It seems every aspect of travel has become more difficult over time. We all know about how navigating the airport has gotten more complicated from the September 11 attacks right up through yesterday – more challenging every time. The airplanes have smaller seats and fewer places for your bag. Every step of your trip requires multiple check-ins and proof that you are who you say you are. And everything is getting crazy expensive. It almost makes you want to not go on vacation at all.
However, there is good news to report. If you want to go ahead and splurge and stay in a 5-star hotel, there are more perks than you know about. There are the obvious things, of course, but there are extras that are available if you are in the know. The hotels, of course, want to maximize their profit by not publicizing these things so that people won’t ask for them. But that’s what we’re here for. Read on to get the secrets the 5-star hotels don’t want you to know.
Treat the Staff Like Royalty
Yes, we know – if you are going to pay for a 5-star hotel, you want to be treated like royalty. That’s reasonable, but you also need to treat the staff in the same manner. If you are rude to the people at check-in, are excessively obnoxious to the housekeepers, or behave like a jerk with any hotel employee, there’s a good chance it will be documented in your reservation record. On the other hand, if you treat everyone well, leave good tips, and ask nicely for things, you could find yourself with some extras or upgrades.
Book Direct To Get the Best
Third-party sites like Expedia are usually customers that aren’t repeat customers, and hotels make less money on those rooms. If there is such a thing as a rotten room in a luxury hotel, you’re going to get it if you book on one of those sites. You can certainly expect you won’t get the best rooms booking that way. It’s best to book on the hotel’s site and be a member of their rewards program.
They know when you’re cheating
Let’s be real here. If you check in to a hotel at 3 PM on a Tuesday, do you really expect them to believe that the person you’re with is your “spouse”? Everybody knows you’re sneaking around. It’s even more obvious if you have a St. Louis address and you’re checking into a St. Louis hotel. Also, if you are a frequent guest to a particular hotel or chain, they will notice if you check in with your family for a weekend and they show up with a completely different person a few weeks later. Fortunately for you, the staff doesn’t really care. Just don’t think they don’t know. This should relieve you of the feeling that you need to make up a story to tell them. Just check in and go about your day.
The Star Rating Does Not Guarantee Absence Of Pests
You probably think the 1- and 2-star hotels are completely overrun by roaches and a 5-star hotel has never seen a roach for the entire 75 years the hotel has stood there. This would be incorrect, particularly with the kitchen. There is unprepared food and food that falls to the floor, which attracts bugs. Of course the high-end hotels pay more attention and put more resources into pest control, but just don’t go in with the expectation that because this hotel is high-end, it has never had a roach crawl through.
You Could Lose Your Room
Generally, there will be about 10% of reservations that are never completed. So hotels, like airlines, may overbook to ensure they don’t lose the revenue from those cancelled reservations. If you are an occasional guest, or you show up at the same time as a top-level VIP or celebrity guest, you might get “walked” – which means that you would get re-booked into another hotel of that brand or a similar class hotel. You won’t have to pay for it, but you will still have to go through the hassle of getting yourself to a different hotel. This doesn’t happen all that often, but it is a possibility of the hotel is so sensitive about losing 10% of their revenue they will take the risk of overbooking.
Beware of the minibar
Those little minibars are something else. Two ounces of Coca-Cola in a bottle shaped like a harmonica for only $9.99! A pack of 7 Pringles chips for just $5.00! What a steal, right? Even at high-dollar hotels, a lot of guests don’t want the expense of the minibar items on their bill. If that’s you, then don’t even bother touching anything. Some newer units have motion sensors that can detect when you pick an item up and put the item on your bill, even if you don’t break the seal. If you do pick some things up and look at them, make sure you don’t break the seal.
Things Aren’t As Clean As They Seem
You expect everything to be spotless and immaculate in a luxury hotel. Sometimes it isn’t quite that good. For one, no matter what the star rating of a hotel, no one ever cleans the TV remote. Every germ that has ever entered that room is on that clicker. The glasses in the bathroom are cleaned, but often in a rush and with the same rag used to clean the rest of the bathroom. You may want to use the disposable cups. At least you know that they haven’t been anywhere near the toilet bowl cleaner.
Staying in a luxury hotel is like any other purchase or activity in your life. Research it thoroughly, treat everyone there with respect and dignity, and never assume everything is exactly as it appears. This way, your stay in the 5-star hotel can be everything you expected it could be.