How many times have you been scalded — or frozen — by a tricky hotel shower?
Perhaps you couldn't figure out how to use the hotel shower at all. Or, perhaps you've gotten unexpectedly drenched when the water spurted out of the shower head/handle instead of the bath faucet.
I'm posing this question now because the luxury Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Mexico recently did something clever.
The resort added an instructional card — prominently attached to the water controls, so you can't miss it — that illustrates which way you should turn the central faucet to get hot and cold water. The type's also even large enough to be read by people who wear reading glasses. The hotel's sister property, Grand Velas Riviera Maya, has the cards, too.
An informal survey of USA TODAY Road Warriors shows that it's not uncommon for travelers to be frustrated by hotel showers every now and then.
"Don't get me started on that subject," road warrior Michael Nugent tells me via email. "Left? Right? Up? Down? Pull? Push?"
"I now always start the water flow BEFORE getting in. Then I activate the shower once I'm in. I've learned that much. The cold surprise comes when housekeeping has left the shower head activated as I'm turning the faucet on, giving me a cold wet head!"
Road warrior Rob Newman, who's been generously sharing his tales from the road with me for a good six or seven years, had this to say in response to my question:
"Who hasn't been burned or scalded?"
"My favorite way for this to happen," Newman adds, "is bathtubs with half plates of glass near the faucet so you have to reach in to turn it and get wet. No way around it. And you pray that when you turn on the water, that it comes out at the right temperature so that as you turn it on or turn it off, you're not scalded or doused with freezing water."
He couldn't name any, though. "Usually those hotels aren't in the 'hotel hall of fame in my mind,' so I don't remember them (by name)," he says.
Road warrior Kevin Korterud says that he typically has an easy time in the USA and Latin America figuring out showers - but not so in Europe. He recalls visits about four years ago to London.
"In particular," he told me via email, "the Park Plaza County Hall in London - a nice hotel, but it took me a bit to figure out the shower. I'd get frozen and burned the first time I used them, but after a while I figured it out :"
Road warrior Nick Milburn says he often encounters showers where housekeepers have left the shower head position in the "on" position, instead of the "off" position so the shower head is aimed towards where you stand when you turn on the water.
After years of traveling, Milburn now always tinkers with the valve to avoid getting an unwanted splash in the face.