Hotels & Resorts: a Few Pet Peeves (Part I)

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Hotels often overstate their case – claiming to offer swimming pools, which are more like oversized bathtubs, and suites that are actually rooms. Here are a few of my pet peeves when staying at five star resorts.

As a frequent traveler, I have a few pet peeves. They run from outrageously expensive charges to exaggerated claims about facilities to employees that think that I’m there for the sole purpose of giving them a chance to practise their English.

Here is a list of a few of my favourite pet peeves (the first of a series).

Swimming Pools

I have stayed at a number of resorts in recent years that claim to have villas with private swimming pools. In a handful of cases they really do. In most cases, however, the so-called swimming pools were, in fact, cool dips.

There’s nothing wrong with cool dips. They’re rather nice. But please don’t call them swimming pools if I can’t do laps in them.

Pantai Lima in Bali (pictured above) is an example of a property whose villas have swimming pools that live up to the name. During my blissful four night stay there last year, I spent one hour each morning swimming off the calories from the sumptuous cuisine I feasted on the night before.

Sri Panwa and Trisara in Phuket are other examples of resorts whose pool villas really do have swimming pools that you can comfortably do laps in.


I was once informed that I had been “upgraded” to a suite. After arriving at the hotel, I discovered that “suites” were actually the property’s cheapest type of accommodation.

The more expensive units were semi or fully detached villas. So I felt a bit let down. My “suite,” as it turns out, was very spacious and comfortable, and it had a fabulous balcony. But it was NOT a “suite,” it was a very large “room”. There is an important difference.

A unit needs to have at least two rooms to be considered a suite, and bathrooms, walk-in closets, and entry halls do not count. No matter how big the room might be, if it is one contiguous space (in other words, no wall separating the two “spaces”) it is a “room”.

When someone rents a suite, he or she assumes that there is a wall separating at least two different spaces, which means someone could be in one room watching television while another person is in the other room sleeping.

Mini Bars

I don’t mind paying a bit extra for the convenience of not having to leave my hotel to buy a can of Diet Coke or a package of nuts. I would accept double – maybe even triple the usual price.

And what about those cylindrical potato chip containers with plastic inserts so you are getting about one-third as many chips as you were expecting – while already being charged a ridiculously inflated price?

But I deeply resent it when I am expected to pay 10 times as much as Seven 11 charges. And I REALLY resent it when staff go through my garbage and I’m charged for things that I purchased at Seven 11 as once happened to me in Macau.

Business Centres

I’m using them less and less, but on the rare occasion that I have to use a business centre, I really think that the charges should be kept within reason. At a five-star hotel in Bali, whose room rented for US$675 a night, I was charged US$5 per 15 minutes to use the PC and Internet.

I think US$20 an hour is a bit much to check my email – especially when I’m paying more per night to stay at the place than I spend on one month’s rent at my lovely little country abode in Hong Kong.

(Having said that, I also realize that most of the people staying in such places live in far more expensive digs than I do.)

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