sense.

    2. PS: Swanton: Even though there was no logical reason to tip the bellman, I still felt he wanted one, was looking for one, and was not too happy I didn’t hand him one.

      1. La Quinta, the tennis resort in Palm Springs, is where we were given a terrible room overlooking a service road. Husband and son had gone a couple of years prior and had a fabulous time so I was really looking forward to it. I don’t even remember the tennis, only that room. Nothing else was available- so I was told.

        1. I’ve heard many people say they had a horrible room there. Our first room was so dark you needed lights on in the middle of a sunny California day! The second room we were shown was on that big service road – there are a couple of busy ones running through the resort but we finally settled on a second story number, pretty quiet. We always had trouble parking our rental car – and some rooms were a long walk from any parking lot. I think the whole resort could stand a major overhaul.

  7. I’m not a complainer by nature until I get to a hotel. There’s something so annoying entering a room that management knows is the least sellable but for which they charge full rate. I don’t ask for an upgrade but I do ask for a better located room and that usually ends up being an upgrade because of what Anonymous above mentioned: not next to the elevator or ice maker.
    I get the worst rooms when traveling alone. Maybe they figure women won’t complain?
    I would not have tipped the bellman.

  8. I think you were justified in asking for a new room. As an FYI, “irregardless” is not a word in the English language, just drop the “ir” and you are fine.

    PS, wife is a room changer too. You are not alone.

    1. yup – regardless is the correct way to say it. The ir in front of it is….. redundant. Lots of people say it.

      1. I’m reading about it now and you are right. Doink. I’m thinking I meant irrespective.

        Irregardless probably grew out of a combination of the words regardless and irrespective, and it’s been used ever since the 18th century as a humorous or over-emphasized version of regardless. If you want to be taken seriously, though, leave off the ir- at the beginning.

    2. Saw the notes below. Now if I could get Walt and Fountain to put the period inside the quote, I could claim victory!

  9. my wife and i recently celebrated a big anniversary by going to las ventanas in cabo mexico. i did the hotel booking and made sure to tell reservations this was an anniversary and we wanted a quiet room location. i was confirmed in an oceanfront junior suite. much to our horror when we arrived, they told us they were overbooked for the weekend and had no suites for us. none. the best they could do was give us a room in the back facing nothing. i complained but they wouldn’t budge. rather than have it ruin our vacation completely, i asked how they might compensate us otherwise. they sent us a note later saying they would comp us a week of the full american plan – three meals a day for which they normally charge about $150/pp a day, and they would also include our drinks. it was about an $1800 value that we couldn’t refuse. we drank ourselves into oblivion that week, on the house. it was an excellent gesture. we found out later than an arab sheikh wanted almost the whole hotel, our room was one of the ones given to him. i often wondered if they asked the dude to pay for all the losses the hotel would incur from angry clients like us.

    1. Austin – we’ve eaten at Las Ventanas and therefore we know first hand you got a fabulous deal!!!!!! One dinner, three of us, in the $350-$450 range. Las Ventanas is a gorgeous resort.
      I’m glad your story had a happy ending.

  10. I did a lot of traveling around the US in the 1980s for work, and was shown enough substandard hotel rooms to diagnose the situation: “Woman Traveling Alone.” Was that your situation in this jaunt? Or maybe “Two Women Traveling Together”?

    I guess hotel management often did (does?) conclude that women don’t have the … chutzpah? … gumption? … b*lls? … to say This Is Not Acceptable.

    I still recall the Chicago room with a rug that looked like a puppy had been housebroken there. The ground floor La Jolla room immediately adjacent to an active construction site. The Beverly Hills room furnished like something from a theater set for a traveling salesman’s room in Albany in the Depression. Most annoying, these were all hotels with standing arrangements with the *big shot* company I worked for. But, hey, they figured they’d get away with it anyhow. Too bad … Once I wised up I always prevailed. So — good for you for your persistence!

    1. These days I can’t IMAGINE any hotel having the “woman alone” or “women traveling together” attitude. And the women I see traveling alone are quite comfortable doing so, even for personal travel, not just for business. Or at elast they give off the appearance of being comfortable, even though in certain instances it is not. Eating breakfast alone is one thing when you can have your nose in a newspaper or on your phone and look productive, but a women alone out to dinner takes strength to a whole new level. If I am alone, I eat a late lunch and skip dinner so I don’t have to go out or even downstairs in the hotel restaurant alone at night.

      Maybe its because all the women in my family are all very strong willed, the idea of not saying something is foreign to me. That doesn’t mean I always get what I want. Like most of us, I have had my share of rooms that could make it in a blog of You Wouldn’t Believe This. Construction is a big issue at hotels now, and most of them make it known well in advance that there is active renovation going on.

      1. Agree with you about the woman-eating-dinner-alone situation. I used to sorta solve it by going to the hotel dining room (or something comparably dull nearby), still in my bidness clothes, on the very early side, like 5-ish, when the place was still 98% empty. Even so, I often had to request a better table than I was initially shown … “May I have a table farther from the rest room / bussing station / kitchen door / storage area.”

        Now, when on my own, I still eat dinner on the very early side but usually eat at the bar. A benefit of being in my 60s … I mean, what, I’m trying to hit on someone or they’re gonna hit on me? Yuh, I don’t think so. Plus I get to watch the game or the news. Then I’m gone, before my barstool becomes valuable real estate.

