In response to research that reveals nearly half of us ask to switch hotel rooms on arrival, Thistle hotels is allowing guests to pick their own room. Designed also to eliminate the worry that four in ten clients apparently feel before they check in, guests can allocate themselves a room in the same way that they would a plane or theatre seat.

A “choose your own room” service is being trialed in the Thistle Euston hotel ( and Telegraph Travel tested it last week. Being able to pick exactly which room you stay in is just one of several new services available to hotel guests. These days’ rooms can be designed to exacting specifications, from what pillows are stuffed with to what the room smells like.

Conrad Hotels recently launched a new concierge app that allowed guests to pre-book room service as well as request things such as the brand of toiletries for their bathroom. But does all this choice make for a better experience? Who has the time to plan so meticulously that they find themselves mulling over a hotel “scent menu”? After booking a room at the Thistle Euston, guests are sent an email granting online access to the hotel floor plan. On a Wednesday night, a reporter from the Telegraph was given the option of picking between five different rooms available over two floors in my price category. There were also photos for each room, including a 360-degree interactive “tour”. She preferred a view of trees to concrete and a room as high up as possible, so she could quickly eliminate a handful of options. But narrowing it down further, in a hotel chain where the rooms are fairly uniform, was harder. On one floor, rooms had slightly different sets of furniture and televisions that were mounted on the wall. Would you care? I wouldn’t, though some people might.

‘’As Brits we hate to complain, so concerns about causing a fuss if we don’t like the room we’re allocated really can spoil a stay for many’’, explained David Grosfils of Thistle Hotels.

Some hotel reviewers were unconvinced however. “I’m cynical,” said the Telegraph hotel expert, Fiona Duncan, “especially as all the rooms are decoratively exactly the same. It’s a marketing ploy designed to make the guest feel in charge. To me, it takes all the mystique and sense of excitement about staying in a hotel and throws it in the bin.”

I think it’s a great idea. There is some pleasure in arriving to find my room exactly as you had expected it – far enough away from the lift; with the right number of beds and not an air conditioning unit to be seen. And half the fun of taking a holiday is planning it. ''Choosing your hotel room'' gets my vote everytime!


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