A recent survey by the Good Hotel Guide 2016: Great Britain and Ireland  of nearly 600 members of the public has revealed the nation’s top hotel gripes with hair in the plughole (88%), dirty shower curtains (79%), noisy guests in neighbouring rooms/thin walls (72%) and saggy, uncomfortable beds (68%) topping the list.

Other irritations which lead to a less than cheerful check-out include discretionary service charges (57%), windows that don’t open (43%), dim lighting (42%), background music (34%), poor WiFi (33%) and carpets in the bathroom (32%).

Women are more likely to complain, and appear to be more critical than men.  The only gripes which bother women less than men are poor Wifi (31% of women as opposed to 34% of men), and plastic cups in the bathroom (18% of women as opposed to 21% of men).  One notable difference is that double the number of men (18%) claim to have been bitten by a flea while staying in a hotel, compared with only 9% of women.  However, 12% of men and women agree that too many cushions on the bed is annoying. 

On the food front, the buffet breakfast is not popular with many.  Verbatim responses bemoaned ‘having to get up and down like a yo-yo’, poor-quality food that is often pre-cooked and therefore cold, food that congeals under hot lamps, and running out of food.  The other characteristic British complaint was about the quality of tea and coffee, and the speed with which these arrive – seemingly, never fast enough.  Breakfast ending too early, especially at the weekend, was also an issue.

Other gripes included over-familiar staff, stained bedlinen,long-life milk in the bedroom for tea and coffee, a dislike of condiments in plastic packaging and feeble shower pressures.  Background music was singled out by some guests, who condemned it as ‘intrusive’ and, ‘inappropriate’. WiFi that was not free, had a feeble signal, or was complicated to set up was another irritant.  Hotels with too many instructions and notes telling people what and what not to do are unpopular.  And while many hotels are now dog friendly, one respondent complained that too few hotels welcome cats.

Good Hotel Guide co-editors Adam Raphael and Desmond Balmer say that: “The results reveal that British guests have become much more sophisticated in their tastes since the Guide was first published in 1978. Hoteliers have to strive hard to keep their guests happy.”  The editors point out that, in the qualitative responses, the same comments came up time and again: the importance of cleanliness, providing fresh milk in the bedrooms and the best staff being those that can achieve the right balance between professionalism and over-familiarity.