Booking a hotel can be a true mission from time to time, because so many aspects play a roll when booking a hotel. Some of those aspects we keep in mind are the following: location, safety, amenities and of course, the room and what it offers. I tend to book different hotels for my destinations according to what I will be doing, wether its a lay over hotel or a hotel where I will be spending more than a week at. And of course, each hotel serves a different purpose.
For the past three years hotels have become my home away from home and throughout those years I have encountered some weird situations that are worth sharing with you all to keep in mind. While every hotel has a different approach with their guest, other properties have a completely different approach in regards of security and overall costumer comfort. I happen to have some of the best hotel experiences in the Middle East and in Asia, with a few exceptions in Europe where I had a great stay at the W Barcelona. Keep in mind I am sharing my tips and my experiences, this in no regards mean you will have the same experience but it is a heads up regardless. Without further a due, lets begin.
10 TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN STAYING AT A HOTEL
- Wether you have elite status at the hotel chain you’re staying or not, always make sure you get the benefits that states when booking your hotel room. Each hotel room or promotion offers some sort of perks and some of the employees at the property may not be aware of them, so wether you get 10% off at a restaurant in the property or breakfast is included on your booking, always verify that your benefits are being recognized throughout your stay.
- Know the rules of the hotels and if you aren’t clear about them, ask upon check-in. As a personal experience, I was staying at the Four Points Darling Harbor. I had the do-not disturb sign on all day long and later in the afternoon my door was knocked by security. They asked if everything was ok and that they needed to inspect my room for “security purposes” I asked what was the reason behind this and it was due to me having the do not disturb sign all day. That was a first for me out of the hundreds of hotels I’ve stayed so knowing the rules will save you some disturbing moments during your stay.
- Upon check-in and getting to see your room for the first time be sure to inspect it all. If you find things that aren’t working or the room is dirty or has a bad odor, notify the front desk right away for a room change. This will avoid you issues throughout your stay and they will be able to accommodate you to a room faster. Past experiences I had to deal with this multiple times and moving from room to room during my stay is never a comfortable experience. Notify the hotel about anything you see damaged to avoid getting the blame for something you didn’t do.
- This may be obvious for some but never hurts to refresh it – Make sure to keep all of your valuable belongings on the safe box at all times when you aren’t in the room, specially your passport when traveling International. The safety of your belongings its truly important and keeping them “away” from the reach of others will save you a long lasting headache.
- When paying a bill at the hotel make sure you request for your receipt and the employers name who handled the transaction for you, specially if its being done at the front desk. From my recent experience in Sydney, I paid my bill in cash, had my receipt and remembered who helped me. They tried charging me again because they stated I never paid the bill. The front desk employer ended up keeping my cash and left my bill unpaid. Security cameras showed me paying my bill and I had all required information to let the General Manager know.
- Report any suspicious activities or things that don’t look normal at the hotel. This is for your own safety and the safety of the other guest and employees. Don’t be afraid to let the front desk staff know what you’re seeing, smelling or see happening. Letting the staff know about suspicious activities will avoid any major issues to occur.
- The mini bars items tend to be expensive and over priced. Do not touch the items on the mini bar because as soon as you do, they will expect you to “buy it”. Avoid the hassle of explaining yourself to the staff, do not eat and touch the things you see on the mini bar. Lesson learned, I touched one item at a hotel once and they wanted to charge me $8 and I never opened the bottle.
- Hotel Wi-Fi seems to be one of those items on the bill that catches a lot of guest by surprise. I have elite status with every hotel chain out there and luckily my Wi-Fi is comped by the property but more than I can think of its been an item that has been on my bill more than I can count and not taken out. For those with no elite status and the hotel states that you will have “free wifi with your room” make sure it is indeed true and it won’t be a “hidden fee charge” upon check out.
- When in the room, always keep your doors locked. No matter if you’re staying on a five star property, for your own safety always lock the door and use every locking feature your door offers and never leaving it briefly open incase you’re headed down the hall to get ice or a snack ;).
- Don’t be afraid to speak up at check out. Normally the staff at check out will either ask you how was your experience or have you fill up a survey. This is your time to disclose facts about your stay that you didn’t like, things that could have been better and improved. As a kind gesture the hotel will do something to “make up” for their mistakes with the hopes of you returning to their property. At the end, fight for your rights and treat them with respect. Hospitality goes hand in hand.
I hope you all have found these tips helpful for your next trip. These are some of the tips I always keep in mind when traveling and they have served me well to avoid any major issues.