I’ve written before about the monumental importance of hotel coffee.
- A business hotel needs to be able to provide coffee 24 hours a day.
- There are lots of ways to do this: in-room machines, club lounge, lobby, and even room service.
- The coffee needs to be drinkable, and that includes making it possible to get the real milk or creamer of your choice.
That’s just basics. Hotels without in-room coffee, and a lobby option, and that do not offer 24 hour room service are a complete and total #fail. Claiming to be an upscale or full service property, and aiming at business travelers, they’re completely missing the point.
I’ve been to too many properties where there’s no coffee before 6 a.m. That’s great, until:
- You’re coming in from another time zone, and getting up at 4.
- You have an early flight.
- You need to get up early to work on a presentation.
Morning coffee can set the tone for the whole day, and entire stay.
The coffee bar at the Hilton New York JFK.. more than once I’ve shown up half an hour after opening to find no one working, this time I got lucky!
Hotels succeed by helping their guests succeed. Fail at this simple task and you’ll lose the loyalty of your business travelers. They’ll wonder why the property with great facilities and a competitive room rate in a good location isn’t getting the level of midweek repeat business they expect and it may come down to something simple like this that they’re ignoring.
But hotels aren’t the only ones failing here.
Have you ever actually tried to drink the coffee on a US domestic airline? American’s new Airbus A321T flying between New York JFK and Los Angeles and San Francisco has a cappuccino machine in first class. I have only flown business class on this plane, though, so I’ve not had a decent cup of coffee on a US airline’s plane.
Cathay Pacific makes a decent cappuccino but the airline won’t serve hot drinks when the seat belt sign is on. A little turbulence on approach to Hong Kong after a long overnight flight and having no access to coffee is another form of coffee fail.
Both before and after the flight, though, airlines can do better. Lounge coffee.
I like the coffee at American’s arrivals lounge at Heathrow. Coffee in an arrivals lounge is an imperative.
So if lounge coffee for those super early morning departures. I don’t mind the coffee at all in the US Airways lounge at LaGuardia.
I may sound like I’m focusing on minutiae, and that I’m difficult to please, but self-serve push botton machines with something other than the cheapest beans or pods is fine. Watery, weak brew coffee is not. Burned coffee is not. No coffee is not.
Points, Miles, and Martinits notes that the Delta Sky Club in Seattle has a new Starbucks machine. That’s a bigger deal than most realize, he reports on it from a club arrival at 5 a.m. Those flights are rough. A club membership is supposed to make travel smoother and easier. Airline clubs need to pay attention to coffee and do it right.
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