5 Things that Make a Hotel Great

by Karen Kwan

I’m a staycation newbie. I’m talking about a proper staycation, which I think involves staying in a hotel in your hometown. To be honest, if I’m going to spend vacation money, I’d rather put that money aside for a getaway rather than spending it on a hotel suite in my city when I could just stay at home for “free” (mortgage payment notwithstanding).

But a recent night at the Trump Hotel in Toronto may have changed my mind on the benefits of a staycation (Full disclosure: my night’s stay was comped). Escaping the clutter of my condo was a welcome breather, especially so since I work from home. But so many other things made my stay pleasant—”extras” that not all hotels offer, but should. Call me picky (I prefer to think of it as being selective), but these little things matter.

A Warm Towel at Check-In

I checked into the Trump Hotel on a rainy, cold afternoon. As I filled out the necessary paperwork and got my room key, I was given a warm, scented towel—something I’ve received at tropical beach resorts, but never in any hotel in a city. It was a welcome treat having come in from the freezing cold.

Helpful Info

I always turn on the TV when I’m getting ready for bed, and when you’re travelling and unfamiliar with local TV stations, a printed channel guide is handy. That way I’m saved from flipping channels and eventually resigning myself to watching an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Other helpful treats I appreciate from a hotel: a note with the next day’s weather, my choice of newspaper, and a newsletter with a brief note about what events are taking place nearby.

A Home for My Cell Phone

So many of us need regular access to our smartphones even at bedtime (especially those of us with a keen appreciation for—read: addiction to—social media); besides, I also use it as my alarm clock, so I need it by the bed. When I discover an outlet by the bedside (or an iPod charger is helpful if you have an iPhone), I feel as though I’ve won the lottery—I’ve had to crawl behind desks to charge my phone too many times in hotels.

Sweet Treats

I’m not a big fan of turndown service (is there something I’m missing out on, because I simply don’t see the benefit of it?); however, I do enjoy the candy or chocolate left on the pillow. At the Trump, when I entered my room, there were truffles awaiting me, and, with turndown service, more chocolate. Indeed, sweets will make me sweet on my suite.

Well-Stocked Bathrooms

Soft, thick bathrobes, comfy slippers, “extra” toiletries such as mouthwash, facial cleanser and shaving cream—these are fantastic treats for a traveller. I stayed in a fairly fancy hotel in Montreal this winter where the city’s crazy cold winter chill made the marble floor in my washroom frigid, and I had neither a bathrobe nor slippers in the room. Brr! (Not to mention the room featured an entire wall of horizontal blinds that I had to close one by one—in this case, I would’ve appreciated turndown service, just for the blinds to be closed).

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