I'm a bit of a hotel snob. A shrink would probably tell you that it has something to do with my childhood. Hotels growing up meant one of three things: 1. A campground 2. The pop-top of a Volkswagen Vanagon 3. A Motel 6. The Motel 6 was only on special occasions. Usually on New Year's Eve in Tucamcari, New Mexico. I can still hear my dad's advice as we got into bed: "kids, keep your underpants on." Oh, the memories.
So now that I travel for work (and sometimes for fun) I can be a little picky about hotels. There are certain things that I look for in a hotel. I just did this subconsciously until one of my friends pointed out that I was just applying my own hotel test. The hotel test is the criteria or set of criteria that you use to determine if the hotel is somewhere that you are willing stay. Please note that this is not my idea, but I feel compelled to share the concept with all of you. Idea creator(s), you know who you are.
You can establish all sorts of hotel tests. I have surveyed at least a handful of people and would like to share some of these hotel thresholds or tests with you:
Interior Room Entrances: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If this is your hotel test, it basically means that you rule out staying at any hotel where you enter your room from the outside world (sorry Motel 6). I can understand this one. I think it also dovetails off of the "won't stay at the kind of hotel where people live" rule. Think about it. When you're eating at a Cracker Barrel and look over at the adjacent hotel and see someone bringing it groceries, they are probably entering from an exterior entrance. I guess people do live in hotels with interior entrances, but they are usually professional athletes or guys going through a divorce. Anyway, I understand the interior room entrance rule, and I think it's a good one.
The Map: This one isn't quite as obvious, but I love it just the same. Creator of the map rule (you know who you are) thank you for developing this wonderful threshold. So here's how it works. If, upon check-in, the guy at the front desk pulls out a map of the hotel (and a colored pencil) and then draws the path that your car should take to get to the appropriate entrance, then this is a hotel that you won't stay in. This rule is a little more strict than the interior room entrance rule, as most map hotels do have rooms that you can enter from the inside.
Room Service: Another brilliant rule created by one of my friends at work. The law, as it is written, requires that all hotels must offer room service. This does not mean that the rule creator (or rule follower) will order room service during their stay, it simply means that the hotel has to offer it. It makes sense if you think about it this way: in order to offer room service, the hotel has to have a kitchen. If the hotel has a kitchen, then that means some sort of regulatory board (other than the Elevator Certification Board) has been in the hotel and has given at least the kitchen a thumbs up for cleanliness. It follows then that the rest of the hotel probably follows the same standards of cleanliness.
The Fluffy White Comforter Test: Also known as the Kate test. This is Kate's requirement. She wants to stay only at hotels that have fluffy white comforters. When I called her today, her first question was "How's your Hotel?" When I said it was just okay, her second question was "What kind of comforter is on the bed?" Much like my overall hotel snobbery, Kate's bedspread/comforter rule was established early in life. Kate's mom was apparently ahead of her time. She had a fear of foreign stains on bedspreads long before Dateline/Primetime/20/20 began doing their hotel room black light tests. When Kate was young, the first thing that her mom would do when they checked into a hotel room was to wildly strip the comforter off of the bed, making sure that nobody touched it. Because it's difficult to predict the color and fluffiness of the hotel comforter prior to check-in, I typically use the interweb and do the virtual tour of the hotel to confirm the color and fluffiness of the comforter prior to making a reservation.
The Indoor Pool Test: Also known as Kate's Second Test. This one isn't a deal breaker for Kate, but she does look favorably upon hotels with an indoor pool. Keep in mind that in our 100+ nights of staying at hotels with an indoor pool, I think she has actually used said pool twice. That said, she just likes it being there, and gets all excited when I tell her that the hotel has a pool. It's one of the few times that Kate acts like a seven year old kid, which I think is funny. Maybe you had to be there. It's a valid test just the same.
I'm interested to hear if any of you out there in blogland have hotel tests of your own. Post them as comments if you are comfortable sharing. And don't just say that you use star ratings. Those things are always inflated...sort of like star ratings on Star Search. Those things were really bogus. Did anyone ever receive less than three and a quarter stars on that show? Okay, I'm rambling now. Time to tuck myself in under my fluffy white comforter.