How do things work in hotel rooms?

Columnist Trish Burgess
Columnist Trish Burgess
Have your say

TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

No matter how many times we stay in hotels, whether in the UK or overseas, we still find ourselves inept when it comes to working out how the room amenities function properly.

The key. Opening the door to the room is often the first task that eludes us. Electronic cards can be a nightmare, especially for my husband who seems to have his own peculiar force field which renders the cards unworkable. He can be seen frantically waving the card in front of the sensor or shoving it into the slot numerous times in the vain hope that the light will turn green. Funnily enough, this same force field affects him when paying in car parks or operating any other ticket/vending machine.

Heating. Very few places have a normal radiator with a valve. Temperature is controlled via a complicated switch on the wall: it usually works the air conditioning too. No matter how many times we click the button up or down or turn the switch from manual to auto, we can never get it just right. I can often be seen standing on the bed, waving my hands in front of the grill to see if any air is coming out. Opening a window isn’t even an option as they are increasingly sealed shut.

Lighting. Working out which switch operates which light is beyond me. Even when I think I’ve cracked it, I turn off all the switches by the bed before going to sleep and there’s always one rogue lamp in the corner that refuses to go off.

Showers. The thermostat and flow controls aren’t easy to distinguish and it isn’t clear in which direction they should be turned. Regardless of which knob I decide to try first, I’m guaranteed to have an ice-cold deluge land on my head.

Hairdryers. I hate the ones that are situated in the bathroom, which require constant thumb pressure before any air is produced: my thumb tires far earlier than my hair dries. A normal hairdryer is preferable, once I’ve managed to find out where it has been hidden. Chances are, even when plugged in, the socket is very rarely near a mirror.

Alarm clock. Trying to set an alarm clock which is not your own is never going to end well. Just don’t do it. It’s probably better to use your mobile phone but remember to choose your alarm sound wisely. Recently we required an early morning alarm and I wanted something loud and brash enough to wake us. We nearly didn’t rise from our slumber becasue, instead of the lively theme tune from 80s TV show, ‘The A Team’, we were gently nudged awake by the delicate sounds of the same-named ballad by Ed Sheeran.

You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at