More like a stay at a two-star inn, less like a sleepover at the Overlook.

If hotels could talk, what kind of tales would they tell? Maybe the bar would wax poetic about the travelers it served from around the world. The sheets, on the other hand, would just scream, and scream, and scream. Hotel Story for iOS doesn’t feature any talking fixtures; despite its name, it’s just a hotel-building sim. There’s little here that you haven’t experienced before, though it’s relaxing to watch your little guests bustle from place to place.

Hotel Story

Hotel Story is your story. Want a hotel that’s heavy on the amenities? Go for it. If you build it, they will bathe. Or would you rather pack in as many bedrooms as possible, thus attracting a record number of guests (and bedbugs)? It’s up to you. Regardless of how you build up your hotel, the procedure is the same: Wait for rooms to finish construction (or pay for instant completion via hard currency), collect the coins that your rooms/amenities produce, spend that money back on expansions, upgrades, and decorations that increase the value of your rooms and the guests’ happiness. Lather, rinse, repeat. You can also hire staff to give guests tours, which earns you money and items that can go towards making your hotel a little fancier.

The acquisition and use of said items help inject a little extra personality into Hotel Story‘s otherwise basic gameplay. You can find or buy accessories that improve the value of a room or amenities. Occasionally, guests hand them over for free. You need to decide how the item is best put to use. For instance, if you have a bottle of pop, you can “use” it on your vending machines to increase the machines’ value and appeal (because who the heck likes empty vending machines, right?). If you get a hold of a pillow, you can use it to increase the appeal, value, and comfort of a bedroom, which earns you more coin. Let’s assume guests were sleeping on cinder blocks until that point. If you do a good job pairing an item and its amenity, that amenity receives a big value bonus. If you try and stuff a pillow in the vending machine, that increase will be minimal at best.

Hotel Story

Hotel Story‘s easy pace and cute-looking guests make it a nice game to wind down with at the end of a hard day. There are a couple of rats in its kitchen, however. The game is free, but there’s a big fat banner ad at the top of the screen that you may wind up tapping instead of a room or a guest. The ad disappears if you purchase some of the game’s hard currency (diamonds).

Don’t count out purchasing diamonds, either. Hotel Story is surprisingly generous about handing out its hard currency, but it takes mountains of the shiny stuff to take short cuts. Want to finish a five-minute job instantly? That’ll be nine diamonds, please. Worse, you begin the game with two workers, which means you can only work on two building projects at a time. If you want to hire a third, prepare to cough up 50 diamonds.

Hotel Story is far from perfect, but it has a gentle atmosphere that’s appealing if you feel run down by the Hotel Dash games. Go on and stay for a brief visit. Don’t rip off the hair dryer, please.