We've all been there. At the end of a long flight, you get to your hotel and check in, only to find that your room is right next to an ice machine that sounds like it has a severe case of whooping cough, or it's the only one on the floor not occupied by members of a high school marching band practicing through the night for a major competition.
Yes, a bad hotel room can ruin anyone's trip, but when you're traveling on business, the stakes are even higher. If it's not up to par or presents too many distractions, you may not be able to finish that big presentation or you might not be rested enough for that important client meeting.
To help you avoid these pitfalls, we consulted with Doug Peckham, who, after an extensive career working in hotels and resorts from Philadelphia to Puerto Rico, now oversees the stately Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa in Dallas. Located just minutes from the offices of major corporations such as Cinemark, Merrill Lynch and Southwest Airlines, the historic Stoneleigh attracts a significant business clientele, and Peckham knows just what those travelers need.
"A failed business trip may result in no less than a threat to job security," said Peckham, "so it's important to do a bit of research prior to committing to your hotel selection."
He shares his thoughts on how you can get the right room in the right hotel and avoid sabotaging your trip before it even starts:
As a general rule, what rooms in a hotel should business travelers avoid?
Rooms near an indoor pool, especially at hotels with rooms that surround an internal atrium. Unless you enjoy the permeating aroma of chlorine in your room, avoid this location.
Rooms near the elevator lobby on each floor. Not only is there a lot of guest traffic, room service delivery, etc., the noise from the elevator machinery itself can be constant and annoying.
Be careful about rooms assigned on the second floor or the floor just below the top floor of the hotel. If there are public or event rooms located immediately below or above you, you may find yourself "attending" a loud, late-night party lasting until the wee hours of the morning. It's not a great way to wake up refreshed and ready to accomplish the next day's business tasks.
Smoking rooms. Although smoking rooms are becoming more rare, it can be annoying to find yourself in a smoking room if you check in late and they are the only rooms available. Another potential pitfall to avoid are rooms in a hotel recently converted to nonsmoking. The lingering smoke can permeate every fabric and is very difficult to eradicate. Be ready to point this out to the front desk staff and request an alternate room if available or have the hotel provide an air cleaner unit, which many hotels have on hand unbeknownst to guests.