Business Hotels

I accept some trade-offs when I book into business hotels. You can't expect striking decor, or any kind of character to your surroundings. Typically you're not staying in the trendiest part of town, and the room service meal will taste the same anywhere in the world. There is always a burger. There is always pasta with tomato sauce. There is always a caesar salad. Lighting in the bathroom will suck, because business hotels expect mostly male guests, and men don't need to put on makeup. The hair dryer will be weaker than a spring breeze. That's ok, because I'm there for business and out as quickly as possible.

I am now in Europe, my last stop before going home. The business hotel I booked is part of a major Western chain. It's not in the capital of the country, but still in a pretty important city. Which makes this a very baffling experience, and not in a good way.

There is no "do not disturb" sign for the door. Yesterday, housekeeping came in while I was in the shower. The minibar is empty. No water, no soda, no peanuts. Thankfully, tap water is safe to drink, if I can find a glass. There is no paper basket near the desk. No full-size mirror anywhere. No power outlet in the bathroom, because who needs to look in the mirror when using the weaker-than-a-breeze hair dryer? And the coup-de-grace: no power outlets on the desk. None. No USB ports, no charging station, no way to plug in a single electronic. IT'S A 4-STAR BUSINESS HOTEL!

I often experience a few minutes of confusion when I first wake up in a business hotel, particularly if I'm in the middle of a multi-country trip. For a moment I can't remember what city or even country I'm in. Even just a few days later I wouldn't be able to pick that room out of a line up. That's what generic business hotels do to you. But this one, I have a feeling I won't have any trouble remembering.