Light speed, as we all know thanks to Albert Einstein is something approached asymptotically. The closer we get, the harder the next increment—or to put it another way—perfection is something we can aspire to, but never hope to reach. This is true for space ships, and it is equally true for hotel rooms. In south east Asia I have stayed in everything from one to five stars in a half dozen countries in, but have never found a perfect room.
However, for your edification, here, I shall outline what I see as a perfect room.
First the basics, for me a room must be clean, and well laid out. In short, what I refer to as a ‘western room’. Something where I feel at home and in which I can relax. Admittedly, much of what makes me feel comfortable is what we I am used to, what I grew up with, but there it is. I am content, in fact, happier with a single room, a ‘standard’ room in hotel parlance, big enough for what I need, small enough to be unburden-some.
And in this room I require the following:
• bottled water, a good hotel provides a few bottles of water for their guests, complimentary.
• wifi, we live in the modern world. The internet is what is needed for so many things. Near mandatory, certainly for a stay of over a day.
• Aircon, again mandatory.
• Private facilities. I don’t like to share the private things. A shower is the minimum, a bath is a relaxing addition.
• Tissues. It is a little thing, but a box of tissues laid out for your use is a convenience.
• Fridge. Useful for storing drinks, fruit or food of any type.
• Double bed. I like my space, and, who knows, a guest might want to stay over.
• Wall hooks. I have a bag, a hat, and a few other things which are more conveniently stored on hooks.
• Bedside lamp. A small lamp next to one’s bed allows sufficient light without drowning the room in an unfriendly blast of light.
• decor. Minimalism is best, but one or two eye-catching pieces of artwork is pleasant. A theme for the room, not a jumble of bits and pieces.
• cleaning. Once a day.
• cleaning. Once a day.
Finding a room such as this is not difficult. Look not at the top spots—on the river or on the main road—but look a block or two back. Here you will find smaller, family or privately run guesthouses and hotels. These provide the services listed above, and do so in a friendlier atmosphere. You can find a room such as this anywhere in SEA (perhaps not Sing) for $15–$25 a night. Discounts for longer stays.
Booking agencies. I detest these companies. Websites such as agoda, for example. The discounts offered are no more than the standard price, something you can get by a direct approach to the hotel, artificially raised so that the website can offer a discount. They require payment in advance, which is not always good if you are a traveller, and horror stories abound of refunds and general service. Make an effort, surf the net, look for unbiased fellow traveller reviews, then check for the hotel’s website.