The first time I saw a telephone next to a toilet in a hotel room, I was charmed.
“Oh, look!,” I said, calling everyone over to see. “You can talk on the phone while you pee!”
But really, what is the point of this? It’s not an added “service” for guests (don’t we use our cell phones anyway?). It’s gotta be for show, or for “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” situations.
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The goofy phone-by-the-toilet feature is now pretty common in hotel rooms. So are some of these other unnecessary (and goofy) extras:
* The $7.50 bottle of water.
The bottles are placed by the ice buckets, usually with a warning sign hanging on them so you know they’re not free. But that’s a sneaky bait-and-switch trick, especially when you have little kids in the room who will pay no attention to the sign.
* An extra roll of toilet paper, decorated.
I get it that it doesn’t look classy to plunk an extra roll of TP on top of the vanity. But putting a sparkly ribbon around it just makes it look like a gift. Which, I suppose, if you’re out of TP, it is.
* The toilet paper end folded like a cloth napkin in a restaurant, possibly sealed with a sticker.
It’s nice to feel confident that you’re the first person to use the bathroom since it was cleaned. But I’m not convinced this is a good investment of the cleaning staff’s time. Think of how long it’d take you to make a folding fan out of a piece of toilet paper?
* Complimentary bath salts.
When I see a packet of bath salts, my first thought isn’t a relaxing bubble bath but the drug used by American teenagers. My news reporter-skewed thoughts aside, I’m willing to bet that very, very few adults take baths in their hotel rooms. And if you’re traveling with kids, the odds are even slimmer. So, do they need to put out the packet? Maybe they do it so you’ll imagine that you could be taking a relaxing bubble bath. Or maybe they’re just providing an extra little toiletry for you to swipe.
Don’t get me wrong. I liked added touches, and bells and whistles that make a hotel room feel special. The warm cookies given to you at a DoubleTree hotels? Oh yeah. And I just spent a night at the luxurious Ritz Carlton Toronto, which among its many fantastic “extras,“ had a TV in the bathroom mirror. My kids were hypnotized.
If you have some funny or weird ones to add to the list, I’d love to hear about them.
Jamie Bartosch is a newspaper reporter, a freelance writer, and the mother of two from the Chicago suburbs. Find her on Twitter at @jsbartosch.