Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10
607 Views

The thread about air conditioning got me thinking. What are some amenities you expect as a matter of course? Are you ever surprised that when you travel this particular thing is hard to come by, called something totally different or completely unknown? 

 

So where we are (mid Atlantic east coast) we have hot humid summers. Air conditioning is expected, even some would say, required.  But friends in Northern California don't have AC at all (and are very much against it due to the environmental impact.)

 

Same with heat. We have central heat here. Further, heat is a requirement for a habitable property. But my husband who grew up in San Diego never had central heat (though weirdly they had a wood burning fireplace they used 3 total times in his memory.)

 

Traveling in Europe we not yet stayed in a space that had what I would call a "dryer" for clothes. We did get accustomed to the cute all-in-one washer dryer machines and bought one for our space in New Orleans. (They do take a lot longer...)

 

There was also no such thing as an "American sized" fridge in many parts of the world, which I truly didn't mind. I generally need a fridge only to store water, wine, fruit and last night's restaurant leftovers so a small one can handle those requirements.

 

Water glasses tend not to be pint sized. Waiters in Germany used to look askance at me when I would ask for a pitcher of water rather than have them make several trips to fill up what Americans generally think of as a juice glass.

 

And as I love to sleep with about 15,123 pillows, most places outside of my home nation ask me to be content with just one.

 

What has your experience been as a guest with amenities you think of as a given, that maybe aren't so much a given everywhere?

32 Replies

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Greenville, SC
Level 10

No flat sheet! I truly do not understand no flat sheet. But even in the US, some consider it acceptable, or even preferable, to only have a blanket covering them in bed. 

 

The last time I was traveling in Europe, it seemed like dishwashers were an “extra”, whereas in the States, it would be unusual to find no dishwasher in most traditional kitchens.

 

We once bought a condo in the US from a woman from South Africa. She was not keen on dishwashers, so she replaced hers with a wine cooler.  First thing we did was buy a dishwasher, but we definitely kept and stored many a bottle in the very nice wine cooler. 

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Pat271 I am with you there. In addition to the 15,123 pillows I sleep with, my "normal" bedding consists of:

 

fitted sheet

flat sheet 

cotton blanket over the flat sheet

quilt in summer or lightweight bedspread, heavy comforter in winter

pillow cases 

 

The minimalist duvet/no flat sheet thing with a single pillow is distressing. So much so that I will pack my own sheet and blanket, and if I can fit it, a pillow. 

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Pat271 @Laura2592 Funny you mention flat sheet. I finally did away with the flat sheets, as guest after guest would simply get in bed and lay on top of it!

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Greenville, SC
Level 10

@Colleen253  Some other hosts have said the same! Just scratching my head, here. Don’t understand it. Could it be that they think that it might be cleaner at that layer somehow? Like they don’t trust that someone washed the sheets? I think someone also hypothesized that some of their guests from more far-flung locations simply didn’t know how to sleep in a bed with a top sheet.🧐 I suppose it’s possible…

 

 

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Pat271 my husband doesn't use a flat sheet. I do. He lays on top of it. I am trapped in one small section. This causes a lot of bickering. 

 

Some people don't like them. I really can't fall asleep without one. 

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Laura2592 Picturing you trapped in bed, lol. Myself, I can't stand the feeling of tucked in flat sheets. It feels confining. I prefer just a duvet and cover.

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Pat271 I think a lot of 'those' people are just used to a duvet and cover combo, alone. I know I am. I have a heavy duvet and cover in the winter months and a lighter combo for summer. Just take the cover off and wash it and the fitted sheet. No need for flat sheet.  Now, I do have a comforter on the single bed in my listing, and everyone definitely uses the flat sheet on that bed.

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Colleen253  A duvet cover takes up twice as much space in the washer as a flat sheet. Plus you have to take it off and put it back on.

I like a flat sheet because sometimes the duvet gets too hot and I throw it off, but I want something over me.

 

However, I also hate tucked in top sheets (and I could never sleep in a sleeping bag)- they hang free all around. Why do people think a top sheet has to be tucked in?

 

I tuck it in on the guest bed, so it looks neat and tidy when guests arrive, but there's nothing stopping them from untucking it. 

 

I had a super sweet guest from Prague who asked for an explanation of what she was meant to sleep under and over, which I found endearing.

