Ten annoying things about hotel bathrooms

Because of the work we do, we regularly get to rest our heads in a wide range of different types of accommodation. Prior to the pandemic, this amounted to forty to fifty hotels a year. Mostly our experiences of hotel stays are good to great, but even in the best hotels there can be little niggles. Often, these are connected with the room in which ablutions are carried out. In ascending order of the level of teeth-gnashing involved, these are 10 annoying things about hotel bathrooms.

10: French Revolution toilet seats

Coming in at number ten, because it’s something that only affects approximately 50% of hotel guests, are French Revolution toilet seats. These are the ones that pretend they’re going to stay up and then, when you relax your guard, fall with the speed of Madame la Guillotine. Obviously, this problem extends way beyond hotel toilets. How difficult is it to design toilet seats that stay up for heaven’s sake? This malfunction, which can require a deft manoeuvre to avoid a painful amputation, is partly to blame for men having to put up with being accused of having a poor aim.

9: Salivating shower heads

You can pick up perfectly adequate shower heads for under a tenner, so why oh why do so many hotels have clogged up old shower heads which spit at you with less ferocity than an irritated camel?

Dreaded nylon curtain
Annoying things about hotel bedrooms – the ‘psycho’ shower curtain.

8: Titanic shower cubicles

Another moan about design flaws. There’s no point having a sexy walk-in shower when it leaks water like a liner that’s been punctured by an iceberg. I’ve lost count of the number of bathroom floors I’ve had to bail out after a shower.

7: Exfoliator towels

They might be great for rubbing off dead skin with the effectiveness of a cheese grater, but stiff hotel towels you could spit peas through should be consigned to the furnace in the basement, especially when they also come with straggly bits … as these sort of towels so often do.

6: Thirsty sinks

It doesn’t matter whether budget, mid-range, rural, or luxury, far too many hotels have sinks that simply can’t hold their water. Washing your face and wet shaving is often like taking part in a race-against-time competition.

Style over substance sink
Looks great, just not very practical when you try to use it.

5: Style over substance

Sinks again, and those ones which look fabulous but hold the equivalent of a thimble of water. Even worse are the stylish affairs designed so that the second you turn on the tap, the water swirls around the tiny bowl gathering speed, before shooting over the sides to completely soak your groin area, making it look like you’ve had a little accident.

4: Disintegrating toilet paper

Toilet paper that is gossamer thin – need I say anything more? However, in fairness to some hotels it might be an availability of quality produce issue. We struggled to find decent toilet paper when we lived in both Spain and Portugal. Waitrose Essentials is a luxurious eiderdown by comparison to the best of the bunch we bought there.

Portuguese toilet paper
We weren’t impressed with Portugal’s main loo roll producer.

3: Shower heads with erectile dysfunction

Is there anything more annoying in a hotel bathroom than a shower head that cannot stand to attention? No matter how many times you try to tighten the thingy supposedly holding it up, or force it upright, it slumps over and sprays the wall instead of you. Actually, there are two things more irritating, and these are…

2: Psycho shower curtains

These are an endangered species, thankfully, but there are still enough of them about. I’m talking about flimsy nylon shower curtains that behave as if human skin is magnetic, launching a vicious and skin-hugging attack the second you step in the shower. They are a pain in the backside or, more accurately, a squeal-causing chill on the backside as no matter how hot the outside temperature is, their touch is icy cold.

And the trophy for the most annoying thing in a hotel bathroom goes to…

Call for a toilet brush
Can you imagine having to call housekeeping for a toilet brush?

1: Toilet brushes that have gone AWOL

Oddly, this applies more to 5-star hotels than any other. For some reason, many luxury hotels don’t have toilet brushes in their bathrooms. The general response to any question about a lack of toilet brush is ‘hotels have housekeeping services that clean the toilet for you.’ So, these hotels really think that most guests are going to be happy leaving loos in, let’s put this tastefully, a less than pristine condition when they go out? Really? Do hoteliers honestly believe this? It’s ironic that guests in luxury hotels are more likely to have to stick their hands down the loo to clean it than ones in less expensive ones. We stayed in one 5-star hotel where there was a sign beside the loo that said, ‘By request we can provide you with a toilet brush, please call extension 24.’ There was even a telephone beside the sign. Clearly they were anticipating some serious toilet disasters. It is absolutely ridiculous.

And finally, a bonus irritation suggested by Andy – bathrooms which don’t have any hooks for hanging damp towels.

Dear hoteliers, none of this is rocket science. If your hotel is guilty of any of the above, it’s time to pick up the hoteliers’ manual and re-read the section under TQM.

About Jack 799 Articles
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a Slow Travel consultant and a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Facebook for more travel photos and snippets.


  1. I recognise many of those, especially the Titanic walk-in showers and flooded bathroom.

    My two…
    1) The shiny chrome ‘designer’ shower controls that are way too cool to have any cluttering text or symbols. So what does this one do? Spray water from the rainforest above or squirt it from the hand-held spray at the side, or fill the bath? And is it the spray director? Might it be the temp control? And if it is the temp control, which way is hot? In the end it doesn’t matter because you are always going to get sprayed by cold water from an unexpected direction!

    2) Small print toiletries. You know the ones you take into the shower, only to have to get out again so you can put on your glasses to check whether you have the conditioner, shampoo, body wash, hand wash or bubble bath! I’ve only ever encountered one hotel – the Melia, Berlin – that had toiletries with large black print.

    • Both excellent ones. It’s like playing Russian roulette with showers that suffer from a knob overdose (maybe not the best word to use in this context).

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