Rick Steves' Hotel Pet Peeve Is A Minor Inconvenience Every Traveler Can Relate To

For decades, Rick Steves has spent at least 100 days of every year traveling around Europe. It's no secret that he's learned a lot from all those trips — his business is built on destination guidebooks, a travel TV show, and in-person tours, after all.

Besides finding the best food in Italy or learning the ins and outs of the London Underground, the travel guru has uncovered a lot of juicy insights on hotels and accommodations. Much to our delight, Steves has revealed his favorite hotels in major European cities, from a historic Roman inn to a relatively affordable hotel in Madrid.

Of course, not every accommodation can be a winner, and Steves revealed one pet peeve that can get in the way of a comfortable stay: too many pillows. In a short clip from 2018, the travel writer showed his hotel bed covered in a whopping 13 pillows, most of which seemed to be decorative. "If you measure the quality of a hotel on how many pillows you can stack on the bed, I would say you're [judging] your hotel the wrong way," Steves quips in the video.

Why are there so many pillows on hotel beds?

Hotel rooms tend to be minimalistic, with little more than some basic furniture, a bathrobe, and a small stash of complimentary toiletries. Complicated decor isn't usually part of the aesthetic, unless you're staying in, say, an impressive presidential suite. So why do some hotels provide guests with an excessive number of pillows?

One reason may be to make the room feel fuller and more welcoming. Vases and candles could be hazardous, but pillows are safe and hard to tear open. Therefore, if a room needs a bit of character, a stack of pillows can be a better option compared to other accessories. Plus, cushions can be comforting for solo travelers who'd rather not leave half the bed looking barren.

Sometimes, those pillows can also serve a function beyond style. While you might not need all 13 pillows, you may decide to use a few extra to prop your head up or support your knees while sleeping. Some luxury hotels even offer a pillow menu to ensure guests have just the padding and support they're looking for.

Besides being annoying, extra pillows can be dirty

Rick Steves doesn't say exactly why he despises extra pillows in hotel rooms, but he doesn't hesitate to throw the majority of the ones provided to him on the floor, leaving just three remaining on the bed. "Make the room your own," he says at the end of the clip.

Chances are, most other travelers deal with their over-decorated hotel beds in exactly the same way — tossing most of the cushions on the floor next to their shoes and suitcases. This means that, besides being a nuisance, all those extra pillows can actually be covered in dirt and germs. Jacob Tomsky, a hotel expert, confirmed this to Express, noting that the floors are only vacuumed and rarely shampooed or deep-cleaned.

If you thought the decorative pillow covers got washed just like the regular pillowcases, think again. Daniel Romero, manager of the Park James Hotel in Menlo Park, California, told Business Insider, "Throw pillows are not easy to clean. Anytime someone drools or gets makeup smeared on these pillows, they need to be specially cleaned or, in the worst cases, thrown out." Maybe they belong on the floor after all.