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Greenville, SC
Level 10

@Sarah977  

 

I think for me, it goes back to childhood. My mother used to “tuck me in” at night before sleep, and it felt safe and secure…like the womb, maybe? Of course you’re right that the moment I flail and move around, there is no more cocoon, so tucking in is a lot of work for minimal benefit. Not to mention quite difficult to do by yourself, once you are in the bed. 🙂

 

Also, my mother taught me to make the bed that way. Apparently that old habit died hard for many, many….many years. Too bad it took decades before I adapted some of her other more practical bits of wisdom.🙄

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

“A duvet cover takes up twice as much space in the washer as a flat sheet”.

 

@Sarah977 I know, but where I am it’s cold the majority of the year, so we can’t get away with just sheets, blankets and coverlets. Even in the summer, some nights can be cool. Down filled duvets with covers, heavy for winter, light for summer, work best for me. They tend to wash better than comforters, too. And like I say, I did start out with flat sheets under the duvets, but guests would lie on top of them, so I quit. I do leave flat sheets in the linen cupboard if someone wants one. 

 

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Colleen253  Top sheet and duvet is what I have always used for myself- that way I only wash my duvet cover once or twice a season. Never used blankets or comforters in the winter.

 

In the summer it's just a top sheet and light blanket.

Same for the guest bed and I've never had a guest who slept on top of the top sheet.

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Sarah977 Still not sold on the virtue of flat sheets, lol. My guests use them wrong and they would just drive me nuts on my own bed. 

Oh, but if you ever come stay here, there will be one available for you to use, and I’ll revel in the fact you’ll use it properly. 🙂

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Laura2592  I'd second Pat's no top sheet, and while I don't need a lot of pillows, I hate it when the one or two provided are either like flat pancakes, or so thick they put your neck and head in an unnatural position.

 

Also a lack of bedside table reading lamp. Having to get out of bed to turn off the cieling light, which sucks for reading anyway, then find your way back to the bed in the dark is no fun. 

 

I also don't mind warm temps, and generally don't like AC. I like for there to be a movable fan provided so I don't have to use AC and can position the fan where I need it.

 

A lack of adequate window covering, so that I get woken by the first light of day, is also a peeve. I do travel with a soft, squishy pillow I can drape over my eyes and ears to block light and sound.

Re: Amenity expectations in different geographic locations

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Pat271 :

 

 I would be unhappy about not having a flat sheet but I wouldn’t complain. I’d probably just buy one.

 

The lack of even one really sharp chef’s knife is common but understandable. People abuse them and apparently some people don’t notice because they have never used a sharp knife.

 

We always take a small kit of essential kitchen tools with us when we travel.

 

My brother and I rented a veritable mansion in Boca Chica, Panama that was infested with vampire bats. We could deal with that (just don’t leave your toes sticking out at night) but we thought the owner might be interested in finding out how they were getting in.

 

He wasn’t. 

I checked the emergency diesel generator (because I’m a suspicious engineer) and found that the battery was dead, there was no oil in it, and the fuel tank was empty.

 

 The whole house was moldy and smelly. So my brother called and POLITELY asked if he knew the house was not being maintained.

 

He immediately got huffy. What the HECK did we expect him to do about it? He was in Florida and it’s impossible to get anyone to do anything in Panama and there were a bunch of Russian guys in there just six months ago and they didn’t have any complaints, they loved it…

 

When he calmed down he helpfully suggested that we drive an hour into town and buy a car battery, motor oil and 20 gallons of diesel because we would certainly be needing the generator. (Electric service in remote areas is unreliable. We knew that.)

 

No mention of reimbursement which rather peeved me. I didn’t go there to pay this guy $400 a day for the privilege of servicing his diesel generator.

 

 We agreed toward the end of a bottle of Ron Abuelo that we would clean the place up and try to get the generator working, whatever, we paid for a week and we were actually considering buying something there so we wanted the experience.

 

 The next morning we all woke up sick. I guess it was the mold. My ears and sinuses were completely stopped up and I was nearly deaf.

 

We all sat morosely around the breakfast table until my sister-in-law said, “Do we really have to spend another six nights here?”

 

 The rest of us said “NO!” and we were out of there before noon.

 

 We did NOT ask for a refund, but I claimed the privilege of writing the review which I also posted on Google because the owner did not respond.

 

That house is no longer listed on Airbnb.

 

 I got sidetracked, but my point was going to be: If you rent in the tropics do not freak about things like:

 

Vampire bats

Large bloodsucking insects

Mold, mildew and slime 

Coral snakes 

Crabs that sneak into the kitchen at night and eat the crumbs

Chameleons who live inside 

Huge smelly toads 

Unreliable public services 

Minor leaks in the roof 

 

That’s just the way it is.

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