Hotel hospitality is an essential aspect of traveling fundamental to a pleasant experience on the road. Ensuring a hotel stay is as comfortable as possible can easily be achieved by knowing which questions to ask the staff before you book.
1. May I be placed in a room away from the elevator and ice machine?
Being booked in a room close to these modern conveniences can be detrimental to a good night’s rest. For example, elevators run day and night, and adjacent rooms are occasionally prone to loud noise and vibration. On the other hand, ice machines can clatter quite loudly and attract chatty hotel guests, especially those in the mood to party who may be louder than other guests.
However, booking a room close to the elevator is more beneficial in certain situations, especially for individuals with mobility problems. Close proximity to the elevator also adds an element of safety. Women traveling alone in an unfamiliar area often prefer their room close to the elevator. Being prepared with earplugs during your stay is an effective way to drown out the noise in case it’s an issue.
2. Are there any large parties booked at the same time as my stay?
This scenario is usually not considered before booking a hotel stay, but it makes a huge difference in staying comfortable. Asking this question is crucial if you want to steer clear of rowdy late-night returns and impromptu hallway gatherings. In addition, guests should consider the possibility of large hotel parties on major holidays or the days leading up to them, including birthdays and weddings.
3. Are there any newly renovated rooms available that I may be placed in?
It’s crucial to remember that most hotels don’t fully renovate rooms. Usually, a rolling basis would apply here, which means room renovation can vary significantly. If you don’t ask beforehand, the chances of being placed in an outdated room are just as likely as being placed in a newly renovated one.
Beyond the fashionable appeal of new furnishings, renovated rooms also come with more practical amenities, such as upgraded shower heads and more modern TVs that aren’t available in older rooms.
Although you’re likely better off in a newly furnished hotel room, this won’t always be the case. As a result, individuals sensitive to VOCs (that new carpet or fresh paint smell) should reconsider requesting a newly upgraded room and opt for a non-renovated one instead.
4. May I have a room on a higher floor, or in the opposite direction of the street?
Similarly to real estate, most hotel room comfort boils down to location, especially when booking a room at an urban hotel. Of course, choosing a room away from the street means sacrificing a fuller city view, but this may be useful in shielding you from city noise and foul odors outside.
Lower rooms in a hotel are more prone to the smell of car fumes in a congested city. It’s also common for hotels to be located near busy freeways and intersections, which are notorious for noisy traffic. In both cases, choosing a higher, non-street-facing hotel room is better for a comfortable stay.
5. May I have a room with an adjoining room attached to it?
This is particularly useful to travelers who are bringing along their families. Family travelers must be vigilant about requesting one, even before arriving at the hotel, since these rooms are in high demand. However, it’s important to restate your room preference once you check in since this is when room assignment is finalized by hotel staff.
Requesting a non-adjoining room should be asked by a solo traveler as well. A hotel room with an adjoining room attached could hinder a restful night’s sleep. This is because the noise from a neighboring room may leak in from those doorways, which offer less noise protection than a solid wall.
6. Do certain rooms have better Wi-Fi reception than others?
Although Wi-Fi technology has improved drastically over the years, it by no means operates smoothly at all times. Wi-Fi signal strength can vary significantly from one end of a building to the other, and hotels are no exception. This question is vital for anyone who frequently relies on a stable internet connection while traveling, such as business people working remotely.
If you state your preference immediately, the hotel staff can assign you a room that provides the strongest, most reliable signal. However, even if you’re placed in a room with a weak Wi-Fi signal, you must contact the front desk for advice. They may be able to offer some general troubleshooting suggestions, such as positioning yourself next to a window for a more steady connection.
7. Is the hotel located in a convenient area?
Part of a comfortable hotel stay means being close to important places, such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and medical clinics, in case of an emergency. If you book a hotel on the outskirts of a large city, you should also ensure you have easy access to public transportation.
Ask hotel staff about the best local restaurants to add enjoyment to a comfortable hotel stay. Working in the hospitality industry, they are sure to have excellent insight into the area. They will also be familiar with local dining and carry out guidelines.
8. Does the hotel offer a complimentary hot breakfast to its guests?
Dining out while traveling can be financially costly, especially if you’re on the road with multiple people. So choosing a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast bar saves money and allows each individual to enjoy their favorite foods, which is sure to add to the comfort of a hotel stay.
9. Are the rooms spacious enough to spread out?
Being confined in a cramped room is sure to make a person feel suffocated, and individual height plays a factor in this. For example, you should ask the hotel staff about bed sizes available, room layouts, and bathtub/shower sizes. In addition, it’s common for people to have trouble sleeping in unfamiliar places, and a confined room where you can’t stretch out can undoubtedly result in poor sleep quality.
10. Do the rooms come with a microwave and refrigerator?
As a great convenience to wind down after long travels, these give you easy access to cold drinks or leftovers from dinner, which are stored safely for you to enjoy at your leisure. In addition, if you are a beginner traveler, having a microwave and refrigerator nearby will give you the sense of being home that you’re familiar with.
