How many times have you spent hours travelling - road, train or plane - with the thought of checking into your hotel, enjoying a nice hot shower and curling up in bed the only thing keeping you going?
Unfortunately, this idealistic manner of how our journey ends doesn't always come to fruition and it's often the middle component - the shower - that lets the side down.
Sure, if your bed is a little lumpy or the receptionist a little unpleasant then this can dampen your mood somewhat, but there's something about standing under a powerful, steaming shower that can (literally) wash all of those other indiscretions away.
Whether it's a one-star or five-star establishment, the quality of the shower has the potential to make or break your stay - so what is it that so many hotels are failing to get right when it comes to this important element of their bathroom?
There are fewer things more disappointing in the world than standing underneath the shower, turning it on and being greeted with just a trickle of water instead of the blast you were expecting. The worst thing is that if you want it hot, you'll lose even more power.
It's annoying because in modern times, we shouldn't have to put up with this at all - especially if we've paid for the privilege of using the shower in the first place.
Adequate water flow should be a standard that every hotel operator strives to achieve as a bare minimum - we don't think it's unreasonable to get annoyed when this isn't the case.
Just like water pressure, a shower that refuses to warm up is sometimes worse than not having a shower at all.
This is because it's kind of a case of what could have been - you can feel the pressure is good, but there's no way you're going to be able to stay in there long enough to enjoy it, or even get the basics done and clean yourself if there's no heat coming through at all.
If the water is lukewarm, it's not much better. In these situations, the shower certainly isn't relaxing, as the 'heat' coming from it is merely functional as opposed to helping to create an environment that you can relax in.
With many people using the plumbing system at once, with the potential for guests in different rooms simultaneously using showers, toilets and sinks, this can potentially render your own bathroom unusable during 'peak hours'. However, as not every hotel is like this, it's obviously not an industry-wide problem - so why do so many establishments fail to sort it out?
Naturally, these two go hand-in-hand. While it's your own business how often you clean your shower and its plughole at home, you expect a certain standard of maintenance in a hotel that means this should never really happen.
That said, it does - and because it's happened in a hotel, this makes it even worse on two counts. The first is that it's not hard to keep your drain from blocking, especially when you presume there will be staff regularly cleaning and turning over the room, so emptying the plughole protector or cleaning the drain itself should be a regular occurence.
The killer blow though, is the thought of what's actually causing the blockage: other people's hair and bodily waste. When it subsequently floods, all that ends up floating back up around your feet.
User manual required
A common problem that's encountered while out on the road is the shower that you have absolutely no idea how to make work.
Whether it's turning up the temperature, increasing the pressure or simply figuring out how to get water out of the thing in the first place, some devices really do require instructions to be printed on the side of the bathroom wall for users to get any benefit out of them.
Again, we don't think it's an unreasonable request to have an easy-to-use, logically-functioning shower. The hotel owners should have had some say in the units they are buying to kit their establishment out - so why go for one that makes no sense when trying to get it to work?
Of course, we're all used to our own showers at home, so it could be argued that ones we're unfamiliar with might take some getting used to. However, no shower should take more than a minute to figure out what's what.
Do hotel staff test the showers themselves?
If they don't, then perhaps they should. Many people will judge whether or not they would return to a hotel on the quality of its shower, with all other elements an afterthought. With this the case, why are there still a wide range of establishments that get it so wrong?
We can only presume that shower testing doesn't form part of the manager's job description - though there's certainly a case to be made that this should change if the venue wants to welcome its guests back time and time again.