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Why Are Hotel Carpets So Horrible?

Texture of messy curly plastic fiber

Do you think that ridiculously busy hotel carpet pattern is just for show? Think again!

Frequent travelers know that in the land of hotel carpets, it seems like there’s an ongoing competition to out-weird one another with the busiest pattern possible. Sure, the design can be used as a hallmark of that particular brand (some hotels even create their own carpet designs and fiercely protect the pattern), but there’s an ulterior motive at play. It goes hand-in-hand with another hotel carpet peculiarity: they all feel so weird!

Far from plush, hotel carpets tend to be thicker, smoother and harder than anything a guests might find in their own living room. And there’s a very good reason — durability.

These carpets are designed to withstand years of heavy foot traffic, wear and tear. To accomplish this purpose, they’re created with shorter and denser piles, or the part of the carpet your feet actually touch. The taller the pile and less dense the fabric, the more plush the carpet will be. Plush carpets are harder to maintain, and they camouflage debris that might damage the fabric because it’s more difficult to see or vacuum up.

But back to the pattern. If the thickness is meant for durability and ease of cleaning, the patterns are there to disguise a mess. If someone spills a box of M&Ms (or anything else) on a noisy hotel carpet, you’re not likely to notice right away if the carpet is the typical Technicolor patterning.

Of course, if you ask anyone in Vegas, the carpet designs are more mystical. “Casino carpet is known as an exercise in deliberate bad taste that somehow encourages people to gamble,” says Dave Schwartz, Director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

[Photo: iStock]

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jlawrence01 September 1, 2015

The real question is "why do you need carpeting in hotel rooms"? I stayed at a Super 8 in Las Vegas, NM and they had laminate flooring in all guest rooms and public areas. The place looked a lot cleaner than any property I have stayed at in years.