I’ve travelled the world many times yet I’m still left asking where can you find a decent hotel sink plug?
Don’t worry I haven’t gone completely insane, well not quite anyway. It’s just something which you’d think you can take for granted, just a decent plug for a sink is all I ask.
If I’ve had a long flight and all I want to do is freshen up then maybe I need to fill the basin with water then I can splash my face. Or maybe I’m heading to work and I want to wet shave so I need to fill the sink with warm water. I just want a sink plug and chain for the job not these fancy pop up sink plugs or some nonsense I can only think is called a sink stopper.
The Good Old Days
When I was growing up it was simple, you had a sink plug. It looks like this:-
As annoying American golf fans would say, you put it “In the hole!”. Simple really. Everyone knows how to use it, it fits and you can take it out to drain the basin quickly.
Yet for some reason hotels around the world have moved beyond this straight forward and time proven working piece of kit. Now you need some fancy engineering contraption which is the design of an engineering mastermind or you need a degree in advanced plumbing to figure out how to use the blinking thing.
We’ve probably all seen the fancy push it in, push it out sink stopper in the plug hole. You can’t actually remove it, or it is with great difficulty. I often end up thinking this is a broken plug because in the morning I can’t open it and drain the sink. I end up leaving all my water full of shaving cream for the maid to figure out.
Why do sink plugs have to be so difficult? Why do we need so many different plug types?
Let me share with you some recent frustrating examples I’ve had to contend with.
A Two Part Trauma
On a more recent trip to Melbourne in Australia I stayed in the lovely Mercure hotel in the heart of the CBD. Yet this is the basin plug I had to contend with.
Okay you think, it can just be placed in the plug hole? Well yes okay I tried that. It wasn’t great if I’m being honest, the seal wasn’t water tight. As I was trying to shave the water kept draining away. As a result I had to keep running the tap to get more water.
I find this all a little bit of a joke since virtually every hotel now has a sign in the bathroom saying how they want to do their bit for the environment and save water.
Now this basin plug at the Mercure was quite unusual. It actually came in two parts. There is the black and chrome bit which is prominent in the picture above. Also slightly less visible is a white plastic bit which is the underside. This actually detached and looks like this.
Obviously I don’t have a degree in plumbing, although maybe I should to be an international business traveller? So I experimented a little bit. I tried putting the white bit into the plug hole by itself.
It seemed like a fairly snug fit as it looked like this.
With the plug for a sink supposedly in place I filled the basin with water. I waited, waited and waited. Within only a few moments the water started to seep away. Don’t be deceived by appearances, as great as this little white plug looks it is not water tight.
Following this failure in my experiment result I decided to add the black bit onto the white bit in the hole.
I filled the sink again. Yes you guessed it the water soon drained away.
Dr Guy then tried to block the plug hole with just the black part of the sink plug and then filled with water. This time the water drained away even quicker!
I was in this darn hotel for a week and a half and I couldn’t get a decent plug! I don’t think I ever got a truly decent shave that trip.
Then of course we have the dreaded plug with a lever. You know the ones, they can look a little like this.
Do you recognise it?
If not, well you see that little rod at the back of the tap? Well if you pull that up then the plug in the basin will start to close, in the hope of forming a water tight seal. Something like this:-
Well, it looks easy enough? Maybe in concept it does yet in spite of trying many of these in a hotel room I’ve very rarely achieved a water tight seal.
On a recent stay in a hotel in Amsterdam I came across a slightly new variation (for me at least) on this design.
As you can see, rather than the lever being behind the tap it is at the side of the sink.
How complicated do these things have to become? Is it a conspiracy by the plumbing convention to come up with the most expensive and engineeringly challenging water seal system possible?
I can’t imagine what goes through the mind of someone when they decide to build a hotel. They put all this attention to detail in their planning. They say to themselves what does a jet lagged business traveller want when they arrive at my hotel? Well they could have:-
– Warm and friendly welcome from Reception
– Quick check-in process
– Room with a comfortable bed
– HD TV
– A sink with the most complicated and stupid plug that doesn’t even hold water!
Seriously, WHY!!!!! Why do they have to be so darn stupid? If it is not broke then don’t fix it. Leave it alone I’m telling you.
A Working Example
This one works.
Can’t you see that?
It’s easy. I put it in. I pull it out. Just like erm…se…. (stop it – editor).
You know what I mean 😉
The thing is, it works and we all understand it.
What are your experiences with hotel sink plugs? Do you become frustrated with how complex and ineffective some of them can be? It certainly is one of my frustrations. So please tell me, where can you find a decent hotel plug?