The UX of the Renaissance Hotel

At AjaxExperience, we stayed at the Boston Renaissance Hotel.  It was mostly 95% pleasant, but the 5% really annoyed me.  Is this nitpicking or human behavior?  I definetely feel like it’s the little things that matter.  Although if you screw up the big things that is bad too.  In general, I had a good time and would suggest staying at the hotel.  I think the little things to fix are very easy to fix and don’t “ruin” the stay.

The good stuff

The hotel is beautiful.  The lobby is comfortable but classy.  The hallways are well lit and there is a nice sense of style throughout.  The bed was comfortable and the sheets/comforter was nicer than the one I have at home.  The shower had great water pressure and was hot right away.  They had little peanut-butter cups at the front desk which I thought was brilliant.  And finally, the service was good; friendly and competant.

The Nitpicky stuff

The front door to the hotel is one of those giant revolving doors.  The problem with it is that you have to stand ALL the way to the right otherwise the door stops moving.  I kept bumping myself into the glass and getting frustrated.  Also, the door fits 1 person and a rolling bag, but not two people.  There were many embarrassing “ooops” moments with two people smushed into one wedge.  Partial solution: Adjust the sensitivity of the door to keep it moving.  I suppose they need a revolving door because of cold air, but they might consider regular doors.

The restaurant was 2x as expensive as I thought it would be.  A small sandwich was $28.  The quality of the food was 0.5x what I thought is should be.  A $28 sandwich should be great, not mediocre.  I was really bummed after that meal.  Solution: Lower the price or increase the quality.

In the room, there were three problems.  All very easy to fix.

First, when you enter the room, there is a switch that says “Master Switch”.  Clicking it seemed to have no effect at all.  I tried different combinations and couldn’t figure it out.  I asked other people about it and we all laughed that we had no idea what that does.  Solution:  Make the switch turn off/on ALL of the lights that are on in the room.  Make it a master switch!

Second was the light in the bathroom.  Two different kinds of light switches that work in totally different ways.  One was a switch, normal.  The other was a wierd touch-click sort of light switch.  Why make them different?  I kept getting annoyed every time I wanted to take a shower and have the light turn on.  It was just not obvious and there was no reason to have it that way.  Solution: Make both the switches the same.

Lastly was the clock.  I couldn’t find the snooze button in the dark.  This was REALLY annoying to figure out if I should get up or sleep for a few more minutes.  The whole clock was way to complicated.  I just want a simple clock that I could set an alarm and snooze a few times.  Solution: Make the snooze button gigantic.  That button should also alluminate the numbers in green.

I have one more nitpick.  Internet access was slow and not free.  I paid $13 a night for access and it was dog slow.  I think that sucks.  Internet access should be free and slow, or fast with pay.  They had a $18 version that supposedly was faster, but that is just way too much money.  I pay that for a MONTH of access at home.  One night should be cheaper.  Solution:  Don’t try to make profit on internet access.  Just let the customer pay for their fair share of fast access.


I would stay at the hotel again.  But I shake my head with these little fixable things that rub me the wrong way.  The restaurant is off-limits though.  Good thing, there was a great restaurant next door called the Legal test Kitchen.  Very good food.

One reply on “The UX of the Renaissance Hotel”

I completely agree about the revolving door– I had “embarassing issues” with it 2 out of 3 days of the conference. In fact, there’s gotta be a security camera pointed directly at the entrance so the front desk can get a constant chuckle watching hotel guests being thumped and flailed about.

Anyways, excellent presentation. Your passion and excitement about user experience and good design is inspirational.

Whatya think?