Why Don’t Hotels Have Microwaves?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hotels often do not provide microwaves in rooms due to safety concerns, cost, lack of space, and wanting guests to use their dining facilities.
  • Providing a microwave in every room would be expensive for hotels in terms of purchasing, installation, and maintenance.
  • Microwaves can potentially cause fires or other safety issues if used improperly by guests unfamiliar with the appliances.
  • Hotels have limited space and want to maximize room aesthetics rather than clutter rooms with large appliances.
  • On-site restaurants and room service are profitable for hotels, so they prefer guests use those instead of preparing their own food.


Staying in a hotel is a common experience for many travelers and vacationers. Upon checking into a guest room, it doesn’t take long to notice something missing – a microwave. The absence of an appliance that is ubiquitous in most homes and apartments is puzzling to some hotel guests who wish to heat up leftovers or prepare snacks. Why is it standard practice for hotels to not have microwaves available in rooms?

This article will provide a comprehensive look at the key reasons microwaves are typically absent from hotel rooms. By evaluating considerations such as costs, safety, design, and hospitality industry practices, the rationale behind this lack of an amenity will be fully explained. For travelers who rely on the convenience of a microwave or are simply curious about their absence, this discussion covers all the main factors that influence hotels in their decision to forego putting microwaves in rooms.

Understanding why most hotels do not offer in-room microwaves can help manage expectations and allow guests to plan food accommodations accordingly. With insight into the hotel industry’s perspective on this small but impactful amenity, the analysis provided here aims to satisfy the curiosity of many hotel patrons.

Why Are Microwaves Rare in Hotel Rooms?

There are a few primary reasons why the majority of hotels do not have microwaves available in their rooms. By evaluating each key factor, we can better understand the considerations hotels make when determining room amenities.

Are microwaves unsafe for hotels?

One of the top reasons hotels may avoid in-room microwaves is safety concerns. Microwave use entails some risks, especially in an unsupervised hotel room setting. According to a study by the National Fire Protection Association, microwaves accounted for 20% of home cooking fires from 2014-2018. The main causes included flammable items like paper or plastic being placed inside and food overheating or catching fire. These risks would likely increase in a hotel environment where microwaves are being operated by different guests each day who may not be familiar with the appliance. To minimize fire hazards and liability, hotels often deem it safest to simply not provide microwaves at all.

Are in-room microwaves too expensive for hotels?

Another major barrier to hotels installing microwaves is the significant expense involved. Costs accrue from:

  • Purchasing the microwave units themselves
  • Electrical and installation costs for each unit
  • Structural modifications to rooms to properly mount and ventilate the appliances
  • Ongoing maintenance and eventual replacement

Studies from hotel industry experts estimate that equipping rooms with microwaves can cost over $100 per room upfront, plus ongoing costs equivalent to offering additional amenities like minifridges or coffee makers. These expenses quickly add up for hotels with hundreds of rooms. For many, the investment does not provide enough return to justify the costs. Luxury hotels can more easily absorb these expenses, but mid-range and budget hotels are especially hesitant to take on the costs of universal in-room microwaves.

Do microwaves take up too much space?

Limited space in hotel rooms also impacts the microwave decision. Rooms are designed for aesthetic appeal and efficient use of space. Installing bulky appliances like microwaves takes up prime real estate in the room. Their substantial size and ventilation requirements also make microwaves difficult to install in smaller, retrofitted rooms of older hotels. Streamlining room amenities allows more spaciousness and flexible room configurations. Travelers usually only use a microwave for brief periods, so hotels often view it as an unnecessary permanently-installed appliance compared to movable electronics like televisions. The convenience of a microwave is not always worth sacrificing space and optimal room design.

Do hotels want guests to use their on-site food options instead?

Finally, hospitality industry practices favor hotel dining profits over guest cooking convenience. Providing microwaves and refrigerators encourages guests to bring their own food and drinks into rooms. However, hotels generate significant revenue from on-site restaurants and room service. They design policies to maximize this income, motivating guests to spend money at their facilities. While some hotels provide communal guest microwaves in lobbies, most avoid putting them directly in rooms. They aim to drive demand towards profitable food and beverage services covered by room rates and fees. The hotel industry sees strategic value in keeping guests dependent on their on-site dining options.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hotel Microwaves

Why do some hotels have microwaves but most don’t?

While microwaves are still scarce across hotels in general, some do offer them selectively in a portion of rooms or in a common area. Luxury hotels are more likely to have in-room microwaves as higher room rates help offset appliance costs. Extended stay hotels also frequently have in-room microwaves and kitchenettes to accommodate longer-term guests. Outside of upscale hotels, it is still rare for mainstream hotels to have universal microwave availability due to the cost and effort involved.

Can I request a microwave if it’s not already in my room?

You can always request a microwave, but availability will depend on the individual hotel. Some hotels have a limited supply to provide upon request. Others only equip certain room categories or floors with microwaves. Policies vary, so it is best to check at booking if microwaves can be requested. In many cases, the hotel simply does not have microwaves on hand to provide guests. Be aware that an additional fee may apply for microwave delivery and the request may not always be satisfied due to limited supply.

Where can I find a microwave if my hotel room doesn’t have one?

If an in-room microwave is not available, some options include:

  • Check if the hotel has a communal microwave in the lobby or a shared kitchen area for guest use.
  • Ask at the front desk if microwaves are available to borrow or rent onsite.
  • Visit a nearby convenience store, market, or gas station.
  • As a last resort, purchase a small portable microwave that can be safely plugged in to the room’s outlets.

Can I bring my own small microwave?

You can bring a small personal microwave, but be sure to check with the hotel first. Some prohibit outside appliances due to safety concerns. If permitted, only bring microwaves that are compact (less than 700 watts), have short cords, and do not require special outlets. Operate safely, never leave unattended, and follow all hotel policies to avoid issues.

Why not just use the coffee maker to heat up food instead?

Coffee makers do produce heat, but are not designed for cooking food. The heating element rarely gets hot enough to be effective for anything beyond liquids. Using these appliances to heat up food can be very slow, ineffective, or even dangerous. Most hotel coffee makers explicitly warn against this misuse for safety reasons. Microwaves are specifically engineered for food, making them far more effective and safe when used properly.


When initially entering a hotel room, noticing the lack of a typical microwave can elicit surprise. Upon closer examination, hotels have several valid reasons for their standard practice of not installing microwaves universally in rooms. Safety hazards, equipment and operating costs, design priorities, and promoting on-site dining all influence the decision to omit this small but useful appliance. While in-room microwaves remain rare overall, understanding the hotel industry perspective provides helpful context on the rationale behind this amenity gap.

For occasional microwave needs, guests can request temporary use of one, if available. With thoughtful preparation, the lack of an in-room microwave should not detract from an otherwise enjoyable hotel experience. This look at the primary factors hotels consider provides clarity into an absence many travelers have wondered about.

About The Author

Scroll to Top