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The Mysterious Hotel Iron – Do you or don’t you?

Do you use the dreaded hotel iron or do you take your own?

Travelling is about visiting new places, exploring new foods, listening to the sounds of a new language and playing in the snow for the first time. For some of us it’s the “heart in your mouth” feeling of flying for the first time, a work conference or catching up with family and friends.

Whatever the reason, travellers have one thing in common – the hotel iron!

The dilemma is, do you use the dreaded hotel iron or do you take your own?

I travel frequently for work and pleasure and have come across my fair share of the world’s worst hotel irons and ironing boards.

Irons come in all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of usefulness:

*Short cords that won’t even reach from the power point to the ironing board.

*Long cords that everyone trips over.

*Leaky irons that spill water all over your gorgeous dress.

*Irons with so much sticky residue on the plate that it not only won’t glide over your clothes but leaves skid marks on them.

*And then there is the hotel room with no iron at all which you always discover when you are on a time limit and have only enough time to drop your bags, iron a shirt, change and run.

Several times whilst travelling I have had the unfortunate pleasure of getting the hotel room with no iron. So what do you do…call housekeeping and finally received an iron an hour before checking out?

Other good alternatives include steaming your shirts in the bathroom whilst you have a shower or ironing shirts with a hairdryer.  

Yes, I had this brilliant idea on the first night of a 3 week trip to the UK when we arrived in a hotel on the outskirts of Manchester.  We were heading out to meet friends, however there was no iron in the cupboard to accompany the weary looking ironing board. I called housekeeping and they said, “We’ll bring one straight up”, which I interpreted to mean in the next 5 minutes.  As the time ticked by with no sign of said iron, I decided that the easiest way to iron my husband’s shirt was with the hair dryer. Although he tried to talk me out of this course of action - I was sure it would work (I still to this day blame the jetlag!) - I sprinkled some water on the shirt and proceeded to “iron” the shirt by blowing warm air onto it with the hairdryer – on the lowest setting of course.  I was amazed, it was working really well so I turned up the heat and moved the hair dryer a little closer to the shirt to speed up the process.  To my horror I melted a panel of my husband’s favourite shirt, which I never heard the end of and we never stop laughing about!

Ironing boards are a completely different beast.

*Wobbly ironing boards – no matter how many widgets you put underneath, the legs still threaten to collapse every time you touch it

*The galloping ironing board – I don’t know how it happens but as you iron, the board moves sideways and you have to keep pulling it back into place

*No padding on the ironing board – giving you a great honeycomb pattern on your shirts!

*Slippery ironing board covers – where someone actually has to hold the shirt on the board whilst you iron it so it won’t slip off

Many times it’s easier to ditch the ironing board, place a towel on the cupboard and iron on top of the cupboard!

In these times of health and safety and fire regulations there are some hotels in the world that won’t provide an iron or ironing board in any hotel rooms.  They are very conscious of the possibility of fire or someone burning themselves.  Some travellers believe that this is so the hotel can make extra money by making guests utilise their laundry and dry cleaning services. Other hotels do have them available at reception but not in the rooms.

"So what is the answer to the hotel iron dilemma?"

Do you run the gauntlet and make the most of whatever amenities present themselves and perhaps make lasting memories of melted shirts?

Do you take your own travel iron and possibly flaunt the laws of the country but have beautifully ironed shirts?

Do you use the hotel laundry, dry cleaning and pressing service?

A great tip is to email ahead to the hotel if you have made bookings before you travel and enquire about the availability of irons and boards.  You can then make an informed decision as to whether you really need to fill your backpack with “essentials” like a travel iron.

Also there are many designers making great fabrics which are wrinkle free and are “travel friendly” that you can fill your suitcase with so you can spend your time exploring and not ironing.

There are millions of hotel irons in the world – some will love us and some will battle us – so enjoy the journey and don’t stress about the wrinkles!

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