Hotels & Resorts: Pet Peeves (Part IV)

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From light switches that are hard to find to electrical outlets located in difficult to access places to insufficient (or non-existent) lighting at steps, lighting presents a mindfield of potential hazards at stylish hotels and resorts.

Lighting is an area that many architects and interior designers of fancy hotels and resorts seem to have problems with. Sometimes the lighting is insufficient.

Sometimes lighting is two strong. And sometimes switches and outlets are difficult to find or access.

A few of my pet peeves about hotel lighting follow.

Light Switches

I really hate having to search for the light switches – especially when they are scattered all over the room.

At one stunningly fabulous resort that I spent four heavenly nights at in Bali, I spent 20 minutes the first night searching for that one final switch before finally giving up.

In desperation, I had to call room service and have someone show me where it was. And when the technician arrived, he couldn’t find it, either!

Burnt Out Bulbs

Then there is the issue of floor lamps that are unplugged or whose lightbulbs have burnt out.

This seems to be quite common at the hotels I stay at, and I really don’t think I should have to call room service to replace a lightbulb – unless it burns out AFTER I have checked in.

Shouldn’t part of making up the room each day include a quick check to make sure that all of the lights are working?

Interior Lighting

I understand the glamour of dim lighting, but please don’t impose it on me! Yes, turn down the lights so that when I enter my room after dark, I feel, like, “Wah!”

But PLEASE give me the option of turning the lights up. I’ve spent many nights in beautiful hotel rooms wanting to read but unable to do so because of the “dramatic lighting”.

I also spend a lot of time at my computer when I travel, and I don’t appreciate having to do work at the computer in the dark.

Insufficient lighting is especially frustrating in bathrooms.

I’ve stayed at several resorts in which the bathroom lighting was so dim I couldn’t shave properly. And what about women that have to put on makeup?

The lighting was especially poor at resort I spent a week at in Koh Samui a few years back. Since I couldn’t see myself in the bathroom mirror, I started shaving in the shower.

The upside of this experience is that I taught myself how to shave in the shower without a mirror. That was five years ago, and I have continued to shave in the shower ever since.

Exterior Lighting

This is a biggy!

I once stayed at a beach resort in Vietnam that has been widely praised in architectural and tourism rags as being one of most beautiful properties in the world. I cannot deny that it was drop dead gorgeous.

However, the resort was littered with accidents waiting to happen, and many of them were related to the dramatic lighting …

The property was dotted with majestic coconut palms, which swayed lazily in the sultry breeze. At night they were dramatically lit with floodlamps – as was the roof.

Beautiful! Unfortunately, neither the pathways nor the steps (and there were many!) were lighted.

Because the trees and the roofs were so brighly lit, everything else was darker in comparison. I’m talking PITCH BLACK! You simply couldn’t see where you were going.

After nearly stumbing down steps a few times, I had to resort to sliding my feet along the pavement – as if I were ice skaing – in order not to fall and break my neck.

I visited the same hotel a couple of years later, and I was told that many hotel guests had, in fact, stumbled, and some of these issues had been rectifiied.

A Hotel After My Own Heart

I spent four wonderful nights in a Duplex Suite at the Peninsula Beijing several years ago, and I have often said they were the happiest four nights of my life.

Despite the sumptuous and spacious surroundings, however, what I liked most were the easy to operate control panels at the front door and next to my bed.

They turned the lights on and off. They also opened and closed the drapes. A temperature readout even let me know how warm (or cold) it was outside . . . among other things.

Because the temperature can fluctuate wildy from one day to the next in Beijing, this proved a godsend.

As I was leaving my room on the second day, I discoverd that the temperature had dropped drastically since the day before. So I was able to put on heavier clothes and don an overcoat before leaving my room.

If it had not been for this device, I wouldn’t have discoverd the change in weather until after walking outside, and I would have had to return to my room to change.

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