Nine questions about hotels you were too afraid to ask

From in-room footwear to the credit card rules, here are nine things you always wondered about hotels, but were too afraid to ask.

Why are minibars so expensive?

It’s all about convenience, says travel expert Gail Hughes. “You don’t need to put on shoes and head outside the hotel to find a convenience store to buy a chocolate or if you feel like a drink in your room.”

Some hotels are beginning to include the minibar in the hotel room price though. For example, the managing director of Melbourne’s Adelphi Hotel, Dion Chandler, encourages guests to eat and drink what’s in the mini-bar: “At Adelphi Hotel ours are free. Seriously. Take it all!”

Can I take the robe or slippers home?

If you’re curious about what happens if you take the robe or slippers home, the rule of thumb is that the robe will end up on your credit card statement. However, according to Ilan Weill, general manager of the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, if you’ve used the slippers, you’re welcome to take them home with you. “We certainly do not reuse them.

“Personally, I love reusing hotel slippers, I use them to move around the aircraft when I travel, they’re very comfy,” says Mr Weill. 

Some hotels are now including a price menu for in-room items that guests may want to take home. This list may include bathrobes, alarm clocks and even artwork. 

What should I expect from five-star accommodation?

Each country or region has its own hotel rating system, but generally, luxury properties need to meet strict guidelines to keep their stars.

Typically, you should expect a high level of service, including indulgent rooms, VIP-style service, a decadent breakfast, fluffy bathrobes and pillows, along with many other perks. Some extra luxurious hotels even offer personal butler services and pet-friendly room service menus.

How basic are cheap hotels?

A cheaper hotel may not have all the bells and whistles of a five-star hotel but there are lots of cheap-and-chic budget options out there. An increasing number of affordable hotels are focusing more on Instagram-worthy design features. Even capsule and pod hotels can be stylish or charming.

What amenities can I take from the hotel?

“As long as you don’t take the kettle, most hotels are fine for you to take the bathroom and coffee and tea amenities, including soap, tea and hair products,” says travel expert Amanda Behre.

“However, all hotels are different, so you should always check with reception if you are not sure.”

People like to take bathroom amenities from hotels as they are a great size to travel with in carry-on luggage. 

Should I tip housekeeping?

When it comes to tipping housekeeping, the rules vary depending on the country you’re visiting. If you’re in the US, it’s customary to tip housekeeping $2-5 per day. But some countries, such as Japan, consider tipping rude so do a little research before you tip.

If you are going to leave a tip for housekeeping, it’s best to give a little each day as you could have different people servicing your room. And, as good housekeepers wouldn’t take any money left on a counter, be sure to put it in an envelope or next to a clear thank you note.

How can the concierge help?

There’s nothing a good concierge cannot help you with and they love a challenge. A good concierge can create tailor-made travel tips just for you, get a table in that top restaurant, reconfirm your flights and transfers and much more.

Ms Behre says there are great stories about what concierges have organised for guests. “From finding a last-minute ball gown, to sourcing wild goats’ milk for a guest’s bath. They have heard it all so don’t be afraid to ask.”

Can I get an early check-in or late check-out?

Being part of a hotel loyalty program will increase your odds of getting an early check-in or late check-out, as will asking when you book online rather than on arrival, but it’s not always possible to accommodate.

However, you can typically leave your bags at the hotel while you spend the day exploring if you have an early arrival or late departure scheduled.

Why do hotels place a hold on my credit card? Do I have to agree to it?

Hotels place a hold on your credit card as a security measure in case of any incidentals or damages during your stay. This is done by pre-authorising your card to confirm the availability of funds. If the hotel has a policy of doing so, you must provide your card details, or look for alternative accommodation. Typically, hotels do this to ensure their peace of mind. However, if you become a regular guest, hotels may relax their rules.

Are there any other questions you have about hotels and their processes? Why not share them in the comments section below?

Also read: Transform your hotel room into a haven with these genius hacks

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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