Those who travel extensively, do it for two reasons. One: They love to travel and Two: Their work needs them to. More often than not, it is the latter who spend more time out of home as compared to the former. Hotels come in all shapes and sizes and many, including luxury hotels can give you grief. Here are 10 tips to make your hotel stay more comfortable:
- State your smoking preference at the time of booking. If you are a non-smoker and are put onto the smoking floor, chances are the smell can irritate you. Better state this at the time of booking and increase your chance of getting what you want. This happened to my hubby on a visit to China. He was on the smoking floor and said everything, including the curtains in the room smelled of cigarette smoke. He spent a tough night before he asked to be moved and was promptly given a non-smoking room the next day. He said it felt like he was finally able to breathe again!
- Ask for a King sized, double bed. Hotels rarely charge for King double bed so you can have a large roomy bed all to yourself! Parents whose children co-sleep will know what a blessing this is 🙂 A lot of hotel rooms have two separate single beds meant for twin-sharing rooms. Those beds would be comfortable but not as roomy as a double bed. If that is what you get, you can ask them to join the two so you are still better off than a small single bed.
- Get your preferred pillows and mattresses. I have especially noticed this in luxury hotels that they will give you the slim pillows and hard mattress if you ask for them. If you have a back issue, then this is a godsend. Else, spending 4-5 nights on uncomfortable beds will give you sore necks and aching backs. When I’d travelled to Malaysia during my pregnancy, I had very uncomfortable pillows. I asked for better ones and the hotel told they could not cater to individual demands since we had a group booking of over 100 rooms. I asked to speak to someone senior and told them I was five months pregnant. They promptly changed my pillows to better ones and I had no sleepless nights.
- Get to know the staff, especially if you are a frequent traveller. Housekeeping staff is always on their toes. Getting to know them and saying a few friendly words go a long way since they will look after your comfort. I remember my sister in law recounting that she and her colleague would travel frequently and they always stayed at The Park Chennai. During her first few visits, she took the trouble of getting to know the front desk and the housekeeping staff. After a while, they were so familiar that her needs would be taken care of without asking! A little common courtesy goes a long way.
- Carry Snacks and Beverages. You never know when the midnight craving hits you. Right? When there is no kitchen fridge to raid, hotel mini bar is your only hope. The expensive, over-priced mini bar. Carry your own snacks from home or buy some on your way back to the hotel. They will not only help curb the midnight hunger, but also substitute for a meal. Cup noodles, Cake, Cookies would be my pick. I like to balance out sweet and savoury. A pack of your preferred beverage helps too. If you carry a small tetra pack of milk, you can actually make yourself some cold coffee from the tea tray supplies and cold milk!
- Bring your adapters and multi plug chargers along. This is especially good if you are travelling to a foreign country, but also handy when you are in your room for a little while and have multiple devices to charge. Whether you are travelling solo or with family, for work or pleasure, chances are you will have multiple devices to charge every evening. Business hotels or cheaper motels have fewer charging points so adapters will come to your rescue. I remember during the early days of my career, I was in a twin sharing room with a colleague in one of the hotels in Chennai and they had just one plug! We had to disconnect the TV so both our phones could charge!
- Keep a night light on. You don’t want to accidentally knock your foot on a piece of furniture when you get up in the middle of the night. Most of us, when half asleep, rely on muscle memory to find our way in the dark. Unless the hotel room is built exactly like your bedroom (how likely is that, now) I’d advise keeping a night light on. If there is no provision of night light, switch on the bathroom light and open the door just a sliver. You’d have enough illumination and the light would not intrude. In spite of this, if you still want to sleep in pitch dark, invest in a good eye mask.
- Use the hotel’s wake up alarm. This is especially useful if you are travelling to a foreign country. There can always be goof-ups with the time difference and your alarms may ring at your home time! Some hotels have alarm clocks while others have a good old phone call from the front desk. The best part, you can even snooze! Once, when I was in The Netherlands, the front desk guy who called me thought I did not register the call and might have dozed off. He called me fifteen minutes later to check if I was awake or not. How cute is that!
- Learn about the complimentary and chargeable facilities at the hotel. Things like how much water they give every day and how much you’ll have to buy, whether they provide shuttle services to places close-by, whether they have pick and drop from airports or even a hotel cab service. I particularly advocate hotel run cabs if you are a solo woman traveller or need to travel late at night.
- Just Ask! That is my last and final tip. Most hotels have a make it right policy. They may not advertise it but they are equipped to make the stay as comfortable for the guests as possible. If this means going the extra mile, they will do it for you. Need more shampoo? Just ask. Forgot your shaving cream? Just ask. Want to know a spot close by to spend and evening? Just ask. Sick of eating restaurant food and crave some home-style khichdi? Just ask. Most kitchens will be happy to customise your meal order and replace the tandoori roti with tawa phulka or cook up a khichdi or curd rice to soothe an ailing tummy, even if it is not on the menu. They do like to take care of their resident guests so that you’ll come back. But they are not super humans who can read your mind. Help them. Just Ask!
So that is it people! My top tips to make your hotel stays more comfortable. These are small and practical tips but they save a lot of worry when you are out in unfamiliar surroundings. What are your 10 tips to make your hotel stay more comfortable?