No matter what your budget, you can always improve your hotel room experience to eke out a bit more luxury and comfort. Think room upgrades, freebies, and otherwise working the system (within reason!) to make your stay oh-so-comfortable. Try these hacks for making it work.
1. Take advantage of freebies.
Hotels usually have freebies. The nicer your hotel is, the more freebies it’s likely to have. Shampoo, soap, conditioner, lotion, teas, notepads, and pens should come as no surprise to you — and no, it's not stealing! (Just don't walk out with the verboten stuff.) but many hotels also have other items — like toothpaste, shaving cream, razors, and cotton swabs — all available at the front desk if you just ask. So definitely no need to spend $3.99 on that teeny tube of toothpaste in the airport sundry shop.
2. Check your beds.
Before you even unpack a thing, quickly check the beds in the room for obvious stains or blemishes. Even if they're not uber-gross (which they certainly can be), noticing a detail not totally up to standard can get you quickly changed over to a different room for your trouble — and possibly an upgrade.
3. Go to the gym.
Here's an idea: Go to the hotel's gym and actually work out! Or even just stretch and take a meditative moment on the mat before a big meeting or after a big day of sightseeing. It will make you feel good... and no sense in letting included gym fees go to waste. But here's the bonus: At nicer hotel fitness centers, you'll often find included water bottles (tuck a few away for the day), and an assortment of fruit or other snacks for the taking.
4. Improvise and save a trip to the dry cleaner.
If you have clothes wrinkled in transit, get the bathroom steamy and hang them on the door. If you do need to iron, make sure you check the bottom of the iron for stains from previous guests that could ruin your clothes. Think of it as a free dry cleaner right in your room — and spare the expense of actually going to one.
Speaking of laundry, most hotels have a plastic laundry bag in the closet. These are useful for storing your dirty laundry or compartmentalizing your wet swimsuit in your luggage.
5. Request a spare key.
Even if you’re the only person staying in your room, go for the spare key on check-in. If you're coming back to your room late at night, or your accommodations are located far from the lobby, you'll be bummed to find your key lost or de-magnetized, requiring a schlep back to the desk. A little advanced planning here can up your comfort level during your stay.
6. Use a hanger to keep your curtains closed all the way.
The clips on the pants hangers that are often in hotel rooms closets should be able to help you avoid that tiny gap that can let just in little too much light from what are supposed to be blackout curtains. The improved sleep quality will help you get the best sleep you can on your vacay — or to be as prepared as possible to kill it at your board meeting.
7. Jot down your room number.
Especially in huge properties — such as sprawling Vegas casinos or meandering resort properties — you could forget your room number and get lost, wiping out your relaxation vibe and forcing you back into critical-thinking mode. So take a photo of your door or your key’s envelope, or just type it into your phone’s notes app. This is especially handy for those of you who travel frequently — who can remember a new number each time?
8. Survey the minibar.
To avoid minibar upcharges — and make sure you have exactly what you want — BYO booze. Then, create an improvised (and totally effective) cooler if your room has no fridge by filling your bathroom sink with ice and keeping your beer and white wine in there.
9. Use the ice box or a glass as an amplifier.
If you like to listen to tunes while in the bath or unwinding in your room and don’t have a hookup for your phone, just set it inside the ice box or a glass for instant amplification. Sure, it's a little tinny — but in a pinch...
10. It doesn’t hurt to just ask.
When you check in, it doesn’t hurt to simply ask if there are any upgrades available. Be friendly and smile and you might be surprised at some of the extra perks that can be thrown your way. This works for airplane seat upgrades too... sometimes. (Good luck!)
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