As a constant traveler, I’d like to see these things in 2013. Please share your wish list, too.
The Truth About ‘Junior Suites’ That Aren’t: I wish hotels would stop playing loose with this term. In my opinion, a junior suite means that you have a sitting area that is distinctly separate from your bedroom, not a chair and a canapé grouped at the end of your bed.
The End of Tasting Menus: Too many chefs have turned meals into long-haul endurance contests where you’re stuck at the table for hours, eating things you would never have chosen. I know I’m not the only one who’s really fed up with tasting menus.
Fewer Gigantic Airport Terminals: In too many of the world’s new airports, you now end up walking nearly a mile to get to customs and baggage claim. Put in more people-movers or rethink air terminal design so that it’s on a human scale again — look to a really well-designed airport such as Copenhagen’s Kastrup for inspiration.
No More Overcomplicated Hotel Room Electronics: Why make it so difficult to turn on and off the lights, open the curtains or adjust the heating or air-conditioning when everyone understands on-off, high-low switches?
Better Hotel Housekeeping: With the exception of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, I’ve noticed a slide toward the slovenly in most other countries when it comes to hotel room housekeeping. Why bother to do turndown, for example, if you don’t also empty the wastebaskets and check that everything else is in order, especially making sure that the light bulbs in all of the lamps are working? At least a dozen times this past year, I found dead bulbs in a hotel room and had to chase down replacements.
The Return of Real Porters: I don’t know exactly when it started to happen, but real porters are increasingly being phased out in favor of relatively useless lobby attendants. To be sure, most people are traveling lighter than they once did, but it feels awfully anonymous to be handed a room key and pointed toward the elevators.
More Airport Trains: Traffic being what it is in most of the world’s major cities, I now take a train to the plane when I can. Bravo, London, Boston and most European cities for fast, easy, comfortable train service to the airport. Come on, New York, Chicago, Paris and Singapore — with your traffic, we really need a train to the plane, and if little Vilnius in Lithuania can do it, so can you.
Real Transparency in Hotel Room Pricing: I know this is a result of new computer-run yield management systems, but it has become nearly impossible to see what a room really costs on a hotel website without using the reservation tab. So please do us a favor and bring back broad daylight pricing so we can see what we’re paying and what the seasonal variations are. (And while you’re at it, please get rid of the music on your websites and make them easier to navigate.)