Why are some hotels lacking in service compared to hostels?

I recently did something I never normally do. I went to a resort and stayed in a hotel. My reason for going to a resort for a few days was to visit my parents while they were on holiday in Spain. I was already in the country, in a city nearby, so it seemed to make sense to pop a long and spend some time with them, even if resorts in general are really not my ‘cup of tea’.

In a strange way I was kind of looking forward to it. I love staying in hostels, but sometimes sharing a room with umpteen amount of people can leave you longing for a few days of privacy in a nice hotel room somewhere. I thought this would be my opportunity to do just that. Instead, what it actually reminded me of is that some hotels are actually lacking in some basic services.

I should note here that not all hotels are lacking in providing a good service. I’ve actually stayed in some rather nice hotels over the course of my travels. I also find that if you go to a 5 star hotel they will usually bend over backwards to help you with anything that you need – but it’s more the middle ground of hotels, the 1 to 3 star hotels that I’m referring to. I’ve found that you can be paying a lot more per night compared to a night in a hostel dorm room, but yet somehow some of these hotels don’t seem equipped to help you with some basic services you’d find all the time in a hostel.

For example, I was staying in a 3 star hotel in the resort I was in with my parents (I’ll keep names of the hotel and resort excluded from this as I  actually think it’s a problem with a lot of resort based hotels rather than just this particular one). To book one night in the room I was staying in would typically cost you around 55 EUR per night. The hotel had 3 large-ish swimming pools, a cinema, bar, and sauna/spa area. All things which I would consider very luxury items. Yet, the locks on our doors did not work properly, there was constant problems with the elevators with people getting stuck in them, and when I asked for somewhere to print my boarding pass (I could see a big shiny printer behind them at the reception) they told me that there was nowhere available to print for customers. The reception staff also gave very vague directions to where I could find an internet cafe (which turned out to be in completely the opposite direction to what they said), and could not tell us even basic information about the local area or where things like local supermarkets were.

Personally, I don’t need 3 swimming pools. In fact, I don’t need any, but 1 would be a bonus. What I do need however is to be able to lock my room door, print the occasional boarding pass, and be able to enter a lift when I’m on the 10th floor and not have to worry about getting stuck in between dangerous doors that close on people, or for it to break down while I’m in it. I also don’t expect staff to always be able to give me detailed info on the local area (they might be new), but if they don’t have printing facilities available to customers you would think they’d know where to direct you in order to find some, or at least just say they don’t know and provide you with a map!

I think the fact this hotel was in a resort was also part of the reason why the service was so different to what I was used to. In hostels, they are geared towards backpackers and long term travellers. They know that you’re going to be booking flights as you go and need to print Ryanair style boarding passes. They also know that you’ll want to actually experience the local area and therefore want advice on what/where to go/see/d0. They’ll know that as long as your room is clean and a safe, secure place to stay that you’ll be happy to do without other luxuries to save on price. In resorts I guess people have such different wants and needs from their time abroad that these things which I would consider basic pale in comparison to having a big pool and an overpriced bar.

Of course, like hotels you can also get bad hostels. This is not me saying that all hostels are good and all hotels are bad. I always enjoyed my time in the higher starred hotels. Who wouldn’t enjoy a bit of luxury now and again? Yet, if these middle of the road hotels really want to compete with the big boys, why don’t they actually start by making sure they have the basics covered first?

To quote a saying by my mother – “They’re all fur coat and no knickers!”

2 Responses to “Why are some hotels lacking in service compared to hostels?”

  1. Anna says:

    Totally agree! I think a lot of hotels have lost touch. When you’re paying 50 Euros per night you would expect to get free wifi but a lot of the places I’ve stayed in charge you a ridiculous amount on top. Yet another lacking area of service when it comes to hotels v hostels.

  2. Rachel says:

    I agree as well. I think a lot of the time resort staff doesn’t really want to direct you to facilities outside of their own, they figure the less you leave, the more money you’ll spend there. But when they don’t offer the services you need in house they should certainly be able to direct you to where you can get them. Isn’t that what a concierge is there for?


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