Luxury hotel culture is close to Check-in Asia’s heart. We adore the histories, mysteries and architectural drama of heritage hotels as much as the design devilry of today’s towering palaces. We are lucky, too. Over the past decade we’ve stayed in, stress-tested and reviewed many of Asia’s finest residences. We’ve also researched their backstories, rewritten their menus, websites and brand stories… and stayed up very late sipping crafted cocktails in their bars.

So, as the 10th anniversary year of Check-in Asia’s founding comes to an end, here’s a whimsical recap of 10 accumulated hospitality likes and dislikes:

Yes Please…

“Luxury brand shower products have a role beyond letting us bathe in the scent of wealth and prestige.”

1) Free Wifi. An unrestricted free flow of online adrenaline for work and pleasure is now expected by Asian guests. And rightly so, yet the world lags far behind. If you are able to log on in your guestroom, check out how many user-generated reviews beyond Asia feature the digital death sentence: “No free Wifi.” Any wonder Airbnb is biting into the hotel pie?

2) Crumple-Free Clothes. Firstly, there should be an iron and board in the wardrobe. Failing that, and apologies to harassed housekeepers, one of our routine service tests is timing the delivery of these when requested by phone. Extra marks are awarded for prompt delivery before a morning meeting and ahead of evening dinner. OK, we could use the hotel pressing service, but where’s the fun in that? And, frankly, we don’t trust it for anything more delicate than a business shirt.

3) Bountiful Bath Products. Luxury brand shower products have a role beyond letting us bathe in the scent of wealth and prestige. Especially for guests with long hair, enough shampoo and conditioner to raise a lather is required (tiny little bottles begone), and it shouldn’t leave our tresses feeling like straw (never 2-in-1s…. shudder!). Most marks for stylish hygenic dispensers filled with authentic, high-quality product, which saves both the environment and a frizzy mane.

“Apologies to harassed housekeepers, but a routine service test is timing the delivery of an iron and board when requested by phone.”

4) Art in Context. Are hotel art collections beneficial or boastful? Do the extravagant installations, angular landscape photographs and paintings claiming incisive social commentary represent anything deeper than snap-and-share backdrops? Combining thoughtfully curated permanent and rotating exhibitions can mirror the personality of a hotel, and connect it to the neighbourhood milieu. Alternatively, artworks may simply be aggrandising adornments shorn of context. For us, classical or contemporary pieces bring alive the familiar layouts of lobbies, restaurants and rooms.

5) Sweet Goodnight. Whoever decided to do away with a little chocolate on the pillow at turndown? We’ve received everything from bookmarks to magnets to fragrance sticks but, in our book, a sweet nighttime treat always wins.

No Thankyou…

“The shadowy ‘night light’ luminesence is a reminder that hotel room designers resent you. So you attempt more switch combinations than Pep Guardiola.”

6) Drawn-out Room Intros. There are many things we want to do when we finally get to our hotel room. Being guided through an unnecessary introduction of its features is not one of them. We can locate the safety deposit box and bedside control panel. Because we really just want to kick off our shoes and dive onto a bed full of pillows.

7) Open-Plan Bathrooms? No, absolutely N.E.V.E.R. But once the door, if it exists, is closed, we like our branded bath products placed inside the shower, not stationed above the sink, and towels stacked at a reachable level when we exit dripping wet. Not underneath the sink. Big mirrors – preferably with inset TVs – are good, too.

8) Insipid Coffee. Drainy coffee is our bête noir, especially in hotels that puff the rigorous detail of their F&B sourcing. OK, some top-rated hotels are now buying bespoke, hand-roasted beans, but we’re not seeing much of a top-down drip among many hoteliers that should brew much better.

“Towels should be stacked at a reachable level for that inevitable dripping wet exit from the shower. Not underneath the sink.”

9) Superfluous Switches. Preparing to sleep can seem like an IQ test. Anticipating darkness, you hit the master switch. Except the shadowy ‘night light’ luminesence is a reminder that hotel room designers resent you. So you attempt more switch combinations than Pep Guardiola. Half an hour later – and your sense of awakeness fully restored – it somehow works.

10) Check-in Deposit Charges. Charged minibars are so 1990s, and in-room handy-phones became obsolete around the same time as hardback city guides. So why at check-in is our credit card often sought to cover possible consumption of the former or loss of the latter? Please don’t promise personalisation if you persist in telling us what the services must be.

Interested to work with us?

Check-in Asia works with leading hotel brands across Asia. We provide a range of marketing campaign and curation services, ranging from website content, brand stories, press releases and social messaging to video scripts, CEO speeches and publications management.

Our expert ‘mystery guests’ are also commissioned to check-in and check-out new and existing hotels and resorts across Asia.

Contact us here to find out more…