Hotels – love ’em or hate ’em, any traveler encounters them regularly! Here I share a few tips and ideas for getting the most out of any hotel stay, be it business or pleasure.
1. You never know if you never ask! When you check in, ask if the hotel is full. Then ask what type of room they have for you. And THEN ask if there are any possible upgrades available. What you’re looking for here is “free.” And if you’re nice (you can assume that hotel front desk people have to deal with the same lot of humanity that airline reservations people and flight attendants have to deal; niceness counts), you just may be happily surprised. If nothing is available, smile and say, “thanks for checking.”
2. Pack it, baby. I usually pack a scented candle, slippers or socks, a little snack or two (some nuts, or crackers or what not), and a Diet Coke (oh, the horrors of being surprised with a) no mini bar (where a Diet Coke costs, like, $5 for cryin’ out loud – what is UP with that?), b) no vending machine or c) a vending machine that does not work. I have also learned that packing a half-bottle of wine is quite the delight if you’re going to be there for a couple days. It’s nice to return to your room at the end of a business day and treat yourself to a glass (without racking up a hotel bar bill and trying to slide that past on your expense report!) Just remember to pack a corkscrew (I’ve had no problems getting it past security.) If you toss a half-bottle into you bag, you WILL have to check it – but sometimes you can find a nice little shop near your hotel selling half bottles, too (and the afore-mentioned Diet Cokes.)
3. Unplug the stupid alarm clock/radio in the room. NO MORE will I be woken at 4:15 a.m. by an alarm that either a previous guest set or a maid accidentally set. I use my cell phone alarm clock instead.
4. If there is a coffee machine set-up in the room, call downstairs and ask for MORE coffee packets/ pod things. Because, seriously, you have to make two half-cups to make a whole cup of anything strong enough to get this Princess up and at it in the morning. Don’t forget to ask for extra cream or sugar packets while you’re at it.
5. Pillow fight: I was recently at the Biltmore in L.A. for a tres glam event (the Grammy Awards if you must know) and had my hair all glammed up for the big fete. How I wished I had a satin pillowcase for overnight coiffure maintenance. I called downstairs to see if they had one, but alas, the answer was no. Am thinking of packing my own for my next big Hollywood affair.
All in all, the name of the game here is ask, ask, ask. If you do it nicely, you will be rewarded more often than not, I promise.