My new biggest hotel pet peeve

Why does turning on a shower have to be so complicated sometimes? Hear me out. So when I stay at airport hotels I typically have to get up at a ridiculously early hour, like 4:20AM, as the case was today. I value early morning sleep, so I cut it as tight as possible, leaving just enough time to get ready in a rushed state. And 90% of the time that works fine. But then there are those times where it’s rocket science to turn on the shower, at least for me. Now, of course the fact that I’m exhausted and not really thinking in the wee hours of the morning doesn’t help my problem solving skills.

So last night I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Burlingame. I got up and half asleep turned on the water in the shower. I then tried to figure out how to make the water come out of the shower head instead of from the bath thing (on a side note, bathtubs in hotels=gross). I stood there for about 10 minutes, not fully processing what was going on. For the first two or three minutes I tried searching for a solution, but then I started asking myself “how stupid can I be?” I mean, it can’t be that tough to turn on a damn shower.

So I called the front desk, still half asleep. The agent explained that the instructions were posted by the top of the shower, but I couldn’t find them. She didn’t know what else to say. I hung up and literally starting pulling every knob, corner, and fixture in the shower area, and eventually it worked. Apparently I was somehow supposed to know that pulling on the bathtub faucet from the bottom would turn it off, despite no signage. What sense does that make?

Anyway, ultimately I still managed to shower this time. But there have been times in the past where I cut it even tigheter and had to forgo a shower. I guess the real solution is to make sure the shower works before going to bed so that it’s not a problem in the morning.

Am I the only one that has this issue?

Filed Under: Hotels
  1. I love a good shower, and will accept complication in exchange for it. A couple of weeks ago at the Jefferson in Richmond I had *3* shower heads (one on each of two opposite walls, and one from above). The shower was the size of most hotel bathrooms. And there were plenty of trays and shelves inside. The controls were somewhat complicated, the things you could do with the shower heads were varied, I’m confident that included ordering room service.

    But there is no reason for such a device in an airport hotel. A Holiday Inn no less.

  2. Worst case for me was a design hotel somewhere in Germany or Belgium – long story short, the knob that needed to be pulled to change from bath flow to shower flow was concealed INSIDE the bath fixture – you had to reach in with thumb and index finger, fold out the knob (actually a hinged loop kind of thing), then pull. Completely inane design,

  3. Too Funny! I had the exact same scenario about 6 months ago. Tried everything, called the desk, etc…. Sometimes even sticking with the same chain of hotels I still come across variations. Another one of mine is the *#*# clock radios! Why do they have to make it so hard to set the alarms and why do some people feel the need to “cleverly” change the clocks from AM to PM or vice versa before they check out!

  4. Amen! The general rule should be: if a shower requires printed instructions, it’s too bloody complicated – simplify it. European hotels are particularly notorious about this.

  5. Noticed at one hotel I was at recently they put a P-Touch label on the apropriate piece that said “pull”. I’m sure before they stuck that label on they got a LOT of calls at the front desk! I wouldn’t have figured it out without it.

  6. @Oliver – perhaps, especially when I haven’t had caffeine before showering! 🙂
    But I stand by my position that a shower shouldn’t require instructions.

  7. @Oliver – We probably are 😉

    @Craig – I agree, showers should NOT require instrutions…

    I stayed at a BW in SEA in 2007 and couldn’t get my shower to work, had to call maintenance before I could get it to work… Front desk couldn’t help…

  8. @Craig — what amazes me is that the same old problem gets solved over and over again. Is there really a need to invent new shower knobs/mechanisms? It’s not like they are getting better over time, just different.

  9. On a similar note, if you are staying in a high rise hotel and are waking up in the morning you might want to plan on a little extra time to get hot water! I can’t tell you how many times I have had to wake up very early planning as little time as possible to get ready only to have to wait 10 minutes for hot water to come out of the faucet…..

  10. Some of them are more complicated than they need to be. I have always had this pet peeves. It usually takes another family member or friend to show me how the darn thing works.

  11. The upgrade last year of the Hyatt Orlando Cypress Gardens had me befuddled for a while – Then I had to turn off the hand-held nozzle for sufficient pressure from the overhead and vice versa. I thought it was just a 40+ problem – glad I’m not the only one. Thanks Ben!

  12. Lucky,

    That’s a funny story. Our shower at home has the same design and when we moved in, none of us (there are 4) could figure out how to get the damn thing to work. Had to call the rental agency.

  13. Over the summer I was in europe for a couple of months and on the very last night I stayed in hotel in italy where there were 3 lights and only two switches, the over shower light didn’t come on. I started to take a shower and noticed a cord in the shower. As it only went to chest height I figured it was for the shower light. So I pulled it, no light, no sound, nothing.

    About 60 seconds latter my gf knocked on the door and asked if everything was fine. Of course it was, why? The front desk had been alerted and sent someone up asap to see if I had fallen. I needed to hop out of the shower and turn off all the lights in the bathroom to turn off the alarm (of course no indication that there was an alarm on or that I had turned it off).

    Interesting idea, however why no labels/signs/lights? Why wasn’t the cord reachable from the floor? Why not have a red light above the switch saying (emergency or “emergenza”)?

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