Keep in mind that sometimes the snacks and drinks in the fridge are not free and you might get charged for them even after you left the hotel. To find out more about this, read our article about things your hotel can charge your card with even after you’ve checked out.
11. Does the hotel come with a shuttle service?
Hotels sometimes offer complimentary shuttle services to local restaurants and regional attractions. If you plan on using the hotel shuttle service, you should inquire about needing to schedule reservations ahead of time and scheduled usage hours. Don’t forget that tips are not mandatory but are highly appreciated.
12. Do the rooms come with a hairdryer and clothes iron?
If you have a formal event to attend during your hotel stay (such as a wedding, company meeting, dinner party, etc.), having a hairdryer and clothes iron nearby helps ensure you will be presentable and prepared to attend the event. In addition, knowing your hotel room provides these means you won’t have to pack your own with you, which are known to be bulky and sometimes heavy.
13. Is fitness room access available?
Travelers who are also health conscious should first enquire if the hotel they’re booking has a fitness room for guests. This is especially the case while traveling and you’re planning on eating at restaurants with high-calorie, non-diet-friendly dishes. Working out is an excellent way to sustain energy levels while traveling and avoid sluggish fatigue after a heavy meal.
14. Does the hotel have a swimming pool/hot tub?
Since the warmer months of the year are a popular time for traveling, cooling off in a refreshing pool will make a hotel stay much more comfortable. Therefore, inquire about pool/hot tub hours and availability before checking in, whether indoors or outdoors.
A hot tub will work wonders by relaxing stuff and sore joints if you’ve been on your feet touring most of the day. For parents traveling with children, pool and hot tub access is a fun way to play together and unwind after a day full of excitement.
15. Does the hotel offer complimentary parking?
If you’ve been driving for hours and arrive at your hotel only to find out they charge an expensive parking fee per night, it can make your stay less comfortable. For peace of mind, it’s crucial to ask the hotel staff if free parking is available, mainly when parking space is limited to several blocks around the hotel.
Most hotel chains will usually state whether or not free parking is available on their website. If they don’t offer complimentary parking, you may ask if the hotel provides parking vouchers or discounts. Some hotels advertise this as a promotional deal for first-time customers, so it’s always worth inquiring and researching the hotel first.
16. Can you offer me a more affordable room rate?
While on holiday or vacation, it can be uncomfortable when you haggle for a better hotel room deal. However, as long as it’s done tactfully and respectfully, trying to get a more affordable rate is worth asking for.
While you may have luck scoring a discounted room any time of the day, you’ll have the most success by arriving later instead of right at check-in since more vacant spaces may need to be filled. And as long as it’s truthful, stating that you’re celebrating a special event may increase your chances of being granted a cheaper room rate. This question helps your stay be more comfortable by stretching your hotel budget.
17. Is the hotel family-friendly?
Sometimes hotels don’t make it obvious they are family-friendly establishments and, therefore, “child-friendly” places. On the other hand, even with pristine appearances, some hotels do not provide the kid-friendly amenities necessary for comfort, such as high chairs, cribs, and restaurant menus for children.
However, you may also want to reconsider spending your leisure time in a 100% kid-friendly hotel where you’ll be exposed to loud, messy newborns and toddlers and prefer a quiet hotel stay instead. But, again, it’s best to shop for a hotel best suited to your family’s needs.
18. How are the traffic conditions around the hotel?
Suppose you plan to be on the road frequently during your hotel stay. In that case, it’s essential to ask about the local traffic conditions, whether you’re taking a taxi, driving a rental car, or riding public transportation.
Good questions would be, “What time of the day is traffic the heaviest?” and “What’s the fastest route to get to my destination?” Again, inquiring about these at check-in is the best approach and will help you plan your day on the road more smoothly.
19. What is the hotel’s cancellation policy?
Finding out the hotel’s cancellation policy when booking a room in advance is a crucial way to save money, time, and hassle in case of unexpected changes in travel plans. Certain hotels have a 24-hour cancellation policy, while others have a 72-hour cancellation policy. In addition, certain hotels have a cancellation fee, and others offer free cancellation up to a specific point. Read the fine print carefully to steer clear of outrageous prices.
Some hotels also implement an amount of mandatory deposit for reservations. You’ll lose that deposit if you cancel the reservation or do not show up.
20. Are the hotel’s utilities working correctly and in good condition?
It may seem like a working A/C, heater, electricity, and running water is guaranteed, but this doesn’t always happen, particularly when traveling abroad. To enjoy a comfortable stay, it’s crucial to ensure correct working, well-maintained appliances are available in your hotel room.
Traveling should be enjoyable and relaxing no matter how experienced you are. A hotel stay is no exception, and taking the initiative to ask the right questions makes a significant difference in hospitality comfort. In addition, finding out the knowledge needed before your hotel stay will be beneficial during your travels in the future.
Now that you know the questions to ask, check our list of recommended hotel booking sites for the best booking experience.