After taking hundreds of business trips, I have a pretty clear idea of what matters to me in a hotel. Most people would probably say cleanliness is the most important thing, but I disagree. Number one is a comfortable bed. Number two is the heating/cooling system: it has to be able to keep the room at the right temperature, without making noises that will wake me up. If I can have those two things, I can sleep well, which is pretty much all that matters. (Number three, if there is a number three, is a hot, reasonably high-pressure shower. I can live without just about anything else.)
This past week we went to New York to visit my father (and my sister’s family, who were also visiting), and we decided to stay in a hotel. We booked a room in the Hampton Inn (in Elmsford), which is generally my favorite chain (cheap, everything free, newly remodeled, predictable). But we had a terrible time sleeping, because the heater didn’t have a constant fan setting, meaning that it kicked on periodically, and it also blew out extremely hot, dry air when it was on. So we checked out after the first night and switched to . . . the Ritz-Carlton (in White Plains).