Hotel Confidential

A vacation is the time to relax and finally let someone else take care of you. However, we spoke with one high-level hotel executive who shared some insights on things to avoid and ways to get the most out of your stay.

Call Ahead

Before you arrive, give the manager a call and tell them how excited you are to stay with them. Then ask if there are any upgrades available. Usually, if they have them, this simple courtesy will encourage them to give you one.

Wipe It Down

Although each room is cleaned after guests check out, there are certain items that don’t get the attention they need. Bring along some antibacterial wet wipes and give the remote control and phones a good cleaning. And definitely stay away from those bathroom phones! Not everyone washes their hands as often as they should.

Wash Glasses

Speaking of good washings, go ahead and give those bathroom cups a scrub before you use them too. Even with that reassuring little paper cover, they may not be as clean as you think. Oftentimes, the housekeeping staff just wipes them down. Plastic cups, although questionable for the environment, are a safer option.

Discard the Comforter

Try not to touch it. Yes, it looks pretty on the bed but it is seldom, if ever, washed. That means you get all the fun stuff left behind by every guest who’s ever rented your room. Instead, throw the comforter in a corner and use the sheets, washed often, and a blanket, also washed, to keep you warm and germ free. Most hotels now use sheets as duvets, in place of comforters, but be alert for those that don’t.

Don’t Overtip

Unless you’re feeling generous and the service was above your expectations, room service already has a tip built into the bill. Usually 18–25 percent is added as gratuity, so don’t worry about looking for your wallet after having your midnight snack delivered.

Rinse Off

Yes, there’s chlorine in there, but there’s also LOTS of bodies and some may not be in full control of their functions at all times. Yes, I’m looking at you kid! Make sure after taking a dip in the hot tub or pool, you give yourself a good rinse. Just in case.

Don’t Write Home

Most valet drivers that park your car at the hotel are third-party employees, meaning the hotel has little control over who is hired. You already know not to leave valuables behind when you hand over your keys, but don’t leave your home address anywhere it can be found either. Take it out of the GPS system, unless you want to use a neighbor’s address, so you could still get guidance from a foreign location. Also, cross out your residential information on your insurance and registration cards. They have your keys. And they could make copies. Though some cars now have a valet key option that detaches from your fob.

Follow Up

Everyone loves a compliment. Before you leave, meet with one of the hotel administrators or the general manager and let them know how much you enjoyed your visit. After your trip, you can send a nice thank you note and single out the employees that were particularly helpful. If this is a property you plan to visit often, you will be recognized for your effort and might get a future upgrade without even asking.