    1. Yes, it can be overkill and I do think lots of people ask for no other reason than to get something for nothing. I never asked for an upgrade. I only asked for a room that was actually clean, and that ended up being an upgrade.

      1. I didn’t mean you. I meant in general people who want an upgrade tend to demand, not ask. The worst offenders are the airplane upgrade me crowd. Vicious lot.

      1. I am Jewish. I did not laugh. This guy gives Jews a bad name. What he’s doing essentially is stealing. He gets all of this stuff for free he thinks because he is a moronic idiot. Anytime someone gets a “deal” or a “steal” the corporation he is getting it from raises prices for everyone else. It’s called fraud. Disgusting. Sorry you guys were laughing at his handle. I was happy to see he has less than a million views.

        1. You are right and I should apologize. The humor I found in his moniker and video was in its absurdity. Not in any way shape or form of it being clever or appropriate. You are also right that he’s a con artist. Although I will say he doesn’t represent any Jewish person I know and I assume others viewing the video will laugh it off as pathetic.

        2. Thanks for apologizing EOSr. You’re a good person. He’s gross and I loved what you said about his mother not being proud. Jewish moms stereotypically want their kids to be doctors, not swindlers. Since I grew up Catholic I get to sensitive about TWO religions 🙂

        3. Toonces: Take any ethnic group and there’s a video of someone doing things that offend. Irish, Italian, you name it, there’s an ass not representing his culture well. This guy is a joke so laughing at him is what he deserves. To take him seriously would be offensive.

        4. I appreciate your view anonamommy but respectfully disagree. He plays to a stereotype and it is not funny at all. He’s disgraceful, not funny. To laugh is to egg him on. I don’t laugh at people robbing a store and gloating about it – this is essentially the same thing – just done in fine clothes.

        5. Toonces: I’m with Anonamommy on this one. Would EOS be offended by the Jersey Shore cast who “represent” her Italian roots? I don’t think so. She’d understand they are a sad caricature of a culture and laugh.

          I see where you are coming from Toonces but Justin is a comic book character. What he’s doing is offensive to his parents but not to his religion.

        6. My guess is that you, Jane and Anonmommy are not Jewish. Italians were never thrown in ovens by the millions. So, yes this *is* different. Hitler had ads claiming that Jews swindled people and were dishonest. This was part of the campaign to get Germans to go along with the round up of the jews and the subsequent murders. It’s not funny.

  11. But now that I have mentioned Hitler, this discussion is now over :). Godwin’s law
    Unless of course Walt, I mean Anonymous, comes by and comes up with phrases for other groups of people to compete with Jew Jetter and convince me otherwise.

    1. Toonces –

      I am not Jewish, and I didn’t laugh either. Because it wasn’t funny. That offended me. Would it have offended me more if I was a Jew? I don’t think so. If it was funny, would it have offended me if I was a Jew? Again, I don’t think so.

      People have a problem with perceived “negative” stereotypes, but “positive” stereotypes are OK. Well, who decides what is a positive or negative stereotype? If you make a joke about blacks being good at basketball, or Kenyans always winning the marathon, no one cares. If you make a joke about them being criminal, you can cause an uproar. One “negative” stereotype is that the “Jews control Hollywood”. Is that true? I really don’t know. But a few actors took some heat for implying it is. And why is that bad? I wish I controlled Hollywood. There would be a casting couch, and I would have no apologies for it. MAKE ALL THE JOKES YOU WANT!!

      I think….I THINK you enter the danger zone when topics are taken off limits, are above sarcasm or criticism. Like the Muslims do. It’s wrong. The black community is entering that zone, and it’s dangerous. Almost ANY honest criticism can result in a claim of racism, and stifle free speech.

      Do I think some humor can be in bad taste or go too far? Certainly, but it needs to be allowed. I find a lot of stereotypical humor very funny. All humor has a bite to it, or it’s not funny. It may sting a little. But I don’t think it is meant with malice. And I think MOST people take it for what it is.

      This guy thought he could use “Jew Jetting” because he was a Jew, and it was funny. I think he is wrong on both counts. You needn’t be a Jew to say “Jew Jetting” and his stuff just wasn’t funny.

      A positive Jewish stereotype is they have a wonderful sense of humor, and they do. So I don’t think they want “protected class” status because of the Holocaust.

      This is probably a longer answer than you wanted, but this is an important topic. And have you found a decent bagel in Greenwich yet, because I haven’t.

      Anyhows, why do Jewish men have to be circumcised? Because a Jewish women won’t touch anything unless it’s 20% off!!

      Your Pal,

      PS – Godwinism is a myth

      1. Thank you Wa…. Anonymous! You are so special – either incredibly hilarious or thoughtful. I read your post twice and agree 100%. Mr. unfunny JewJetter had every right to post his video – and I guess some will find it funny and it’s ok! And I am allowed to tell them I think they should not find it so funny and why. And it is all good and free speech. And I can start a sentence with And if I want to. You’re so right though – a positive stereotype is usually acceptable, negative ones, not so much. Thanks for responding Oh Funny One. No good bagels in Greenwich that I’ve found but I make a mean latke and you’re welcome anytime 🙂

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