Here it is again, T+L’s annual Hotels issue, with its centerpiece feature revealing our editors’ selection of the most noteworthy properties that have opened during the past year (“It List”). These 45 hotels and resorts share a distinctive sense of arrival: you know right away that you’ve traded in the everyday for a new and different world, but beyond this, they range widely—from the drama of Amangiri, built (literally) into the sandstone canyons of Utah, to the gleaming surfaces and sweeping skyline views of the Upper House, in Hong Kong. To find out what’s next, we fast-forward with writer Karrie Jacobs to “The Hotel Room of the Future,” where you will gain insights from leading architects and designers. This got me thinking, hotel habitué that I am, about my own vision for the rooms I’d like to stay in—and not a moment too soon, given my roster of upcoming trips. So, herewith, my list of recommendations to hotel-room designers everywhere:
Bring back those good old-fashioned on-off light switches, or why not try some simple, intuitive control panels? No more struggling to learn a new I.T. language! No more dressing or brushing in the dark because you can’t find a way to turn on the closet or bathroom light! Isn’t lighting, at heart, supposed to be about seeing?
And while we’re on the subject of lighting, I’d like to request that special attention be paid to the bedside area, so people like me (who read before sleeping) can avoid tracing circles in the air with a book, Kindle, or iPad searching for that elusive beam of light. What’s more, how about an accessible, easy-to-find switch that will enable me to control in-room and bedside illumination without contorting or rising?
On to bathrooms: no more scary tubs, please! A colleague’s jet-lagged husband recently fell into one in the middle of the night while trying to navigate his quarters at a hotel he frequents on business trips to Asia. I won’t go into details, but it’s not a pretty story.
Here’s a big question: Why are shower caps and terry-cloth slippers disappearing from some five-star hotels? It’s bad enough I have to bring my own soap, shampoo, and body lotion because hoteliers assume I like the scented stuff from luxury brands. Shower caps and slippers are pretty basic amenities.
Outlets: I don’t want to spend even a second more on my hands and knees under a desk looking for a place to plug in my laptop or chargers. And please give me a power strip—preferably one that can accommodate the two-pronged North American plug. It’s also time to rewire the bathrooms for more than shavers. Why not make it easy for us to use our clothes steamers (I always travel with one), hair dryers (I rely on the hotel’s), or any chargeable device, for that matter?
Climate control that works: Fix your air-conditioning and heating problems, and give those hotel engineers a break!
Finally, stop making me pay for my Internet connection, and while we’re on the point, make sure it’s wireless. This is the future not only of hotel rooms, but of civilization as well.
Of course, you’ll find much more about the ins and outs of hotels in the pages of our June issue: whether about the new incarnation of that ancient rite of passage—checking in—or the allure of the hotel bar; or an update on online review sites; or navigating loyalty programs and hidden fees. And, finally, we offer a report on a hotel alternative: a National Trust cottage for rent that takes you far away from the electronic and digital dilemmas we have just examined and back to a future that might, for some readers, be welcoming indeed.
Where to Find Me