Features To Love

This post isn’t about a particular hotel, but rather about things that some of our favorite hotels share and things that make our stay more comfortable, more functional or just more lovable. Here are some of the the features we love and the hotels that…feature them.

Custom Guidebooks

Guidemap from Town Hall Hotel

We typically arrive at a destination with a list of restaurants to sample, sites to see and shops or galleries to peek in on. But we’re always open to recommendations, and some of the best recommendations come from hoteliers who are locals (or hoteliers with staff who can discern like locals). In a few cases, we’ve ended up using the guidebooks we find in our room (or in the case of Oak House No. 1, the bespoke guide created for us at breakfast) almost exclusively to plan our days.

Our favorites

Showers That Aren’t Tubs

Steam shower at The Curtain

We understand the reason for showers that are also tubs, particularly when quarters are tight, but quite honestly, we’d rather have one or the other, not both. And while the idea of a long soak in a hot bath is wonderful — an idea we act on when we have time — what we really appreciate is a good-quality shower. And that kind of shower almost never happens in something that doubles as a bath (shower curtains really are horrible, even if necessary). Some of our best hotel showers have featured double heads, steam functions, hand-held options and beautiful tiles. The very best, which occur only in specific climates, are in the open air.

Our favorites

Windows that Open

rossi window
Open window at the Rossi

Even when it’s really hot or really cold, we like to have the option of opening the windows and feeling the air of a new place. Windows let in the sights. Open windows let in the sights, the sounds and, yes, even the smells. For hotels in tropical places, windows that open are a bit of a given, but in other climates, we’re never sure what to expect. Upon arriving at a hotel, one of our first rituals is to check whether the windows opens. If they do, bonus points! We’ll admit that open windows aren’t always preferred by the housekeeping staff; we often return to find everything properly buttoned up again with the climate control cranking away, but we usually manage to settle into an arrangement that keeps everyone happy.

Our favorites (expected category)

Our favorites (non-expected category)


Pegs at The Lora

We can be in and out of a hotel room sometimes dozens of times in a day. And we’re often toting bags, coats, umbrellas, hats. We’ve come to appreciate rooms that provide a handy place for stashing all of the stuff that comes and goes with us and for helping keep tight quarters tidy. Closets are good. Wardrobes serve the purpose. But what we really love is pegs (or hooks) mounted on the wall near the door. You don’t have to fuss with doors or hangers, and you don’t have to worry about putting wet things in a closed space. Utilitarian or adorned, pegs are always a welcome site. Four is the ideal number; two for each of us. We think hotels are catching on to pegs — we see them more often than we used to — but we’re still happy to find a place, quite literally, to hang our hats.

Our favorites


NOT water in St. Petersburg

Water — it’s such a simple thing. And at home, we take it for granted. But when traveling, a supply of bottled water in our hotel room is oh-so-wonderful. First of all, we’re almost always a bit dehydrated after a long journey. And a bottle of good, cool water sure is nice after a day out exploring. Yes, we certainly try to drink tap water wherever possible, but in many places that’s not advisable. And we’re not talking about the Fiji Water the hotel wants $9.50 for. Yes, hotels need to make money when they can, but basic hydration needs are something that all hotels should provide gratis. And it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. We’re perfectly content with whatever the local brand might be. In fact that’s even better.

Our favorites

  • European hotels are quite good at water — still and sparkling.

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